Prime Time Chicken and Chinese Food—Know Thy Patrons

By Tana Kosiyabong

Prime Time Chicken special: one leg, one thigh and fries for $3.25

I have been working seven days a week for two weeks now. So I couldn’t venture out of my neighborhood for my Cheap Appetite missions. Hopefully you, my beloved readers, wouldn’t mind sticking around the downtown east side for a while longer.

I walked past Prime Time Chicken and Chinese food a bunch of times while I was on my way to Kent’s Kitchen. But with a destination in mind, I didn’t bother to check it out. This week, however, I was crunched on time.
This chicken joint had entered my mind because I could walked there in five minutes.

Prime Time Chicken is located at Main Street & Hastings Street across from the Carnegie Community Centre where junkies and some less fortunate folks are hanging out. The restaurant has just opened last year. However, once stepped inside, I experienced a major flashback in time. The décor was, perhaps, brand new in the early 1980s if not earlier. Very little has changed after the previous owner gave up the space. Fortunately, I was there to eat; not to admire the architectural details. As I walked in, the pre-made Chinese food section is on the right-hand side, and the fried and barbecued chicken, and soft-served ice cream are on the left.

Since I just wrote about T&T pre-made Chinese last week, I was drawn towards the chicken side. After a few minutes of studying the menu board, I opted for one leg, one thigh, and fries special ($3.25 or $3.95 if bought separately). At Prime Time Chicken, you can mix and match the deep-fried and barbecued chicken at no extra charge. To suppress my health-conscious mind and satisfy my junk food appetite, I decided to go for a compromise: a barbecued thigh and a deep-fried drumstick.

Prime Time Chicken special for $3.25

Unfortunately, the barbecued chicken thigh was luke warm. It probably sat on the tray for a while. The chicken was a bit dry on the outside, but still moist inside. The Chinese barbecue sauce added sweetness to the chicken exterior.

The deep-fried drumstick, on the other hand, was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The crust was flavored just right. The dark meat was juicy and delicious. I wish I ordered both pieces deep-fried.

The restaurant gave a huge pile of French fries. They were crispy; Some were even crunchy all the way through. It was hard to stop once popped a piece of these delicious golden sticks in my mouth. For a moment, I had become an Energizer bunny who kept eating and eating.

The only thing I missed while eating the chicken was the Thai sweet chili sauce. It complements both deep-fried and barbecued chicken really well. However, given that Prime Time Chicken is Chinese style, I couldn’t penalize them for not providing Thai dipping sauce.

Prime Time Chicken soft-served vanilla and chocolate twirl

After I finished with the greasy food, soft-served ice cream sounded like a great way to end the meal. So I went up to the front and got myself half vanilla, half chocolate ice cream in a small cup ($1.25). It was as good as any pre-mixed, soft-served ice cream could get. Only that the half and half tasted very much like chocolate. Maybe I’ll try the vanilla flavor ($1) by itself next time. For $4.50 (or $4.25 if you prefer vanilla ice cream), this meal is definitely a cheap appetite.

Prime Time Chicken oily food and sweet ice cream are perfect for their core patrons, the junkies of the downtown east side. Surprisingly, I also saw numerous young college crowds walked in and out while dining there. And after this post, there may be quite a few Cheap Appetiters getting their hands greasy at this wallet-friendly chicken joint on regular basis.

Prime Time Chicken Barbecued Chicken Thigh: ©©©
Prime Time Chicken Deep-Fried Chicken Drumstick: ©©© 3/4
Prime Time Chicken Fries: ©©©©
Prime Time Chicken Soft-Served Ice Cream Mixed: ©©© 1/2

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
Remaining Budget: $238.45
Budget Spent: -$4.50
Budget Available: $233.95

Prime Time Chicken and Chinese Food is located at 416 Main Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.568.6999

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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33 thoughts on “Prime Time Chicken and Chinese Food—Know Thy Patrons

  1. Suanne and I was in Chinatown on Saturday. We almost wanted to try the fried chicken there. We got all the way to the front entrance and decided to turn back … we were quite put off by the going ons on the street. We saw had big piles of fried chicken on that small counter. Actually we thought this was supposed to be a fried chicken mainly restaurant … turns out that it’s more of a Chinese take out place. We love fried chicken and used to go to Lee Chicken often when they were on Kingsway. We have not found any good fried chicken places like Lee’s Chicken yet.

    1. Hey Ben, thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 Dining at Prime Time can be difficult. But I have to say that it’s not too bad once you go through with it. Many of Prime Time patrons are the junkies around the corner. It wasn’t the best environment to dine in for sure. They cooked the chicken in a big batch, but the fried chicken I had was still crispy and fresh. I can’t say that with the barbecued one though. I’ll have to check Lee’s Chicken out sometimes. 🙂 Thanks for your tip!

  2. DARING TANA! I have never ventured in but have walked by. One day I might stir up the gall to check them out. I do love fried chicken a lot and maybe have mentioned it more than once with my obsession with khao mun gai tod lol! Having said that, I need to point your radar towards Richmond for one of the best fried chicken in BC, it’s called L.A. Chicken on No.5 and Thorpe, its run bv a Chinese couple, and your order is made to order so nothing sits around or under a heat lamp. I kid you not, the best fried chicken in Lower Mainland! Their fries tho, not so good so just stuck to their chicken and home made gravy, oh you can get rice with your order instead of fries.

    1. Imkoonta, I’m not sure if i deserved the word daring. After all I live around there. I walked past the restaurant and the junkies every day. So, I guess I got used to it. 🙂 Speaking about Khao Mun Gai Tood, I still haven’t been back to Thai Basil yet. I’ll remember to tell Chef Goh about it. But if you get the fried chicken from the L.A chicken, and order rice along with it, it’s pretty much a poor man substitute of Khao mun gai tood. Just bring the Thai sweet chili sauce with you:) lol. I promised to tell Chef Goh about your request.

  3. I’ve been curious about Prime Time since the Olympics when I first noticed them. Have yet made it there in person to do so, so this serves as a good guide. Somehow I would have guessed the fried chicken would be more moist than the BBQ chicken, but to judge properly I’ll get one of each 🙂

    Hey Ben – ready for a time-warp ?
    http://chowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/02/lees-fried-chicken-on-kingsway.html

    I nearly wrote an essay here on Nancyland on fried chicken (guess which one is me):
    http://nancyland.blogspot.com/2005/10/top-five-fried-chicken-in-vancouver.html

    I should add that Phnom Penh on Georgia St. has dang good fried chicken wings you’re not likely to find elsewhere in town.

    1. You’re right. The fried chicken is juicer than the bbq one. I like the deep-fried one more. I didn’t know that there’s Phnom Penh on Georgia st too. I’ll check out your essay next:)

  4. I’ve told you that I really don’t mind having that greasy food once in a while. Afterall I’m not that health conscious! What I want is great taste, maybe with some grease and MSG, as long as I’m not gonna die after eating that, I will definitely go for it! Life is short, why bother that tiny thing!
    The food looks DELICIOUS!

    1. I’m glad you don’t mind greasy food lululu. Grease and MSG are common among Chinese food which I like 🙂 But I have to pace myself sometimes. I’m not young anymore. I can’t eat greasy stuffs every meal:) Perhaps every other meal lol.

  5. Oh, I made these recipe most of the time to go along with rice and sometimes fries/mashed potatoes/potatoes salad. But my hubby is not a big fan of these! He is very original. I think that’s the best word to describe him! haha…. Hope you have a fabulous day!
    Best regards,
    kristy

    1. Can’t believe your hubby doesn’t like fried chicken, Maybe try the KFC original recipe. It’s for those who love original. hehehe just kidding 🙂 Hope you have a great day too!

    1. Wow, this sounds yummy lotusrapper. There was a korean fried chicken stall at H-Mart downtown a while back. They are no longer there. I tried it once, but can’t really remember much about it. I’ll have to find a new place:)

  6. keep ’em coming. love your reports.

    hmmm..Prime Time Chicken sounds like an upgrade of what I called ‘Ghetto Chicken’ shop on Carrall and Cordova.
    wonder if they are related. the fried chicken, bbq chicken and fries look familiar. They use to be even cheaper in price if you I remember correctly. used to be about dollar for one drumstick. and they did serve some Chinese food etc too…. it was definitely sketchier location and decor on Carrall and Cordova.

    1. Hey Timetochow,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. The fried chicken shop on Carrall and Cordova is no longer there. They were gone before I moved into this neighborhood almost two years ago. I wish I had a chance to check it out though. The drumstick at Prime time is actually less than a buck:). It was pretty cheap. I went back there again this evening. But the fried chicken was dry this time. A bit disappointing. I guess it depends on when you go and how fresh the chicken when you order 🙂 The soft-serve ice cream is yummy as usual!

      Thanks again for visiting my blog:)

    2. yeah dude…prime time chicken used to be on carrall and cordova..i loved it there so much, there was this dude that worked there all the time, he had a super light blond mullet!

      my friends and i nicknamed it ‘dirty chicken’ cuz there were cockroaches and whatnots, but the friend chicken was soooo yummy and crunchy, it even tasted good the next day! my friends and i didnt care bout the health inspection problems that they often faced, cuz drumsticks were like 60cents and thighs were like 85cents? lol and the fries are fresh cut double fried yumminess lol

      oh the memories of clubbing everynight circa ’99-2004 and hitting up a different food place each time…primetime was def part of that line up =)

      1. lol. funny that the guy you mentioned was still working there the last time I visited. His mullet hair style is so “unique” 🙂 Yeah the chicken is yummy and cheap for sure, especially when it’s fresh. It sound like you have a good time back then. Thanks for visiting.

  7. It was quite a few years ago that I was at the Ghetto Chicken Stall on C and C. I believe it was cheaper than a buck a drumstick. Maybe 2 drumstick for a buck. It’s so long ago. I have passed by Prime Time Chicken. But never thought it could be the same proprietor, till i saw your pics and post. I am pretty sure the C & C was called prime time chicken too. (circa 2005)

    You are right about the timing. Need to go when the chicken is fresh out of the deep fryer. I believe they use a pressure cooker/fryer. But I could be wrong. Even more true for the BBQ chicken, as the chicken starts to dry under the heat lamp. The soft serve ice cream reminds me of when they used to have it at 7/11 years ago.

    I’ve been lurking on your site in the past. Whilst not exactly cheap, Nuffins Donut on 41st and Knight has similar fried chicken. With a regular and spicy version. There used to to be Juicy Fried Chicken on Main and 11th. Similar to Prime Time. And LA chicken in Richmond used to be Lee’s chicken.

    Two other if you haven’t been is H-mart(DT and Coq) and at Aberdeen Food court(two stalls over from White Spot). Both have versions of fried chicken pieces.

    1. Hey Time to Chow:
      Nuffin Donuts? He he he … isn’t it Duffin Nonuts? or was that Nuffin Nonuts? LOL! All these talk about fried chicken is making me hungry right now. Too bad there is no really good fried chicken in Vancouver after the closure of Lee’s Chicken on Kingsway. My most memorable fried chicken was at Mary Macs (http://chowtimes.com/2007/01/09/atlanta-trip-report-mary-macs-tea-room/) … awesome restaurant and visited by past US presidents before. The southerners makes the best fried chicken … them southerners and Koreans.
      Ben

      1. lol. I wish I could try the Lee’s chicken now. If I remember correctly, church’s chicken is a chain from the south. If you like southern fried chicken, I guess that’s the place. I’m sure you know about this already:) Anyway, Ben, you’ll change your mind if you ever try Thai deep fried chicken from street food stalls. I love all the spice in the batter. It’s not hot spicy, but it’s yummy!

    2. It’s good to learn about the past life of prime time chicken. You’re right about the bbq chicken. It dried easier. But it could be good if the timing is right:) The soft serve is yummy. I saw them pour in the real cream from the milk carton. It’s quite impressive to see they use good ingredient for once. I’ve never been to the donut place you mention.

      Ben also mentioned about Lee’s chicken. Too bad it’s not there any more. The fried chicken stall at the Hmart is also no longer there. But I love Aberdeen food court. Never try the fried chicken there though. Maybe next time:)

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