After I commented on an Instagram post from Caroline Kostiuk (@carolineadobo) about particular Hainan chicken practitioner in the San Gabriel Valley that looked particularly good, she responded with a recommendation for a place that she liked even more: Tasty Food. I finally visited Tasty Food with family and their chicken met high expectations.
This stall in Rosemead’s GW Supermarket-adjacent food court carries on the Yan family’s culinary traditions. The parents emigrated from Guangzhou, China, when older son Fei Yan was 10, and his brother Waldo was even younger. They ran the stall for years, and after their mother’s untimely passing, Waldo now helms the kitchen with front of house help from Fei. The boys grew up eating Hainan chicken, and they serve the dish to honor her legacy.
Tasty Food serves two different chicken plates, $8 each, and both require advanced phone ordering since availability and inventory are so limited. Both versions are worth the trouble and a detour. Boneless poached chicken thigh meat is luscious, served atop sticky-grained rice folded with chicken schmaltz (rendered fat). Juicy fried chicken thighs sport crispy coats and arrive atop fried rice. In both cases, Styrofoam containers also contain sweet pickled cabbage and crunchy marinated cucumbers. Three complementary sauces include scallion oil, savory dark soy sauce, and punchy citrus sambal sauce. Customers also receive a cup of egg drop soup thickened with corn starch that was fine, though I would have preferred a lighter, more basic chicken broth, since the Hainan chicken already has so much flavor.