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Dec 5, 2009 09:02 AM

How to pronounce "Hainanese"

in Cantonese? Hay or Hi -- and is Bock Chit Guy a reasonable substitute for the chicken?

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  1. Using the Yale system:

    Hainan chicken = sea + south + chicken = hoi2 (rising tone mid to high) + naahm4 (falling mid-low to low) + gai1 (flat high)

    White chopped chicken = baahk3 (flat middle) + chit3 + gai1 is similar but is just simply poached whereas Hainan chicken goes through a repeated cycle of short poaching and icing that results in a skin with a much more firmer texture.

    8 Replies
    1. re: PorkButt

      Thank you so much -- so "hai" is the word for river...

        1. re: raytamsgv

          PB pronounces "hai" as "hoi"...

          1. re: Sarah

            "Hai" is Mandarin
            "Hoi" is Cantonese

            Either way, it means sea or ocean but not river.

            I think Hainan Chicken automatically comes with the chicken-flavored rice and dipping sauce. Bock Chit Gai is just chicken (usually with dipping sauce).

            1. re: chococat

              My original question got lost in here: is "Hai" pronounced "Hi" or "Hay?"

        2. re: Sarah

          No, river 河 is ho4 (falling tone middle to low) in Canto and he2 (rising, pronounced like HUH) in Mandarin.

          Sea/ocean 海 is hoi2 in Canto and hai3 (down and back up, pronounced HY) in Mandarin.

          1. re: PorkButt

            All this time I thought Shanghai in Cantonese meant "up river"... thanks for the clarification! So I should order Hoy Nahm Guy, right?

            1. re: Sarah

              You've got it. A similar preparation is called Empress or Princess chicken (sorry, I've forgotten the Cantonese name for it). Be warned though that the "yellow feathered" variety of chicken is used and is not meaty enough nor tender enough for people used to supermarket chicken.