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Audible | Jianghu (Non-Descript) Cuisine in Chongqing – Chili Chicken

Editor’s Note:  This article is produced in collaboration with the Chongqing Institute of Foreign Studies as part of a series of ongoing reports exploring the city’s abundant resources in intangible cultural heritages.


Chili Chicken.

The Chinese's love for chicken is reflected in a common saying - "no chicken, no banquet" - and in the presentation order of "chicken, duck, fish, and pork," which also proves its extraordinary status.

In Chongqing, locals proudly display their passionate love for chicken. A famous local dish (Jianghu cuisine) created by combining chicken and peppers is chili chicken, meaning deep-fried chicken cubes and red chilies.

When it comes to chili chicken, of course, Chongqing's local cuisine should be talked about first.

Unlike the eight famous cuisines (Lu, Chuan, Yue, Min, Su, Zhe, Xiang, and Hui cuisines), non-descript Jianghu cuisine is distinctively local in flavor and characteristics. Rooted in the folk, it first prospered in food stalls and small restaurants. To cater to the taste of the public, they often cook ordinary materials in an unconventional and experiential way by adding compound seasoning, which is an attempt to strike a wonderful balance in a variety of flavors so that diners will be attracted by this delicacy and then have an unforgettable memory.

Chili chicken has distinct local characteristics as a classic of Chongqing's non-descript cuisine. The dish was first served in a roadside restaurant named Linzhongle and became popular in a small area of Gele Mountain in 1990. Later, the dish's influence was expanded so that some people would take a taxi to try it.

Its name reveals what chili chicken is all about - hot peppers and diced chicken. Amidst red and oily chilies, diners use chopsticks to dig for delicious diced chicken. Hot and spicy, crunchy and soft, salty and tasty, this is a feast for the eyes and appetite.

It is customary to cook chili chicken differently in other places, each with its own characteristics. Generally, chicken is the main ingredient, with chopped green onions, dried chilies, prickly ash, salt, pepper, gourmet powder, and other ingredients as supplements. In addition, its flavor and taste are also affected by the amount of seasoning and heat control.

You can serve the chili chicken to your family or friends at home or in a restaurant. Where there are people eating, drinking, and chatting, whether it is day or night, sunny or rainy, that is what a community and society are about.

This is the charm of cooking chicken in Chongqing. This chili chicken dish brings together people who are able to embrace the power of their hearts and live as they wish.

Chinese script: Yao Jie

Tutored by:  Jing Xi

Translation: Zhu Xianfang

Tutored by:  Jiang Juan, Huang Yan, Hu Wei

Voice-over:  Dong Qiling

Tutored by: Zhang Yidan


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