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Review: Some of the Best Hainan Chicken in Town is in an Arcadia Mall

Review: Some of the Best Hainan Chicken in Town is in an Arcadia Mall

LATimes' Jonathan Gold Reviews Side Chick

The signature dish at Side Chick is the Hainan chicken rice. The restaurant is located inside the Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia.

If you wander by Side Chick at the right time of day, you can see an absurd number of whole chickens being prepped for that day’s service, both steaming pyramids of plump, pale birds fresh from their poaching liquid and burnished roast birds oozing a bit from the spot where they have been pierced by the spit. Flashing cleavers reduce the chickens to their constituent parts.

You could walk down the corridor to the other food spaces in this Asian corner of the Santa Anita mall, toward crabs or udon or even the dumplings at Din Tai Fung, but Side Chick, which specializes in Hainan chicken rice, exerts a powerful pull. There may be a thick pane of glass between you and the production kitchen, but you can imagine the cooking smells of a dozen grandmothers in that tiny room, all chicken, ginger and garlic; roasted skin and sweetly burnt soy. Johnny Lee, who is nothing if not a showman, surely had this affect in mind.

You have run into Lee, I’m almost sure of it. He came from working with John Sedlar at Rivera to be the cook at the Monterey Park bar Spirit House, where he stuffed 24-hour roast Chinese pork into tacos and made exquisitely crisp French fries that required a three-day process. His Thai-style chicken rice at Sticky Rice was the best reason to visit Grand Central Market in the early days of its gentrification. He worked with Alvin Cailan on Eggslut, Ramen Champ and any number of Hainan chicken rice pop-ups.

What does Side Chick serve? Find out at the Los Angeles Times.


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Jonathan Gold Talks Side Hustle Cuisine at LA’s Best Haninan Chicken Specialist

This week Jonathan Gold heads to the Westfield Santa Anita mall to review Side Chick, the Hainan chicken and rice specialist by chef Johnny Lee. The Goldster invents a new term for the type of cooking, dubbed “Side Hustle Cuisine — the recipes that chefs make for their friends on Sunday afternoons, retooled for a wider public. Side Hustle Cuisine couldn’t be more of the times.”

Lee’s “Side Hustle Cuisine,” poached chicken and schmalzy rice, is pretty darn tasty:

So does Lee make the best Hainan chicken rice in Los Angeles? He probably does, which is to say that it’s done well enough to make the question one of personal preference rather than of quality of ingredients or consistency in preparation.

The chicken (organic) is poached in that time-consuming Chinese way that leaves the flesh a bit slack, although cooked all the way through, well salted though not briny, and with a hint of unmelted fat still clinging to the underside of the skin. The sauces include dense, sweet soy a very creditable ginger puree lightened with minced green onion and a vinegared hot sauce that somehow tastes more American than Chinese. [LAT]

The Times critic also praises the rice which folds “in a bit of schmaltz to give richness and fragrance as you might fold a quail-egg yolk into a serving of steak tartare.” Ultimately, J. Gold concludes, “Lee’s version is pretty first-rate.”


Watch the video: I Went to Hainan Just to Eat Hainanese Chicken Rice (November 2021).