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Nov 26, 2013 01:34 PM

Chinese Chicken Nomenclature

I was on Clement Street the other day and stopped in at Cheung Hing for a duck. While I waited I looked at chickens in the refrigerator case and got curious. What is Loong Gang chicken? Googling only gave me many entries on its use as contest food on the Asian (better) version of Iron Chef. It was priced at $10.50, I assume per bird. Then there was Qing Yuan chicken at $2.19 a pound. I know Qingyuan is a place but what is the chicken? I have seen silkies there in the past which may be wu gu ji according to Google source. And there is gui fei in their cooked items which I see from long ago Chowhound discussion is poached with ginger but that is all I know of it. Any description as to taste would be appreciated.

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  1. Hi, loong gang is a brand. The LG brand specializes in a particular breed of free range "running" chicken that is prized for its chickeny flavor and chewy texture. Dont expect huge breasts! Gui Fei is a prep style .... Usually poached with ginger/scallions and often served with a sauce/paste made of ginger, oil, and scallions. For instance, I like to make GF chicken at home with the LG brand.

    I dont know what is Qing Yuan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhleung

      Good to see a post from you again at long last, j! Where do you buy the chickens?

      It can also be spelled Loong Kong, and they're much more flavorful. Here's an old thread about it.

    2. Qing Yuan (清远) is a city in Guangdong. Apparently QingYuan chicken is a prep method. Melanie Wong made a reference to this dish in a post from last year:

      She would know what this is.

      7 Replies
      1. re: PeterL

        Except these chickens labeled Qing Yuan were uncooked. But perhaps intended for a particular prep? Melanie's earlier post mentioned it as a dish she was served in a restaurant but did not discuss Qing Yuan as an uncooked bird. Hey Melanie: help!

        1. re: PeterL

          'QIng Yuan partridge chicken' is a specific breed originating in Guangdong province. 'partridge' doesn't indicate its genetics but its body type. in this country we'd probably call it an heirloom breed. it generally has three colors in its back feathers, yellow, coffee, brown. if it was sold in a French market they'd probably leave the head and neck with feathers intact attached to the whole bird, so its breed and quality would be clearly distinguishable. no doubt they figured out a way to raise this breed here -- the USDA is not likely to encourage poultry products to be imported from China, but you can verify the details from the vendor.

          1. re: moto

            Thanks for the explanation. I'm amazed that PeterL found that older post, as I didn't remember that I'd had the bird!

            I'd love to get my hands on a Qing Yuan partridge chicken to make Judy Rodgers Zuni Cafe roast chicken recipe. Seems like it would be about the right size. I made the chicken this past week using a Mary's air-chilled chicken that was the best bird I could find in Salinas . . . but it doesn't compare to the intensity of flavor of the Chinese breeds.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Air-chilled chicken is supposed to produce a crispier skin, since it wasn't soaked in water. Did you agree for your chicken, Melanie? ;-)

              1. re: vincentlo

                The Zuni recipe calls for letting the chicken air-dry in the refrigerator for two days before roasting. So that step probably accounts for more of the crisp skin than anything. The freshly killed chickens I buy in SF Chinatown aren't soaked in water or sopping in plastic wrap either.


              2. re: Melanie Wong

                Aye, when I go overseas and have the chicken in Hong Kong, it's just a totally different experience. There's a much larger proportion of "dark" meat, and the flavor for lack of a better term is intensely "chickeny" in a way that no western supermarket chicken can replicate just by virtue of its composition. If done steamed or poached, the skin has a certain bounce or crunch to it.

                Roast chicken, eh? That would make it almost like a ja-jee-gai, which can be mighty delicious if done right with those chickens, but more often than not is some dry, overcooked mess that gives it a bad rap as a "risky" dish to order. There was a place that did it with the LK chickens around here, but it's sadly closed now. Here's a shot of what it looked like.

                1. re: Jon914

                  No, the skin of my Zuni recipe chicken was not nearly as crispy as ja ji gai.

                  More on the order of Hakka Restaurant's salt baked chicken, which is made with wong mo gai (huang mao ji).

                  Another chicken raised for the ethnic Chinese market is Vikon (wai hong gai).