HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Do you create unique foods?

Best Hainan Chicken Rice in LA/OC

xanderjoon May 3, 2007 12:34 AM

I have been deprived since my favorite Hainan Chicken Rice Restaurant (yes, that was the name of it!) closed down several years ago in Rowland Heights next to HK supermarket. Does anyone know what became of the owners? They just closed overnight without warning after 15 years! A couple other places that serve decent hainan chicken rice are Hanoi in Westminster and Sanamnuang Cafe in Thai town. Don't mind any style, so long as gooood chicken rice, please help!

  1. c
    cfylong May 3, 2007 07:39 AM

    Try Savoy on Valley, east of Garfield, in Alhambra. It's very popular for its Hainan Chicken. Once, I saw a guy next to me pick up the very laaast piece of rice on his chopsticks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: cfylong
      andytseng Aug 7, 2008 11:32 AM

      Another vote for Savoy. It's probably also the most popular choice for Hainan chicken rice, so there'll be plenty of nay-sayers (like how people claim Din Tai Fung sucks).

    2. dee May 3, 2007 07:58 AM

      I like Tasty Choice on San Gabriel and Las Tunas. I used to get it once-twice a week when I lived in San Gabriel. Sometimes when they're not too busy, they let you specify to have dark meat only (I hate white meat). I love their ginger sauce. Does anyone know what's in this sauce? I'm guessing ginger, green onion, and sesame oil.

      I also like the Hainan Chicken rice at Banana Bay. It's pretty simple, but it's not paired with any ginger sauce. I haven't been to either places for a while though ever since I moved to Westwood.

      4 Replies
      1. re: dee
        Pei May 3, 2007 09:40 AM

        I like the one at Banana Bay too, and I was so dead set on hating the place because of the stupid name and decor.

        1. re: dee
          ipsedixit May 5, 2007 08:31 PM

          Tasty Choice is very good, although I think the hainan rice is better at Savoy and Cafe U2.

          I think the sauce at Tasty Choice is spiked a bit with a dash of curry powder.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            atrac Aug 6, 2008 10:13 PM

            I tried Tasty Choice's Hainan Chicken this evening. Unfortunately, I didn't like it at all. The rice was brown and had no chicken flavor to it. The chicken itself was white/dark mixed (I hate dark meat) with wings on the top that tasted like they weren't cooked well enough. And the sauce had a foul taste to it (no pun intended). The neighborhood stray cats had a feast this evening, while I was left hungry. :(

            1. re: atrac
              ipsedixit Aug 6, 2008 10:19 PM

              Sorry to hear, that's too bad.

              I've always enjoyed the Hainan Chicken Rice at Tasty Choice. I like the fact that they chicken is de-boned, and the ginger sauce is spicy and not too sweet.

              And, fwiw, Hainan Chicken without the dark meat is like pepperoni pizza without the pepperoni ...

        2. w
          WHills May 3, 2007 02:19 PM

          Savoy, hands down, is the best hainan chicken in L.A. Almost everyone orders it, and I bet you they easily sell 50 to 100 plates of it daily. It's on Valley Blvd/Garfield Ave in Alhambra.

          4 Replies
          1. re: WHills
            rameniac May 3, 2007 02:38 PM

            i had the savoy chicken and while it's good, something about it didn't scream orgasmic for me. there are a few that i've had in the SGV from certain cantopop diners that i seem to have liked better but i can't really recall which ones. there's also little strip mall shop in the big center at new & valley (where the sav-on/cvs/wallgreens whatever it's called and the supermarket are) - i can't even pretend to remember the name but it's like one or two doors down from the "elbow" of the L-shaped mall on the drugstore side. does that make any sense? it specializes in hainan chicken and everyone in there was eating it. pretty good stuff at the very least.

            1. re: rameniac
              chowhoundwoof May 3, 2007 04:54 PM

              Dong Nguyen (Dong Yuan - East Source) - I think that's what you are talking about. It's in the big mall next to CVS and next to the 168 supermarket. The place is run by Vietnamese Chinese and they are all very nice. Yes, it's very good. Their version is closer to what you get in Singapore or Malaysia than Savoy, which I've don't particularly like.

              1. re: chowhoundwoof
                odub Nov 24, 2009 01:11 AM

                I went here this evening and I thought they made a fairly good version of the dish but a few nitpicks:

                1) The chicken was too flabby; I like a bit of skin as much as the next guy but apart from a small number of pieces, much of this was all skin and fat and not enough meat. I didn't want it to be super-lean or anything but it was flabbier than what I had at, say, Noodle Island.

                2) The sauce was good but a touch too sweet for my taste; I like to be able to taste the ginger and the sugar masked that.

                Otherwise, I did like the rice but again, I recalled Noodle Island's being more flavorful. This all said, I really liked the restaurant and at $6.75, their Hainan plate is very reasonable.

            2. re: WHills
              ns1 May 9, 2007 12:38 PM

              savoy def, but only fresh. microwaved = pointless

            3. j
              jackt May 3, 2007 06:19 PM

              hands down the best is at siam sunset on sunset blvd in thaitown (hollywood). succulent, tender chicken. rice is perfect. but you gotta get there early b/c they open at like 6am and often run out well before lunchtime (same w/ their porridge).

              5 Replies
              1. re: jackt
                xanderjoon May 3, 2007 10:32 PM

                Wow, thanks a bunch for the recs! I'm so glad to have a few places to try out in search of the holy grail of Hainan Chicken Rice:) ps. I hate hard rice and white meat too!

                1. re: xanderjoon
                  rameniac May 4, 2007 01:34 AM

                  definitely let us know what you find. i can't stand white meat either lol.

                2. re: jackt
                  MengMacFoodie Sep 26, 2008 06:52 AM

                  Thank you so much for the recommendation. It was delicious...Yummmmm!!!!!!!

                  1. re: jackt
                    troublemaker Oct 16, 2008 01:08 AM

                    seconding this suggestion as i'm now ecstatic at the prospects of having a hainan chicken place in a reasonable driving distance!

                    it's worth coming here early if merely for the fact to have chinese donuts or rice porridge for breakfast, and picking up a delicious order of hainan chicken togo for lunch!

                    1. re: troublemaker
                      MengMacFoodie Oct 23, 2008 06:55 AM

                      I do drive the extra 1/4 mile to get the ginger chile sauce from Sanamluang on Hollywood Boulevard... Their chicken rice is a little bit too dry but their ginger chile sauce is spot on!!! You can buy 4 containers of that for $1.

                  2. c
                    cabrito May 5, 2007 07:44 PM

                    The only Hainan chicken I've ever had is at Yazmin in Alhambra (27 E Main St.). It is truly wonderful. Nothing else at that restaurant has pleased me in the least, however.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cabrito
                      tvnguyen May 6, 2007 04:54 AM

                      I would have to agree with chowhoundwoof and go with Dong Nguyen

                      1. re: tvnguyen
                        cfylong May 9, 2007 08:58 AM

                        Out of curiosity, I tried Dong Nguyen last night and was underwhelmed. The ginger sauce was quite good, though on the sweet side, and the chicken tasted okay, but well like regular chicken. And the rice did not seem to be infused with that chicken fat broth that I've always associated with hainan chicken. Everyone else there seemed to be eating the chicken as well. I did enjoy the service and the family restaurant atmosphere. And, I've never been to Singapore or Malaysia, but if this is close to the real thing, I would have to say this is simpler dish at Dong than what I am used to at Savoy.

                    2. s
                      snooze button May 9, 2007 03:47 PM

                      Last time I had hainan chicken was at J&J, with someone who's never had it before, and thought it was raw... and so he almost puked. That was fun. I thought it was pretty good.

                      1. Vince S Sep 26, 2008 12:59 PM

                        I recall visiting that restaurant in RH. It's actually quite decent. I heard that the owners moved back to Malaysia.

                        Best HCR? My wife's. These days, we decided to prepare our own instead of spending money on "what-seems-to-be" kind of dishes. I hate that feeling. Preparing the dish ourselves, we have a better control of the ingredients and learned a lot more during the process.

                        One key ingredient is the pandang leaves, which you can purchase fresh from Vietnamese markets.

                        1. c
                          cqt Sep 27, 2008 12:27 PM

                          I recently saw a Hainen Chicken restaurant in Westminster on the corner of Westminster and Brookhurst but haven't tried it. It's in this big strip mall near a 7-courses of beef place.

                          I've been to Savoy and was not overwhelmed.

                          I am looking for the hainan chicken that you can find at Nynonya in NYC or C&R in London.

                          1. c
                            cqt Sep 27, 2008 07:14 PM

                            I think that I found the restaurant in Westminster: Grand- Com Ga Hai Nam

                            9904 Westminster Ave. (in the Mall of Fortune lot/corner of Brookhurst & Westminster)

                            Garden Grove, CA

                            Here's a review from OCRegister.com: http://foodfrenzy.freedomblogging.com...

                            1. SauceSupreme Sep 28, 2008 12:05 AM

                              If only ErikM still trolled these boards, he'd be able to tell about this secret place in Thai Town just a few blocks from Jitlada that does the Thai interpretation of Hainanese chicken rice.

                              I'd tell you myself, but I don't know about it nor have I ever been.

                              1. m
                                Mr Grub Oct 16, 2008 11:13 AM

                                Lee Kam Kee, 1 blk east of Fremont on Valley, offers a Hainan chicken rice just like your Vietnamese mother used to make.

                                1. atrac Jan 21, 2009 07:06 PM

                                  AVOID the Hainan Chicken from Yum Cha Cafe on Atlantic/Emerson in Monterey Park. A HUGE Rip-off!! Not only do they use regular steamed rice (a sacrilege for Hainan Chicken), they give you boned chicken with barely any meat on it. Although cute, the guy behind the counter stiffed me with two chicken legs and about 1/8th of a chicken breast. I could barely get any meat off of them (what are they using, Ethiopian Chickens?). Needless to say, $4.75 for a plate of steamed rice and some bones is not what I had in mind for dinner -- I'm still quite hungry.

                                  I will say that this place has some terrific Dim Sum (cheap!) and a very reasonably priced BBQ Pork on rice plate. Just do yourself a favor and DO NOT order the Hainan Chicken (unless you are on a diet).

                                  If I knew they would understand me, I'd definitely go complain -- but I'm sure that would be a waste of time.

                                  1. s
                                    SeaCook Nov 24, 2009 10:20 AM

                                    I concur on Savoy. Not only do they have great Hainan Chicken they also have a great bowl of plain chicken broth that can ordered on the. side. Really chickeny! My trouble is it isn't an easy place to get to for me now. I see that Full House Seafood has it through there take BBQ/dim sum stall in the Food Court at Presidents Quare. Has anyone tried their version?

                                    1. l
                                      lanialii Feb 10, 2010 04:58 PM

                                      Hi there! I know this posting is several years old. I just came across it but I do have an answer for you. My parents used to own Hainan Chicken Restaurant and they closed it when they decided to retire. I miss it very much myself and I crave many of the Malaysian dishes on the menu. At least my mom still makes yummy Malaysian food for me. :)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lanialii
                                        atrac Nov 13, 2011 07:54 PM

                                        Your answer is your inviting everyone over for dinner made by your mom? ;)

                                        1. re: lanialii
                                          SGanSG Apr 14, 2014 07:05 AM

                                          Are the owners henry, nick, and another guy (forgot his name, but he also wears glasses). Cook is also a malaysian that used to work in france right? Sorry, I've left the US some 17 years ago. Is this is the same Hainese Chicken Rice restaurant, its definitely my favorite. I drive there several times a week from Newport Beach. Sometime twice a day too. I really miss the chicken rice.

                                        2. nalo Feb 10, 2010 09:36 PM

                                          Savoy in Alhambra

                                          Show Hidden Posts