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Chun Liu Chicken? What is it?

What is Chun Liu Chicken? If you do a google search it appears on countless Chinese restaurant takeout menus throughout the greater Boston area. It doesn't seem to exist anywhere else in the country.

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  1. It's not terribly detailed, but one of those menus gives the following description:

    "This is one of the most popular dishes of classic banquet cooking. It contains meat sauteed in chef's special sauce, bedded on fresh crispy broccoli (choice of spicy or mild)."

    1. The easy foodie answer is: Ask when you call.

      The easy chowhound answer is: Order it blind and post what you discover.

      1. It is interesting though that the term only appears on Boston-area menus. My search also pulled up a similar query from the General Chowhounding board last June - with no replies at all.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        10 Replies
        1. re: BobB

          It got me thinking--there is Chinese food specific to India--is there Chinese food specific to Boston? I never had a crab rangoon til I moved up here... Also, dinner rolls are included with Chinese takeout--another local custom?

          1. re: whs

            well, there's always the chop suey sandwich at salem willows...

            1. re: passing thru

              ooooooh! and don't 4get the popcorn bars @ Hobs'!!! and if U go during the summer U can do a pretty spin art design on the base of the tilt-a-whirl.

            2. re: whs

              Crab rangoons are served in NYC, Georgia, and a few other places I have visited, in addition to Boston. I think they pop up wherever you have Americanized "Chinese" dishes. I think there was a thread on the general topics board indicating that they originated in CA.

              1. re: whs

                Crab rangoon is not a local invention, but the custom of including bread rolls with takeout is a very old-school Boston thing that I have never seen anywhere else in the country.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Yeah - the rolls are really wierd. Never edible. I just leave 'em in the bag with the 14 packets of soy, mustard and duck sauce (what the hell is duck sauce anyway??)

                  1. re: Cork

                    it's also called Plum Sauce, cuz it's sometimes made from pureed plums.

                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                      I always thought it was made with pureed apricots or peaches

                    2. re: Cork

                      I was told that it was plum sauce mixed w/applesauce & some restaurants that do make their own will toss in vinegar for balance. But I'd tried to recreate this a few times but couldn't get it just right.

              2. Its just like chun Liu beef, only with chicken :) LOL

                1. "This is one of the most popular dishes of classic banquet cooking. It contains meat sauteed in chef's special sauce, bedded on fresh crispy broccoli (choice of spicy or mild)."

                  Maybe the banquets I've been to aren't 'classic' enough, but I've never seen this at a Chinese banquet. It also sounds rather ordinary, which is atypical for the all-out nature of Chinese banquets. Never even heard of this dish. *shrugs*

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobuta

                    hmmm maybe its the real name for what is commonly called "chicken and broccoli"?

                    1. re: kobuta

                      I am an American-born Chinese, have grown up eating in more Chinese restaurants than I want to think of, have lived for a year in Changsha, Hunan province, and I've never heard of this dish. Doesn't mean it isn't necessarily a real Chinese dish, but I think the claim of "most popular dish of classic banquet cooking" might be a bit overstated. I can't even parse what the actual Chinese name would be (and the google search is turning up menus without Chinese characters) -- maybe spring flow, or something?

                      I do have to say I'm impressed by the use of the words, "chef's special sauce" -- after all, we Chinese only have one special sauce in our cooking ...

                      /J

                      1. At Mai Place on 138 in Canton, it's the meat (chicken or beef) with green and red peppers in a brown sauce that's mildly spicy. Maybe onions, too. I like it there, for what it's worth.

                        1. Here in Watertown, MA it is also meat (I had Shrimp Chun Liu) with red/green bell peppers and broccoli in a slightly spicy thin brown sauce. Pretty tasty. I would put it under the category of "spicy stir fry" but not as spicy as say Kung Pao.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Xianthe

                            I'd agree. Chicken with green and red peppers and onions in a mildly spicy sauce. My favorite Chinese main course. I live in Boston and used to get it all the time when I worked on the North Shore - unfortunately haven't been able to find it since I moved 5 years ago.

                          2. I asked a waitress at Great Wall in Bedford, MA (a suburb of Boston). She said Chun Liu means "Cantonese Wok" in Chinese. We ordered it (with chicken) and it was like a spicy chicken and broccoli dish, except the broccoli was arranged around the outside of the dish, with no sauce on it--only the meat had sauce. (It was your average "brown" Chinese food sauce, but a bit spicy.)

                            It's definitely true that ethnic foods within the U.S. have regional varieties. For example, in the midwest where I'm from, you don't often see Scallion Pancake on the menu, but here in the Boston area, it's extremely common not only to Chinese but to other Asian restaurants.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Andrea_

                              I went back to Great Wall. On the menu, the Chun Lu dishes all had the character for chuan as in Sichuan in the Chinese name. According to Wikipedia, Sichuan Province is short for "Si chuan Lu". Not sure how that squares with"Cantonese Wok".

                            2. I still want to know where I can get the sesame chewy dessert gimmes that Cantonese Restaurants of New England used to make in house. Bakeries of Chinatown had them 15 years back or so. I want them.