Jinfeng Braised Chicken – A Culinary Legacy from 1908

Jinfeng Braised Chicken - A Culinary Legacy from 1908

Jinfeng Braised Chicken, known as “金凤扒鸡” in Chinese, has a storied history that dates back to the year 1908. It is a culinary masterpiece crafted with a unique and time-honored technique that involves coloring and frying the chicken with honey, followed by simmering it in a special herbal soup infused with traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients.

This delectable dish has its origins in the heart of Shijiazhuang’s Daqiao Street, where a devout Hui Muslim couple, Ma Hongchang, and his wife, introduced their culinary creation to the world. They opened a small eatery called Ma’s Chicken Shop, where they specialized in this distinctive dish. Despite the modest size of their establishment, the place was always bustling with eager customers. The aroma of the freshly cooked braised chicken was so enticing that both the interior and exterior of the shop were invariably crowded with patrons. Local residents would wake up early and stand in long queues to get their hands on a succulent piece of chicken, and even travelers visiting Shijiazhuang made sure to take one or two chickens back home as gifts for their friends and family.

Jinfeng Braised Chicken is renowned for its unique combination of spices and herbs, composed of a remarkable blend of eighteen different ingredients. What makes these ingredients truly special is their dual nature—they serve both as aromatic spices and traditional Chinese herbs, each with a distinct medicinal value, as documented in the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, “本草纲目” (Compendium of Materia Medica). “Even though the recipe has evolved over time, the century-old herbal soup remains an integral part of the process. Every day, the broth is meticulously skimmed to remove excess oil and impurities, with fresh ingredients continually added. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, passed down through generations, and even today, only a select few possess the knowledge of its exact composition. A designated specialist is responsible for preparing the ingredients, while others are kept at arm’s length.”

In 1983, the old shop relocated from its original location to Nanma Road, and due to its unique culinary tradition and rich history, it was rebranded as the “Braised Chicken Old Shop.” At this time, the original Daqiao Street Ma’s Chicken and the Yongxin Hui Muslim Chicken merged, combining the strengths of both to form a Hui Muslim Braised Chicken processing factory. In 1984, the trademark for Jinfeng Braised Chicken was officially registered. The name “Jinfeng” symbolizes a phoenix rising from a chicken coop, expressing the hope that this time-honored brand and its traditional products can transcend local boundaries, even national borders, and experience a renaissance on a global stage.

Jinfeng Braised Chicken is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary treasure that has transcended generations, preserving a unique and cherished flavor that stands the test of time. It continues to be a beloved and iconic culinary delight in Shijiazhuang, carrying with it a century of tradition and the essence of Hui Muslim culinary artistry.

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