The chicken (rice) that crossed the seas: Our prized local dish is having a moment – in Los Angeles

Hainan fish rice from Yang’s Kitchen, Hainan chicken sando from Open Market and Hainan turkey sub from Jeff’s Table. Photo: Wonho Frank Lee, Ralph Hsiao and Jeff’s Table via Eater
Hainan fish rice from Yang’s Kitchen, Hainan chicken sando from Open Market and Hainan turkey sub from Jeff’s Table. Photo: Wonho Frank Lee, Ralph Hsiao and Jeff’s Table via Eater

Food trends are abundant and plenty – some don’t even stick around long enough to be a thing. But our humble Hainanese chicken rice dish is enjoying something of a renaissance… but not in Singapore. 

First things first, the origins of the Hainanese chicken rice is rooted in the Hainan province in Southern China and began from the dish of Wenchang chicken where a small, fleshy chicken is cooked in a style similar to poaching. The cooked meat is then eaten with a dip made from ginger and salt. The chicken rice dish we know and love now was created by immigrants from Hainan who moved to different parts of Southeast Asia. 

Over in Los Angeles, a sandwich shop in Koreatown called Open Market rolled out a Hainan chicken salad sando.

In a post on food platform Eater, chef Andrew Marco of Open Market said, “I didn’t prepare that much for this one because I just had no idea anybody wanted it, but we sold 25 of them – that’s all I had – in less than an hour.”

Open Market is not the only eatery in LA putting its twist on Hainanese chicken rice. At Jeff’s Table, you can get a Hainan Turkey sub and over at Yang’s Kitchen, a fish version of the rice dish is available. 

It’s good to see our lil dish fly its flag elsewhere – and it’s new form – but some in the comments still vouch for the OG version. 

While some jest and poke fun:

Do you think Singapore is ready for a chicken rice sandwich?


ALSO CHECK OUT – Walk in the park: New nature reserve in Singapore features a former quarry and a 31 meter-tall deck

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