Singapore chicken rice ‘war’ looks delicious on iPhone 13 Pro


People in Singapore are passionate about chicken and rice like New Yorkers are passionate about pizza.
People in Singapore are passionate about chicken and rice like New Yorkers are passionate about pizza.
Photo: Apple TV+

There’s a saying in Singapore that “the camera always eats first.” The folks there love their food and taking pictures of it. And that’s especially true of chicken rice, the subject of Apple’s latest “Shot on iPhone 13 Pro” video.

Poached is a short documentary film about chicken-rice food hawkers at war with one another. It’s a little more than 5 minutes long — time enough to make you hungry.

Shot on iPhone 13 Pro: Poached, about chicken-rice vendors at war in Singapore

Poached focuses on Singapore’s most-loved dish, chicken rice. Chef’s Table creator and Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb produced the piece on an iPhone 13 Pro.

Released on Sunday to the Apple YouTube channel, the video explores food — especially chicken rice — served at food halls in Singapore. It’s called the “equivalent of pizza to New Yorkers” by chef and restaurateur Bjorn Shen. People have strong opinions about it. One chef said it takes up to a year to learn how to cook just the rice part of the dish.

The mini documentary discusses the “chicken rice war” at the Maxwell Food Center. After Tian Tian food stall founder MDM Foo’s daughter Ms. Loi took over the business, opinions differed about best practices and head chef Mr. Wong quit.

Wong didn’t just quit, however. He opened a nearly identical food stall just down the row. There he began cooking chicken-rice his way, like it was at Tian Tian before the management changes. Now, both businesses have built up fan bases for their versions of the same dish.

Watch the short documentary below:

Released the same day as the documentary short, a making-of video showed how Gelb used an iPhone 13 Pro to film the documentary. He mounted the iPhone on professional-grade sliders and tripods, and employed various mounts, turntables and other gear.

The iPhone captured video in cramped conditions — a necessity in small hawker kitchens. Along with macro mode and the variety of tools, Gelb emphasized cinematic mode’s focus-changing options as essential post-production tools.

It was important to the team to be able to mount the iPhone in places where bigger systems are challenging to fit. In one scene, the iPhone is even held in a rig attached to a large knife used in food prep. They also used an Apple Watch as a monitor to line up iPhone placements.

Poached follows Apple’s Shot on iPhone release in February of Life is But a Dream, by renowned director Park Chan-wook, known for films including The Handmaiden and Oldboy.

Watch the “making of” Poached video below:


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