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Wenchang chicken
Wenchang chicken after cooking, before being cut into pieces
Region or state Hainan, China
Created by Hainanese
Main ingredients Chicken

Wenchang chicken ( simplified Chinese: 文昌鸡; traditional Chinese: 文昌雞; pinyin: Wénchāng Jī) is a type of chicken breed and a chicken dish from the Wenchang city area in the island province of Hainan, China.

The chicken

This variety of small, fleshy [1] free-range chicken is fed coconut and peanut bran. [2] During the last two months before going to market, they are kept in coops above the ground. [1] It is known for having tender meat. [2]

The dish

Wenchang chicken is known throughout the province of Hainan. The traditional way to prepare Wenchang chicken is "white cutting" (白切), which involves immersing the chicken in almost boiling water and cooking to preserve its softness and tenderness. It is then eaten by dipping the pieces in a mixture of spices including chopped ginger and garlic, and salt. [1] The skin of Wenchang chicken is typically yellow, with an oily appearance, [3] although the meat is somewhat drier and has more texture than battery chickens. This dish is also popular in mainland China, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries. [1]

Hainanese chicken rice

During the 19th and 20th century, a significant amount of Hainanese decided to move south – which was then widely known as Nanyang (南洋) – particularly to Singapore. Many also brought along their culinary expertise, creating numerous dishes that are a fusion of both their cuisine back in Hainan along with local ingredients available, or inventing a new dish entirely.[ citation needed]

In the context of Wenchang chicken, it is the originator of the Singaporean dish Hainanese chicken rice, the national dish of the country and "one of the most beloved culinary exports of Southeast Asia". [4] [5]

The dish came into fruition in the 1920s, by a Hainanese chef named Wang Yiyuan who was living in Singapore. [6] It then started to gain popularity in the mid 20th century by a chef named Moh Lee Twee, a Singaporean of Hainanese descent, whose Swee Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant operated at Middle Road for five decades. [7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Hainan Four Best Known Dishes-Wenchang Chicken—Hainan Cuisine -Sunny Hainan Holiday |Hainan Tourism official website". 2009-04-13. Archived from the original on 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  2. ^ a b "From Hainan to Saigon: How Hainanese chicken took flight". SBS Food. Retrieved 2023-11-19.
  3. ^ "Wenchang Chicken - China culture". 2010-02-20. Archived from the original on 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  4. ^ Kugiya, Hugo. "Singapore's national dish: Hainan chicken rice". Crosscut. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  5. ^ Pang, Kevin. "THE WORLD'S BEST CHICKEN COMES FROM HAINAN". Saveur. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  6. ^ Tan, Annette. "5 places for good chicken rice". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 7 November 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  7. ^ Wang Zhenchun (王振春). Hua Shuo Hainan Ren (话说海南人): Mo Lu Rui Created The Mini Hainanese Chicken Rice Empire (莫履瑞创下海南鸡饭小王国). The Youth Book Co. Singapore. 2008. ISBN  978-981-08-1095-5. pp 82

External links