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Wampee chicken, a sour and sweet taste in Nanji

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In Hainan, when it comes to eating chicken, almost everyone subcon-sciously thinks of Wenchang chicken. As one of the business cards of Hainan, Wenchang Chicken has always enjoyed a good reputation. However, in the Hainan culture where chicken is eaten during the holidays, the delicious chicken is far more than Wenchang Chicken. In the western part of Hainan, there is a dish. With its sweet and sour taste, it has broken your traditional view of eating chicken. This is wampee chicken in Danzhou.

The most famous wampee chicken is the one in Nanji, Danzhou. Wampee chicken in Nanji, also known as “Danzhou breeding chickens”, is a native chicken breed, which are stocked under wampee trees and feed on leaves, roots, flowers and fruits of wampee, together with rice, corn,  peanut cake, grass powder and other raw materials. The chickens raised in such an original and ecological environment naturally taste smooth and tender, excellent in quality and nutrition.

The other main ingredient of wampee chicken is wampee, a fruit abundant in Hainan. Thanks to its sweet and sour taste, it is deeply loved by local people. The therapeutic effect of wampee is also valued. There is a saying that eat lychee when one feels hungry and eat wampee when one feels full. Wampee has the effect of helping produce saliva and slake thirst and digestion. Local people like to decoct leaves of wampee to prevent colds or use roots of wampee to treat emotional depression. The peel and core of wampee are also used as medicines, which are beneficial for reducing swelling and relieving pain.

As the saying goes, “On the mountain one lives by mountain products; near the sea one lives on seafood.” People in Nanji make the best of wampee planted in the front and back of their yards and create a unique local food—Wampee Chicken. It has a history of hundreds of years. Local people have been entertaining guests and friends with it since ancient times. It’s introduced that to produce authentic wampee chicken, cooks must choose chickens that are stocked under wampee trees. So only in Danzhou can one taste this authentic delicacy.

Traditionally, wampee chicken is cooked with firewood and the old stove, so it is time-consuming and laborious. Now it has improved. The pressure cooker has improved the efficiency but the taste remains unchanged.

The production of wampee chicken is relatively simple. Generally, one-kilogram local chickens are chosen. After the chickens are cleaned, its belly is filled with eight flavors such as pueraria powder and lotus root starch, as well as some exclusive mysterious herbal formulas. Put a layer of washed fresh wampee leave in the pot, then place the chicken on it, and evenly drip the salt water on the chicken and put another leave on the chicken. It takes a pressure cooker more than 20 minutes to cook. Finally , a fragrant wampee chicken is ready.

There is a small amount of thick golden chicken juice at the bottom of the pot. It is formed by chicken oil secreted by the high-temperature cooking and the vapor in the pot. It is the essence of nutrition and delicacy. Slice the newly-cooked chicken and put it on a plate, and put two spoonful of essence juice on it. Now the dish is ready, and one can have a taste of a piece of chicken. The faint taste of the leaves of wampee is just right matched with the tender chicken. So there is no greasy feeling. Eating with the chicken juice on the bottom of the plate makes the taste richer.

If you are used to regular chicken, you should come to have a taste of this sweet and sour wampee chicken to give your taste an unexpected trip.

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