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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chinese American Live Poultry - Rosemead

A few doors down from Quang Tran, Inc. is Chinese American Live Poultry, where my family gets our fresh chicken for com ga Hai Nam (Hainanese chicken rice). Whenever my dad comes into town, we always get ga di bo (Vietnamese walking chicken), otherwise known as free-range chicken. The poultry place is in a nondescript cinder block building though so look for this sign or you might miss it.

Chinese American Live Poultry 1

There's a small counter inside where you'll see a list of chicken or duck options, eggs too. The free-range chicken is listed on the menu as "brown chicken." My youngest uncle said something about how the literal Chinese characters say brown chicken so that's why it's called that. It's a flat $10.50 for the free-range, no antibiotics, no hormones, USDA-approved bird. Not cheap. But if you want very fresh free-range chicken, you gotta pay for it. No growth hormones or anything added. Vietnamese call these chickens ga di bo because all that walking keeps it lean.

The big chicken below on the right is the average American plump breasted bird. Sold by the pound so it was $11.44.

Chinese American Live Poultry 2

Ideally, the chicken should be slightly warm, or at the least, not chilled. That means it was freshly killed and hadn't been refrigerated. Don't worry, you won't see any of that icky stuff when you purchase it at the counter.

Purchasing it was rather anti-climatic actually. Just a very clean, white counter. No offensive scenes of slaughter. No overwhelming smells. That's the purchasing area anyway. I take no responsibility if you decide to stick your nose in the behind-the-scenes area. My youngest aunt's husband usually makes the Hainanese chicken rice in her family.

A free-range chicken results in firm but tender meat, with just a bit of chew. Properly prepared Hainanese chicken should never be mushy. Oh, yeah, and sorry, my cousins keep insisting I not pass out the family recipe. :P

Chinese American Live Poultry 3

Chopped up, the free-range chicken filled up the plate in front. The plump-breasted bird filled the two plates in the back. As you can see, lots of white breast meat.

Chinese American Live Poultry 4

The resulting broth from cooking the chickens got made into soup, and of course, the famous chicken rice in the upper left corner. Serve with huge bowls of Nuoc Mam Gung (Vietnamese Ginger Fish Sauce), both spicy and not so spicy versions.

Chinese American Live Poultry 5

The Ca Bong Lau Nuong voi Mo Hanh (Vietnamese Roasted Catfish with Scallion Oil) in the middle? That was my contribution. My dad had caught the catfish the day before. My mom cleaned and gutted it. And my dad brought it down from Oregon for me to cook.

He caught a whole bunch of trout too. And suggested I prepare them with a nice tomato sauce. But that's another recipe for another day.

Chinese American Live Poultry
8932 E. Garvey Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

1 year ago today, my first cooking video - how to make homemade frozen yogurt without an ice cream machine.


  1. What's the main difference between Hainanese chicken and Vietnamese boiled chicken?I don't think I've tried Hainanese chicken before. Looks mouth watering though.
    Can you post the recipe for your ca bong lau nuong mo hanh when you have time? Ta :D
    P.S: I thought catfish was ca tre?

  2. WC,

    Looks really good...especially the soup with the gizard and the unlaid egg...my favorite...

    My mom buys chickens from the same place, but i haven't been in the place myself. I'm afraid what i would find in there, but it seems pretty okay from your post...maybe i'll go in next time.

  3. What a feast! I heard the chicken in Hainanese chicken rice cannot be boiled to cook. The boiling broth must be turned off and the chicken immersed in there to cook through for some time. Then, have a cold ice bath after that.

  4. We've been going to this place since it opened and was much smaller and stinkier. I agree the chicken here tastes so much better! I don't even look at the price...the quality is worth it. I've noticed the family who works there have gotten progressively richer too, haha. The lines close to around Tet go out the store onto Garvey sometimes!

  5. I think you need to tell your readers to brace themselves for the smell of kept chickens before entering.

  6. fresh chickens? wow. u r very resourceful!

  7. Everyone is hovered around my computer now, drooling over this chicken. All the ladies here love the table set up too, they said this has gotta be so kick butt with the dipping sauce.
    Hainanese chicken is becoming so popular now, everyone is talking about it. Phuong is gonna call her husband to get a fresh chicken today to make this. She say's thank you and wants to know if you're married yet. She has two single sons! ;)

  8. Is the poultry raised on the premises too? Or is it just slaughtered there. It looks like an awesome place to buy chicken.

  9. WC - you're such a tease when it comes to the chicken recipe ;-)

  10. Hedgehog,
    Hainanese chicken isn't boiled. It's cooked just short of boiling, turned off, then again and again in order to keep the juices in the chicken.

    Ca tre is a smaller type of catfish. The big kind that gets roasted is ca bong lau.

    Haha! I can't believe the gizzard and unlaid egg looks tasty to you. :P Yeah, there's really nothing to see in there.

    Yup! No boiling. Otherwise, you get mushy chicken.

    I've never been around Tet but I'm not surprised the lines go out the door. My dad just bought a whole bunch to take back with him up to Oregon. :)

    It's not smelly! You're thinking of another location. Stop spreading rumors on my blog.

    Not that resourceful. I don't kill them.

    Haha! Tell your nail salon ladies that my youngest aunt's husband made the chicken. Actually tell them that three of my aunties do nails so their husbands do a lot of the cooking in their homes. And tell Phuong I'm single but I want a husband who cooks and cleans too. ;)

    Slaughterhouse only. It'd be smellier if the chickens were kept here too.

    Yup. I don't put out. ;)


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