There's a small counter inside where you'll see a list of chicken or duck options, eggs too. The free-range chicken is listed on the menu as "brown chicken." My youngest uncle said something about how the literal Chinese characters say brown chicken so that's why it's called that. It's a flat $10.50 for the free-range, no antibiotics, no hormones, USDA-approved bird. Not cheap. But if you want very fresh free-range chicken, you gotta pay for it. No growth hormones or anything added. Vietnamese call these chickens ga di bo because all that walking keeps it lean.
The big chicken below on the right is the average American plump breasted bird. Sold by the pound so it was $11.44.
Ideally, the chicken should be slightly warm, or at the least, not chilled. That means it was freshly killed and hadn't been refrigerated. Don't worry, you won't see any of that icky stuff when you purchase it at the counter.
Purchasing it was rather anti-climatic actually. Just a very clean, white counter. No offensive scenes of slaughter. No overwhelming smells. That's the purchasing area anyway. I take no responsibility if you decide to stick your nose in the behind-the-scenes area. My youngest aunt's husband usually makes the Hainanese chicken rice in her family.
A free-range chicken results in firm but tender meat, with just a bit of chew. Properly prepared Hainanese chicken should never be mushy. Oh, yeah, and sorry, my cousins keep insisting I not pass out the family recipe. :P
Chopped up, the free-range chicken filled up the plate in front. The plump-breasted bird filled the two plates in the back. As you can see, lots of white breast meat.
The resulting broth from cooking the chickens got made into soup, and of course, the famous chicken rice in the upper left corner. Serve with huge bowls of Nuoc Mam Gung (Vietnamese Ginger Fish Sauce), both spicy and not so spicy versions.
The Ca Bong Lau Nuong voi Mo Hanh (Vietnamese Roasted Catfish with Scallion Oil) in the middle? That was my contribution. My dad had caught the catfish the day before. My mom cleaned and gutted it. And my dad brought it down from Oregon for me to cook.
He caught a whole bunch of trout too. And suggested I prepare them with a nice tomato sauce. But that's another recipe for another day.
Chinese American Live Poultry
8932 E. Garvey Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
1 year ago today, my first cooking video - how to make homemade frozen yogurt without an ice cream machine.