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Hainan chicken rice in New York? Please help!

porkified Mar 12, 2007 11:48 AM

I'm from Los Angeles and my number one comfort food was the Hainan chicken rice from Savoy in Alhambra. I've never seen it before anywhere else. Its basically flavored rice served with boiled chicken and accompanied by three sauces: a creamy chili sauce, soy sauce, and oil/ginger puree. If I was offered only one last meal this would be it so please if anyone knows where I can get this I'll be forever grateful!!!

  1. p
    pikachu7 May 13, 2007 12:47 PM

    I just returned from lunch at Jaya Malaysian Restaurant where I had Hainan chicken rice. I was somewhat disappointed - the chicken was moist and flavourful but the portion was tiny, with a high percentage of inedible leg/feet/neck parts. While the rice looked as it had been steamed in the chicken broth it lacked any aroma and was slightly hard, while the soup itself was tepid and oily. As some other readers have pointed out the service was rude (they were annoyed that I moved to the next table as it was clean and in the shade, but they complained that it would "confuse the waiter"). Next time I'll try some of the other places mentioned by other readers.

    1. bokkyo Mar 14, 2007 11:58 AM

      Quick rundown:
      1. Malaysia Restaurant (Bowery) just ok-good for me, but they're consistent
      2. Skyway (Allen) - arguably better than 1 but could be inconsistent
      3. Singapore Cafe (Mott) - surprisingly good, underrated
      4. Bagus (Doyers) - used to be Malaysian Village before that #1 Doyers, which was my favorite; Bagus is just ok
      5. Sanur (Doyers) - haven't been since they were "New Indonesia", which was just ok, but had very good satay
      6. Jaya (Baxter) - haven't been in a while

      I liked that old place #1 Doyers (before they were Bagus, Malaysian Village or even Tasty Good) because I felt like I could eat their more "homestyle" Hainanese chicken everyday. Their rice wasn't as good as Malaysia Restaurant though. Although I haven't visited in a while and despite their smaller serving, I probably would pick Singapore Cafe!

      3 Replies
      1. re: bokkyo
        randumbposter Mar 14, 2007 12:36 PM

        is sanur the underground one ? I remember eating devil ray there once, it was good. The single individual entree's weren;t that good though.

        there's a place on canal close to orchard called Overseas malaysian. I brought my indian coworker once there and he was impressed with the roti appetizer there.

        1. re: randumbposter
          Pan Mar 14, 2007 07:19 PM

          "is sanur the underground one ?"


          1. re: Pan
            bigjeff Mar 25, 2007 08:29 PM

            also might know it as New Indonesia/Malaysia restaurant; the previous incarnation.

      2. nyufoodie Mar 13, 2007 10:46 PM

        yes-malaysia restaurant is the only place serving a fairly decent hainanese chicken rice

        1. m
          moymoy Mar 13, 2007 08:10 AM

          Do you know the tunnel on Elizabeth St (btwn Bayard & Canal)? There is a place called The Malaysia Restaurant...the Hainanese Chicken there is my favorite, they have good curry too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: moymoy
            fun_seanny Mar 13, 2007 08:26 AM

            thats the spot i was talking about. thanks for the assist! i grew up in chinatown, and i seem to remember this place being one of the first restaurants to serve that dish. decades later, theyre still the best imho.

            1. re: moymoy
              HLing Mar 26, 2007 04:23 PM

              I thought this place in the "tunnel" or walkway, what have you, is called The New Malaysian Restaurant. They do have good pork chop rice there.

              Long ago, I've had Hainanese Chicken Rice at, of all places, the Won Ton Garden on Mott near Bayard. It's one of their specialties even though they're not a Malaysian restaurant. In fact, it might be a different version differing only in the treatment of the rice (which I think the Malay version does make it so much tastier...) The chicken is white in color, and sweet and tender. This is probably one of if not the only place on that street that's opened until 2 am, where the waiters wear Hawaiian shirts.... Anyone else had their Hainanese rice?

              1. re: HLing
                fun_seanny Mar 27, 2007 07:08 AM

                lol...ive tried their version as well, but they honestly should stick to what theyre good at. its decent, with the plus side being a larger portion for the heartier eaters out there. i dont remember there being the customary cucumber and crunchy veggies on the side though. when at wonton garden, stick to the soup noodle dishes. they make the best tripe noodle soup in chinatown IMO.

            2. csw Mar 13, 2007 07:23 AM

              Sanur on Doyer street.

              1. p
                Pan Mar 12, 2007 11:22 PM

                You could try not only the Hainanese Chicken Rice but also the Ipoh Chicken and the chicken wings at Skyway, 11 Allen St. between Canal and Division.

                1. e
                  ericalba Mar 12, 2007 01:18 PM

                  when i was living in singapore, i ate that all the time in the food courts. i got tired of it. when i moved to nyc. there are a few places in chinatown that serve it. there's a place called Singapore Cafe in chinatown (that's near my favorite bbq place "Big Wong")


                  There's a great place called Nyonya, that's really in Little Italy that I think has it as well, that's a good restaurant regardless of if they have it or not.


                  hope that helps.

                  1. f
                    fun_seanny Mar 12, 2007 12:43 PM

                    you can get that dish at any of the malaysian restaurants in chinatown. penang comes to mind (run a search on citysearch and you should get their locations), but my favorite is this little joint thats in the 'chinatown arcade'. its actually a tunnel that cuts through the block from bowery to elizabeth street, with canal street to the north and bayard to the south. can someone else help me out with the name of the place? if you find yourself there, theres only 2 restaurants that are in the middle section of the tunnel. the other place (koluck) happens to be a nice little gem of a eatery too, specializing in authentic hong kong lunch dishes.

                    happy munching!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fun_seanny
                      nyufoodie Mar 12, 2007 02:13 PM

                      i think fun is refering to malaysia resto. it does serve the most decent hainanese chicken rice dish in the city. the last time i attempted to eat it. tons better than nyonya which will have the better roti canai and satay. if, you ever head to singapore...try the one in the mandarin hotel's coffee shop (orchard rd). it's one of the best versions i've had so far.

                      1. re: nyufoodie
                        JoLi Mar 13, 2007 07:10 AM

                        I just looked up Penang's menu on menupages.com and cannot find a hainanese rice with chicken. Only think I see is a hainanese rice as a side dish. Is this something off the menu?

                      2. re: fun_seanny
                        porkified Mar 13, 2007 07:59 AM

                        I actually went to Nyonya awhile ago and tried their chicken rice but the rice was terrible and it only came wih one weird spicy sauce. I desparately need the soft and fluffy and tasty rice experience with magical ginger puree and creamy chili sauce. Do these places have that?

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