Hainan Chicken Rice

My father sent me a picture of some Hainan chicken rice taken at a restaurant back at home, and that immediately induced my strong craving for chicken rice. I slept on it for a week but the craving did not subside. I knew that I had to get some over spring break or this deprivation will interfere with my life and affect my emotional state of mind.

I was asking a friend who lives in LA for general recommendations on where to eat  and she told me that I had to go to this restaurant, Savoy Kitchen, in Alhambra. It is supposedly famous for its Hainan chicken rice and she told me she loved it. I did not set very high expectations despite the hype surrounding it because I was sceptical that it could compare to the ones I regularly had in Asia. Got a box to go for about $7 and ate it before I could take a picture of it, so here is one that I stole from some random person’s tumblr. Credits to whoever took and posted this picture.

The chicken rice was good for what it is and it exceeded the low expectations that I had set in order to avoid disappointment. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the rice was what I imagined it to be. However, if I were to be unfair and compare it to the real deal in Asia, it would pale in comparison to the ones I ate nearly every weekend at home. The ginger and the chilli sauce was mild and not as strong and flavourful as I hoped it to be. The chicken could also be juicier, and it was lacking a certain ‘oomph’ that I was accustomed to having with my chicken rice.

I can still understand why there is a hype surrounding Savoy Kitchen’s chicken rice, because it still is delicious and there probably isn’t that many Hainan chicken rice out here to compare it to. I would recommend this to someone who rarely or has never eaten Hainan chicken rice, but probably would not describe it as mindblowingly good to someone who has had one too many superb Hainan chicken rice in Asia. It was a $7 well spent and it was good enough for me to indulge in nostalgia and to satisfy my week long craving for chicken rice.

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