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White Poached Chicken from Hing Lung

Melanie Wong | Sep 29, 200304:00 AM

Sunday afternoon I attended a Grand Aioli in honor of my cousin’s birthday. The aioli was based on Lulu Peyraud’s recipe, an eight-clove, wondrously thick concoction pounded and served in a heavy white marble mortar. Uncle Ben said that hand-whisking it incorporates less air and creates the lustrous sheen and heavy texture. The aioli was served with filets of salt cod, blanched calamari rings, waxy potatoes, cherry tomatoes, baby summer squash, blanched multi-color pole beans, sweet and slender mini-carrots, hard-cooked eggs, roasted red peppers, marinated radishes, and cold poached chicken.

While everything was delicious, I took special note of the chicken and asked how it was prepared. Auntie Ruby demurred and said that it was no fuss at all – she’d sent uncle to purchase three already cooked at Hing Lung market on Stockton St. in SF Chinatown. He chimed in that, in his opinion, Hing Lung makes the most flavorful with the best texture, and I’d have to agree. I liked it cold and naked without the aioli sauce, and Auntie confessed that she couldn’t help but pop the stray pieces of it in her mouth when she was boning it out. She mentioned that the extra cartilage and firmer flesh of the free-range bird made it harder to cut through the joints or cut from the bone.

The skin was taut, not fatty, with the firm resistance to the teeth that the Chinese are so fond of. The taste of this fresh-killed chicken was much deeper and more, well, chicken-y. This was a welcome change from mushy, flabby and bland commercial chickens. While I enjoyed it plain, you might want to try dipping it in a little oyster sauce, sriracha, or scallion/ginger oil.


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