The Circle of Life (On My Plate) – Eating Chicken the Fresh Way in China

By Mark Wiens 20 Comments
Chicken restaurant in China
Chicken restaurant in China

China, without doubt, is one of the greatest destinations in the world for food.

While just about every meal in China is a delicious adventure (sometimes full of surprises), there was this one particular chicken restaurant I ate at in Yangshuo, China, that I knew was going to be fantastic just from the looks of the outside (and from my cousin’s recommendation).

Chicken waiting in their baskets... little do they know they are on the menu just a few steps away
Chickens waiting in their baskets… little do they know they are on the menu just a few steps away.

We started off by ordering 2 different types of chicken – both the restaurant specialties.

In China, you don’t want to buy a pre-butchered chicken, who knows how long it’s been sitting there? Instead most people in China prefer to go to the market, purchase a bird, and butcher it themselves.

And a restaurant is no different.

At this restaurant they won’t slaughter it until you order it – but once you do place your order, it takes just a few moments before it’s game over for Mr. chicken.

Dunking the chickens in boiling water
Dunking the chickens in boiling water

After the birds were butchered they were immediately dunked into a cauldron of boiling water in order to make the plucking of the feathers an easier task.

Boney chicken soup
Boney chicken soup

In no longer than 10 minutes after ordering, the squawking friend we had met upon entering the restaurant, emerged in an entirely different shape and form.

The first dish was chicken soup, a hot pot of the entire chicken chopped in pieces and drowned in a wonderful chickeny broth.

Though the boney bits of chicken weren’t exactly what I’d call “meat filled,” they were extremely flavorful. A bite of chicken paired with chili sauce and a bowl of rice and I was already feeling delighted.

Can you spot the head? Rooster comb included!
Can you spot the head? Rooster comb included!

Even better than the chicken soup was the wok full of chicken parts doused in oil and paired with an abundance of chillies.

It was the chicken version of the amazing shuizhuyu, a Chinese dish that stole my heart from the first bite. Basically the entirety of the chicken was chopped up into random bite sized pieces, fried up with chili sauce and served.

It may not look overly appealing, but I can assure you the flavor was wonderful (you’ll have to take my word for it)!

A very satisfying chicken meal!
A very satisfying chicken meal!

In no longer than about an hour, the chickens had gone from being caged in their basket to being caged in my stomach.

Stuffed full of about 8 bowls of rice and two kinds of deliciously fresh chicken, was when the restaurant owner himself delivered the final provisions of the meal…

Strawberry pudding anyone?
Strawberry pudding anyone?

Dessert was a pleasant bowl of strawberry pudding… haha yah right! – how about a fresh bowl of congealed chicken blood!

It sounds a lot worse than it tastes.

When you cook the blood it turns into a blood jelly without actually having much taste. The consistency was very smooth and it gave me that slight rubberiness between my teeth while I chewed.

The circle of life complete, I left the restaurant stuffed full of chicken and delightfully satisfied!

20 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • IC Group

    20 hours ago

    um… I think I’ll stick to the roasted duck 😉

  • Alice

    8 years ago

    Oh yeah, that is how China prepare their chickens, live. I remember my grandma’s sister preparing a live chicken in front of me and I was only 8 years old. Haha! =)

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Alice, it’s definitely the best and freshest way to enjoy chicken!

  • Audrey

    9 years ago

    I was hanging out in a rural Korean village a few weeks ago, and as I walked past the market, a man literally killed a chicken in front of me! I was kind of horrified even though I’m no vegetarian, lol, but your post reminded me of that. Err, and I don’t think I’ll be trying the chicken blood…

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, thanks for sharing Audrey, that’s the fresh way to do things!

  • ciki

    9 years ago

    Yup that’s pretty much how they slaughter in Malaysia as well… otherwise.. where can one get to enjoy that lovely chickeny broth.. as you so aptly put it;)

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, yes! The fresher the better and the more chickeny!

  • Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    9 years ago

    Damn it Mark! I need a warning on these posts. 🙂 6am is too early to see chickens being boiled and bowls of congealed blood, especially when we are heading to China in a few hours.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, next time I’ll add a disclaimer! Beijing right? Will you travel around other parts of the country too? That’s going to be a lot of fun and lots of food. I’ll be looking out for some congealed blood posts on NVR!

  • Maria

    9 years ago

    Beautiful chicken (on the way in, I mean). I’m with Kieu – sounds great ’till you hit, “congealed chicken blood.” Then again, shouldn’t knock it till tried. All right, come on Kieu, let’s go get a bowl; I’m sure Mark saved some.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hehe, yes don’t worry, I’ll definitely save some blood for both you and Kieu!!

  • Daniel McBane – Funny Travel Stories

    9 years ago

    I’m not a huge fan of the chicken heads or the chicken feet, but I enjoy pretty much everything in between. I’ve had congealed pork blood quite a few times (in China, naturally), but I’ve never tried the chicken variety. I assume there’s not much difference though.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Daniel, I’d agree with you, feet are alright, but there’s just not enough to them for me to enjoy them too much. Yah, quite similar to pork blood, jelly-like and not really much flavor itself.

  • Kieu

    9 years ago

    Congealed chicken blood?!! Um… Sounds terrifying. Lol

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hah, yes, a little terrifying, but not too bad!

  • Min

    9 years ago

    that’s strange.. :/

  • sully86

    9 years ago

    Mark: What a masterpiece of a dish!!