88 Chinese looks like the usual Sri Lankan Chinese restaurant with fried rice and hot butter cuttlefish galore. When we go to 88, however, we do not order the usual. We order "chicken rice." I suppose it's Hainanese Chicken Rice but that's not what we order. We order "chicken rice" and that's what we get.
Chicken rice is a plate of soy/scallion/ginger sauce-flecked rice with slices of chicken on top (the chicken is stuffed with scallion/ginger, roasted and cooled: while it's normally done by hanging the roasted chicken outside the shop for a day, here it's probably in a bath of iced water) and a side of chili sauce.
This sauce is not the chili paste common in Sri Lankan Chinese restaurants nor is it the MD Chili sauce we eat with cutlets. It's more of a sambal oelek. That's it. Three precious ingredients. (You get some broth but it's awful and tastes of chicken skin) Simple, relatively healthy and tasty. The scallion/ginger combination is what makes the difference: it is a very unique flavour which pervades the whole experience.
Each plate serves one person and costs LKR 400 nett. The meal leaves you with two feelings you normally never experience after the usual Chinese meal. First, you want more. It leaves a little space in the stomach and the scallion/ginger flavour is so unique, you want to eat more of it. Second, you feel good. It doesn't sit in your stomach like the usual heavy greaseball of Chinese fried rice and cuttlefish. That, in itself, is reason enough to try the chicken rice out.
Restaurant Name: 88 Chinese Restaurant
Address: No 98/1, Havelock Road, Colombo 05 (the little road off Havelock Rd between La Passion and Hercules Tailors)
Phone: (011 if calling from a cellphone) 2593017
Image Credits: avlxyz