I have enjoyed the Hainan Chicken Rice from here a couple of times, and I’ve wanted to explore more of the menu, so when I accompanied my parents to the Tustin Auto Mall I figured this was the perfect destination for lunch, especially since they have never experienced Malaysian cuisine before. We placed our order, and here is what we got:
We all enjoyed this; the curry sauce was very flavorful, with star anise and other identifiable herbs contained throughout. Unlike what I had when I was in Singapore, the sauce was a little thinner than what I recall, but the flavors really hit the spot. Belacan makes theirs with seasoned ground beef stuffed/rolled inside their signature house-made roti canai flatbread.
Our waitstaff explained that this is fillet of sole, and one has a choice of house chili tamarind, coconut curry, ginger scallion, black peppercorn or crispy curry leaf preparations; my mother chose the ginger scallion. Although my mother found this one a bit bland, I enjoyed it and appreciated the delicate balance of flavors as a nice contrast to the other, bolder dishes. My mother found she enjoyed it much more by adding some of the sweet chili sauce that came with the…
My parents both thoroughly enjoyed this dish, and this is the closest to what I remember from Singapore that still exists in the Greater LA area (RIP, Grainivore). Again, unlike what I remember from Singapore and Grainivore, the sauces are much more thin than what is customary, and the sweet chili is not at all typical of Singapore’s National Dish – but it’s quite good in its own right. The chicken rice itself is delicious, and every bit as tasty and flavorful as at Grainivore and in Singapore. Every grain of rice was eaten.
Not listed on the menu (but available upon request/when ordering takeout/delivery from their website) is the option to order your Hainan Chicken “Ipoh Style” – imagine the poached chicken with dark soy sauce (again, thin, not thick) and bean sprouts. I prefer the standard preparation, myself.
HAINAN SOUP +$3.00
My biggest criticism is that one has to specifically order it (and pay more) to get any of the soup, but the soup is quite flavorful despite its simplicity. Everyone loved it, and there is a surprising amount of white pepper that gives it a nice warmth without making it too “spicy” for sensitive palates.
CHAR KWAY TEOW
Lots of wok hei in the flat rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, beansprouts and chives in a dark soy sauce the menu describes as “spicy,” all topped with a perfectly-fried egg that still had a little liquid to its yolk. This was absolutely delicious, though I’m quite unclear what was supposed to be “spicy” – zesty? flavorful? but definitely not anything I would describe as “spicy.” I think this was the overall favorite for my parents, but they still quite liked the Hainan Chicken and the…
One can choose between a “rich garlic sauce” or “Belacan shrimp paste” for the preparation of the various veg offerings, and having tried both previously I ordered the garlic sauce; the Belacan preparation isn’t bad, but the garlic sauce is indeed rich and unctuous, and I knew my parents would appreciate it more than they would the funkier Belacan sauce.
NOTE: the above photo isn’t so much out of focus as the kankung was served very freshly plated and emitting copious amounts of steam that my shutter speed simply could not compete with.
NOT PICTURED: VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS
These were unremarkable; not bad, but not noteworthy, either. They were served very hot and fresh from the fryer, though, and my father enjoyed them.