Traditional Claypot Rice is rice cooked in a claypot over a charcoal stove. This gives the dish a distinctive taste and result in a crispy rice crust forming inside the parameter of the claypot. Chicken, Chinese sausage and mushrooms are added on top of the rice during the cooking process and dark soya sauce poured on top of the ingredients when the dish is served. To enjoy the dish, you first have to mix everything in the claypot thoroughly to infuse the flavours into the rice.
My parents remember sitting at a hawker stall under open sky waiting for their Claypot Rice to be served. The hawker had a series of claypots sitting on charcoal stoves in different stages of the cooking process. It's a wonder how the hawker managed to track the progress of each pot. My family love Claypot Rice and are always on the lookout for the dish when we settle in Adelaide. It proves to be an elusive dish. We finally found it at Kopi Tim Restaurant at Gouger Street. It did not have much of the crust we associate with claypot rice, but we consider it to be the most flavourful of the claypot rice dishes we have eaten so far.
Kopi Tim's Claypot Rice was delicious but we are not sure if the rice was cooked in the claypot from start to finish. To shorten the preparation time, some restaurants use cooked rice instead of cooking the rice in the claypot. When we ordered the dish from Market Fast Food at Market Plaza Food Court, Central Market, we were told that there would be a wait of twenty minutes because they cooked the rice in the claypot. The wait was worth it as the dish had most of the crispy rice crust we enjoyed though the flavour was not as rich compared to the one at Kopi Tim Restaurant. It needed more dark soya sauce.
As often happen, once you have found one, you tend to discover more. Our latest discovery is Ming Room at Angas Street. The claypot rice dishes here are very unique, using ingredients not normally used in claypot rice such as crispy roast pork and salmon. My favourite one is the Roast Pork Clay Pot Rice due to the crispy roast pork adding a unique element to the dish. My sister's favourite dish was the Salmon Clay Pot Rice. As with the one served at the Market Plaza Food Court, there is a wait time of at least 20 minutes for the dishes.
Hi Jonathan - hope this link works: just reviewed Mai Kitchen at Ferryden Park for WeekendNotes and was served their claypot rice. From what you described, Mai Kitchen ticked all the boxes re: traditional claypot rice (would need to check re: the charcoal stove)! https://www.weekendnotes.com/mai-kitchen/