Is PRD's Hainan half chicken the same as "white cut chicken"?

Friends -

First, please forgive me if this is an ignorant question. I didn’t discover “white cut chicken” (I’ve seen it called “bai qie ji”) until relatively late in life. While I don’t want to re-ignite the debate in another thread about the virtues of Hainan chicken, I just know I love white cut chicken, when it’s done well, because I love getting that real chicken taste in the meat - and I’m amazed at how much flavor seems to be infused into the meat merely by poaching. Also, I find the ginger scallion sauce to be a deceptively simple wonderful sauce for it.

I’m wondering if there’s much difference between PRD’s half chicken and the white cut chicken I’ve gotten at places like Capital Seafood. I prefer to order a half chicken rather than the typical portion of Hainan chicken, because I can get more dark meat and those different chewy bits, like the wingette and the wing tip of the wings, or that nice little fat pad that’s located near the top of a drum stick. Hearing the praises sung of PRD’s chicken, I thought I’d find out if the half chicken is prepared pretty much the same as a half white cut chicken, or is it different in some way.

Thanks in advance!

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I believe that they are somewhat similar, I say this with the caveat that I’m far from an expert.

I believe the major differences are that white cut chicken is just basically poached chicken, while hainan chicken is poached and then iced to create a gelatinous texture between the meat and skin. Secondly hainan is served with chicken/aromatic flavored rices and a sweet soy/hot sauce along with ginger scallion and sometimes soup while white cut chicken is usually just ginger scallion sauce. Also one is from Singapore and the other is Cantonese.


The primary difference in cooking is the broth they’re poached in. White cut chicken is typically poached in salted water where as Hainan chicken’s broth is spiced. Both styles require icing to stop the chicken from cooking any further, gelatinizes liquid between skin and meat, and to tighten :chicken: skin to create a pleasant and bouncy chew.

@hungryhungryhippos already hit on some of the difference in sauce and rice as garnish for Hainan chimken. I do wanna add that white cut chicken is also likely to be served with a red :hot_pepper: infused soy sauce along with ginger scallion.

The last difference between the two styles lie in choice of chicken breed.


Everyone’s covered the technicals below. But like you, I love white cut chicken for the same reason you do, down to the chewy bits you described, lol. For me, the HCR rice portion is more of an afterthought and it’s all about the chicken and ginger-scallion sauce although I do love that spicy sauce as well that comes with HCR.


I did not know white cut chicken was iced! Aside from sui mei spots I guess the only people I’ve seen cook it is my family members and they seem to skip this step. Good to know!


I don’t believe he speaks to the difference between white cut chicken and Hainan chicken specifically but @JLee was in this cool short about white cut chicken. He may have mentioned the distinction(s) for Hainan chicken in this demo for soy sauce chicken here but that was a few years back so I can’t remember.


First thanks all for the great information here. I’d love to hear if there’s any restaurant or takeout place that does white cut chicken really well. Also, do you tend to find white cut chicken at places that are primarily Cantonese “roasted meat” takeout places?

Thank you so much - these videos are really informative. Also I’m really humbled that @JLee of PRD is on this board. I hate to sound like a star-struck fan, but the food is so yummy, high quality, and frequently inventive. Although it would be interesting to see how much extra those of us who prefer dark meat-only Hainan chicken would be willing to pay to get that at PRD :grinning:.

And I should have clarified that my preference has nothing to do with the quality of the white meat Hainan chicken pieces at PRD - they are indeed very moist and tasty. I just like dark meat a bit better.

Is that Canto place upstairs in the Far East Plaza still there? They do a really good white cut chicken if I can recall

Fortune Gourmet is blessedly unchanged. Still an old school Canto place catering to the traditional crowd. Best slippery shrimp in Chinatown. #MuchBetterThanYangChowFWIW