Beggar's Chicken

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Beggar's Chicken (Chinese: 叫化雞; pinyin: jiàohuā jī; Changshu dialect: "jiaohuaji") is a dish from Changshu, Jiangsu province. The chicken is stuffed, wrapped in clay, and roasted. It can take 6 hours to prepare a single serving.[1]

Beggar's Chicken


Many Chinese dishes have names adopted from folklore, legend, or story.

Legend has it that during the Qing dynasty, a hungry beggar stole a chicken from a rural farm. The farmer caught wind of the crime and chased the beggar down to a riverbank. To hide his loot, the beggar buried the chicken in mud. Later that evening, the beggar returned to the river, lit twigs on fire, and set the mud-soaked chicken directly on top of the flame. The result? A tight clay crust formed over the chicken. When cracked open, the feathers fell right off to reveal aromatic, tender meat. The Emperor, who happened to be passing through, stopped to dine with the beggar and declared this dish so delicious that it was added to the Imperial Court menu. And, rather than keep his new-found dish a secret, the beggar rose from poverty by selling Beggar’s Chicken to local villagers. [2]

Today, this dish is considered a staple of Chinese haute cuisine, now most often wrapped in lotus leaves and baked. To keep it more traditional some recipes do call for covering the lotus-wrapped chicken in clay[3] or a flour based dough[4] to ensure the sealing of the juices. Some still even do cook this dish outside with hot coals and covering the lotus wrapped chicken with clay or mud.

About 100 years ago, a small restaurant created a method to cook this kind of chicken and called it "Beggar's Chicken".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top 10 Food Cities". Youtube. Retrieved 13 February 2015.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ [1] Accessed March 21,2014
  3. ^ [2] Accessed 3/22/2014
  4. ^ [3] Accessed March 21, 2014
  5. ^ Beggar's Chicken. Foreigner CN. Accessed April 5, 2012.