My Binondo Chicken


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No, this is not an ode to ABS CBN’s Binondo Girl. But this recipe will remind you of those roasted chicken in Chinatown. I remember as a child, we would buy roasted chicken, packed in a box. I also remember row upon row of them skewered on a pole, that keeps on rotating in a glass covered, upright roaster. When they turn brown, skin crispy and blistered with heat–you can just smell the heavenly, heavenly aroma.

I was told my sister,who was then in grade school could finish a whole chicken by herself! I venture to guess, if it were that good-I can too. My 2 sons and husband can split a regular size chicken between themselves.

I learned the basic recipe from an authentic Chinese Chef who so generously shared it. Then, I caught late in the evening one of those food shows at the Asian Food Channel where the hosts go from hawker stall to hawker stall. One owner showed how the roasted chicken and duck were done. This recipe is a combination of both.

There are a couple of extra steps BUT the result is beautiful and delicious! Like what you get from Binondo (Chinatown)

I told my husband, I will next find a duck, or pato at the wet market and attempt to make Peking Duck…or rather Pekeng Duck. Abangan!


  • 1 whole chicken, about 1.2 to 1.4 kilos
  • Dry Rub: 1 T of each: salt, sugar, five-spice powder or ngo hiang powder (
  • “Bathing Mixture””: 5 cups water, 1 T brown sugar, 1 T dark soy and 2 T hoisin sauce

Mix the dry rub in a bowl rub this all over the chicken, inside the cavity and under the skin, to make even the chicken breast and thigh flavorful. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

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In a pot, bring the bathing mixture to a boil. Lift the dressed chicken by the neck, and using a ladle–”Bath” the chicken with the boiling mixture. Or in a big bowl which can fit the chicken, slowly pour the boiling mixture and lift it out right away from the neck. We want to keep the skin whole and not ripped. Then, insert a bottle or jar inside the cavity and let it stand, making it appear that the chicken is seated) After 15 minutes, repeat the process and let the chicken sit until skin is dry. About 30 minutes. Then bake it or roast in turbo broiler.

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TIP: These 2 steps makes the skin “tight” which will result in crispier skin and a beautiful, reddish-brown color when cooked.

Gravy: Use the drippings and mix with about 2 cups of the bathing mixture, thicken with cornstarch to make a flavorful gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately while the skin is still crispy.

Serve with hot steaming rice. And if you’re in the mood, seafood pancit canton.


© 2012, Kitchen Kitchie Koo. All rights reserved.