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May 3, 2007 12:34 AM

Best Hainan Chicken Rice in LA/OC

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!

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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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

          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

            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

              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. 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

            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

              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

                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

              savoy def, but only fresh. microwaved = pointless

            3. 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

                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

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

                2. re: jackt

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

                  1. re: jackt

                    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

                      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. 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

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

                      1. re: tvnguyen

                        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.