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The reason I decided to go to Tasty Choice for lunch was mainly for the Hainan Chicken Rice. If Savoy is the reigning Queen of Hainan Chicken Rice in the San Gabriel Valley area, then Tasty Choice could well be the King.

What is this simple and humble dish called Hainan Chicken?

Though the origin of this dish is Chinese, it is often associated with Singaporean, Malaysian, and Hainanese cuisines. The chicken is usually prepared in traditional Hainanese methods which involved steeping the entire chicken at sub-boiling temperature in a pork and chicken bone stock. The stock is not used for rice preparation, but instead a chicken stock is created specifically for that purpose, thus producing an oily, flavorful rice known as “oily rice”.

The chicken rice dish was actually not for myself. My son is a big fan of Hainan Chicken Rice, and had been yearning for some, so I decided I would have lunch there and bring back a take-out order for him. I had been getting him the one from Savoy until I tasted the one from Tasty Choice a while back. For about a dollar more, I ordered all dark meat. The chicken was lusciously tender, moist, and full of natural chicken flavor. The color of the rice was darker than most places and very fragrant.  I like the pickled vegetables on the side to balance out the dish. My son enjoyed the half boiled egg, and did admit that if he was forced to choose, he would favor the chicken rice here.

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As for myself, I enjoyed the Sole Fillet with Preserved Vegetable. A pan fried sole fillet smothered entirely and generously with dark green mustard green and small slices of shiitake mushrooms in a clear gravy. The mustard green is not too salty, and complimented the fish well. The fact that I can order mixed vegetables instead of rice to go with my dish is definitely a bonus.

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My eating companion ordered the simple but satisfying Tomato Beef Rice. After trying a bit, I thought it had a more intense, deeper and a more robust tomato flavor than other places, with the beef slices being tender and smooth.

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The lunch comes with a choice of hot or cold Lemon tea, Milk tea or Coffee and soup of the day, which was a extra thick creamy vegetable soup that I thought was rather excellent.

Tasty Choice: 200 S. San Gabriel Blvd. San Gabriel, CA 91776  Phone: 626-286-3338

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