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Hainan chicken-rice: new fave

I am obsessed with hainan-style chicken rice.

Poached chicken, over rice cooked in chicken broth (sometimes with a bit of coconut milk, depending on the joint), with a ginger-garlic-somethin'-special sauce over the top. And a sidecar of chicken broth, to sup.

My introduction and mainstay was Samnaluang's version.

I tasted many others. They ranged from the quite good to the slightly-oddball. people recommended heavily the chicken-rice at this San Gabriel place... uh, kitty-corner from the OK Cafe, that also served spaghetti and pizza. Others seemed to like it, but I thought it had odd, chemically, off-flavors. And the semi-pathetic - Yum Cha's version, which doesn't even use chicken stock to cook the rice in. Where's the love? (As my students tell me, when I give 'em a C.)

But the winner, the real winner, the mega-favorite: is now Rod Ded's version.

First of all: it is hard to get. They only make it Saturday and Sunday, and they run out. Frequently by the early afternoon. Sometimes even before noon. Much to my weeping.

But: the chicken is good chicken. The rice is deep and luscious and sensuously moist. The sauce is the liveliest, the zippiest. The combination is... well, you feel it from your mouth down to your iliac spine.

I took my out-of-town New Yorker best buddy there after a morning of introducing him to rock climbing, and he... well, it well, it went beyond *snarfing*. It was almost to, but not quite, literal *inhaling*. There were no words, only the gradual lowering of his face until it was about 2 inches away from the plate.

So Rod Ded: my favorite duck soup, my favorite thai stewed pork leg, and my favorite hainan chicken rice. It's three blocks from my house. This makes my New Yorker buddy weep tears - hot, salty, gingery, chicken-broth tears.

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  1. Is this it, Thi? Will have to give it a try as I love this dish too. Thanks.

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    Rodded
    5623 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

    2 Replies
    1. god this sounds amazing.
      good rec! thanks!

      1. All the Hainan chicken I have had sucks.

        Thanks for the rec

        2 Replies
        1. re: A5 KOBE

          Which places have you disliked, for my information?

          1. re: Thi N.

            Noodle World in Monterey Park --But definitely get noodles there, the place is still good...LOL

            And some place in Rowland Heights called Coconut Bay--not very good at all

        2. Thanks for the heads-up look forward to some good eats.

          1. try siam sunset. it's the best i've had for chicken rice.

            1. Not called Hainan chicken, but at Sam Woo BBQ in Alhambra and Monterey Park they make a great "white" chicken (not the soy sauce chicken) which is basically the same the serve with a side of ginger, garlic & green oinion sauce.

              1. You've already tried Savoy's Hainan chicken rice, yes? Many consider it the standard in SoCal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: J.L.

                  I think that's the one that I didn't like, because of an odd off/chemically/can flavor that seemed to run through the whole thing.

                2. sounds good! is the chicken served cold or room temp or hot? i think ive had some thing like this with a rice plate and cold poached chicken.