Salt baked chicken
Salt baked chicken is one of the unique food Perak has to offer. It is a very famous Chinese dish and receive a cult-like status with dozens of shops and businesses rely solely on selling this dish in Ipoh.
In order to prepare the salt baked chicken, an unusual technique of baking the whole chicken in scorching hot coarse salt is used. The chicken beforehand is coated with the aromatic spices and stuffed with some Chinese herbs such as ginger, rice wine, tang kuei (angelica root) and ginseng. It is then wrapped in parchment paper and buried in a wok full of smoking hot coarse salt.
The coarse salt does not impart a hefty saltiness to the meat, instead it retains the heat and cooks the bird evenly just like an oven while locking in all the flavors and bathing the chicken in its own juice. It resulted to a truly succulent chicken.
The fun part is when the wrapping is opened. The herb-scented steam from the chicken will float and fill the air with aromas that make every mouth watered. The best way to enjoy this dish is to use the bare hands to pull the melt in the mouth tender flesh straight of the bones, juice and all. The tenderness of the meat and the sweet taste of the chicken was totally unforgettable.
There is also a halal version of this dish without the rice wine so the Muslim community won’t feel left out in enjoying this delicious meal. Just a search in Google will help to identify places or vendors that offer the halal version of salt baked chicken.
Image by: Charles Haynes