Bang Bang Chicken
Chengdu: City of Gastronomy #14
棒棒鸡 -- Bàng Bàng Jī
Sichuan’s most tender chicken in an incredibly flavorful spicy sauce.
Bang bang chicken AKA Bon bon chicken is tender slices or shreds of boiled and beaten chicken in a spicy Sichuan oil sauce. The tenderness of the chicken is fantastic, but the flavors of the sauce is really the highlight. It’s served cold, and often eaten as a snack or appetizer, but it totally works as a main course meat dish.
The preparation method involves beating the meat to tenderize it. That’s where the name comes from. Bang bang, while it makes sense in English as well, in Chinese a stick is often called a ‘bang bang’.
The sauce is very Sichuanese in that it has the popular chili oil as one of its main ingredients. It will also probably contain some rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. It’s the combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour that makes me really happy while eating bang bang chicken.
Where to try Shui Zhu Fish in Chengdu
You’ll find bang bang chicken in restaurants -- both upscale and not-so-nice restaurants, but most people order it from a stand -- specifically Liao’s Bon Bon Chicken, a popular Chengdu establishment with a ton of locations across the city. To me, this is Chengdu fast-food. They charge by weight. Everything is pre-cooked and just needs to be scooped into a take-out container, paid for, and you’re on your way. On their menu, bang bang chicken is called Liào jì bàng bàng jī (廖记棒棒鸡).
For EVERY DISH featured in the Chengdu: City of Gastronomy Series, you can find my favorite Chengdu place to eat it in my Sichuan Food Guide. The guide has 70 dishes and plenty of food to keep you full while visiting Chengdu, one of the best food cities in the world.