It’s week three of our quest to find worthy little restaurants that will feed you well for not much money, and this week we head to Alhambra for an irresistible chicken meal.
If you drive down Valley Boulevard in Alhambra and San Gabriel looking for a good place to eat — something any food lover should do regularly — you will note the crowd of people milling around the front door of this miniature corner café with a greenery-shaded sidewalk patio. They are willing to wait, to pay cash and to forgo the pleasures of cold beer (and the comforts of a decent restroom) for the privilege of eating Savoy’s Hainan chicken. This Malaysian staple doesn’t look terribly enticing — a mountain of white rice and a pile of plain-looking poached chicken, with the only color coming from three sauces. But while some regulars happily slurp bowls of noodle soup or eat Asian-Italian pastas, most get the Hainan chicken. It’s slow poached in chicken stock, served with tender rice that’s also cooked in stock. Three tiny bowls hold soy sauce, chile sauce and freshly grated ginger we highly recommend drizzing a mix of all three over the chicken and rice. This is comfort food of the deepest order, generously served by nice people for just $6.95 — although we follow the lead of many regulars and spend an extra two bucks on the dark meat. Add a lemon or chrysanthemum iced tea, let go just this once of the need to have a healthy vegetable with your meal, and you will go home happy.
Savoy Kitchen, 138 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, 626.308.9535. L & D Mon.-Sat. Chinese/Malaysian. No booze. No credit cards. $