Taiwanese fried chicken

Taiwanese fried chicken

Taiwanese fried chicken
Place of origin Taiwan
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Chicken and condiment
Cookbook: Taiwanese fried chicken  Media: Taiwanese fried chicken

Taiwanese fried chicken (Chinese: 鹹酥雞; pinyin: xiánsūjī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: kiâm-so͘-ke;[1] also 鹽酥雞; yánsūjī; "salty fried chicken"), westernized as popcorn chicken is a dish in Taiwanese cuisine commonly found as street snack and is indispensable to the night markets in Taiwan. It consists of bite-sized pieces of chicken, coated and fried with flour and seasoning mixture. Salt and pepper is the staple condiment, while chili powder and lightly fried basil leaves are added to preference. Since the creation of this dish, it has become a popular fast food in other countries in Asia as well as among Asian immigrant populations overseas.


Taiwanese fried chicken is famous in its diverse forms and texture, breaks through the confine of the other snacks, having a high status in the snack industry. It then rapidly becomes prevalent in the street and night markets.

Despite the fact that the history of fried chicken is not long, it evolves a lot to overcome the competitiveness and so more choices and preferences have been released. In the early stage, the fried chicken is merely added with chili powder to separate into mild, medium spicy and extra spicy three flavors. It varies with the time and uses more other seasonings, such as allspice, seaweed powder, mustard powder etc. for flavoring or pickles it with honey or filling cheese inside.

Apart from using a pot of oil, it uses two pots of oil with high and low temperatures to fry the chickens in order to optimise the texture and taste nowadays. It uses the oil with high temperature to fry the chicken to lock its gravy, followed by the oil with low temperature to make it cooked. Using this method can eliminate the shortcoming of using just a pot of oil, which are either not fully cooked or overcooked leading to losing of the gravy and dry texture. Since frying the chickens with a pot of oil always result of a thick layer of fried flour and thin layer of meet, using the new method can avoid this from happening.

Besides, some sellers use the subcutaneous fat of chickens as oil to fry the chicken, it can make the fried chickens smell good and less greasy. However, the cost of it is high. Therefore, only a few of people will use this method. The famous news recently about the Taiwanese Fried Chicken are Henry Cheng Kar-Shun and the Professor Sung Selling Fried Chicken. It is unpredictable and interesting that they can be well-known because of the fried chicken.

Popularity in Hong Kong

[2]Hong Kong and Taiwan have close ties and people travel a lot between the two places, hence the products have long been well-known among Hong Kong people. This loyalty means that Hong Kong is a big market for Taiwanese food. It is curial to bring to Hong Kong customers the genuine Taiwanese fried chicken, with its high quality of ingredients and services. There are some famous brand selling Taiwanese food in Hong Kong, such as the Hot Star Large Fried Chicken and Ji Guang.[3] In 2016, the Hot Star Lage Fried Chicken has the largest market share of this industry that it has 15 branches. [4]

Traditional preparation

In general, only diced chicken leg or thigh meat is used and is marinated in soy sauce, sugar, garlic spread, rice wine, five-spice powder and spices powder for at least an hour. After marinating, chicken is dipped in beaten egg and then dredged in flour or sweet potato starch. Oil needs to be heated to 180 degrees (C) and when the oil is hot, the chicken can be added. It is fried until the surface color turns soft yellow and then it is ready to serve. Traditionally, after the chicken is fried, more pepper is added before eating.



1. Ready a chicken breast from supermarket or wet market

2. Wash the chicken properly and remove the fat so that the chicken will be more solid when it fried

3. Slice the chicken in pieces and slice in the same size it will be better for display

4. Put these chicken pieces in the marinade for any flavor

5. Put it half an hour or more in your fridge

6. Coat the chicken pieces in flour, then egg, then sweet potato flour, this is to create the crisp outer

7. Put into hot oil, add the pieces of coated chicken, fry until golden brown

8. Put the chicken pieces on a kitchen towel for absorbing extra oil

9. Cut into “fingers shape”or “popcorn shape” depends on your preference


Nowadays, the chicken is prepared similar to the traditional method but it is fried in the different way. The traditional way to fry Taiwanese fried chicken is Oil needs to be heated to 180 degrees (C) and when the oil is hot, the chicken can be added. A huge amount of heat energy is generated.[7][8] However, this cooking style is regarded as not environmentally friendly and wasted a lot of energy. In this modern age, a new technology is invented in order to save more energy.

The chicken is prepared similar to the traditional method but it is fried in the different way. The new vending car was invented by Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology. The military vehicle is an inspiration to the Chung-Shan Institute because it recycled heat emitted to reproduce energy. In this case, it transforms gas into electricity so that it can reduce the waste of gas and oil. In addition, the car can improve Taiwanese air quality as well. This new invention of chicken car costs US 1,700 dollars.

Health concerns

Taiwanese fried chicken is a high fat and high oil salt food. During the cooking process the chicken is deep fried in the oil.[2] Cooking oil tends to break down during the frying process—a chemical transformation that changes the oil’s fatty acid composition, explains study co-author Leah Cahill, a research fellow in nutritional sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. And this will cause long-term illness, including heart disease,high blood pressure etc.

In 2013, some of the Taiwanese fried chicken store is using gutter oil for cooking. And gutter oil has been shown to be very toxic, and can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. There are also reports that long-term consumption of the oil can lead to stomach and liver cancer as well as developmental disabilities in newborns and children. Testing of some samples of gutter oil have revealed traces of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dangerous organic pollutants capable of causing cancer with long-term consumption. There is also potential for gutter oil to contain aflatoxins, highly carcinogenic compounds produced by certain molds. Zeng Jing of the Guangdong Armed Police Hospital said about gutter oil "Animal and vegetable fat in refined waste oil will undergo rancidity, oxidation and decomposition after contamination, and produce toxic substances such as arsenic. It will cause indigestion, insomnia, liver discomfort and other symptoms".[3]

See also


  1. "Entry #13104 (鹹酥雞)". 臺灣閩南語常用詞辭典 [Dictionary of Frequently-Used Taiwan Minnan] (in Chinese and Hokkien). Ministry of Education, R.O.C. 2011.
  2. [9]
  3. [10]


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