Beggar's Chicken is also called Hangzhou Weiji (Weiji means roasted chicken in Chinese). It’s one of 36 Hangzhou Famous Dishes authorized by Zhejiang Province in 1956.
The origin of this dish is unknown, but according to folklore it’s attributed to a beggar. In ancient times a beggar driven by cold and hunger stole a chicken, but he had neither the tools nor the means to cook the chicken. He was quite upset when an idea occurred to him. Without plucking the chicken the beggar wrapped it with mud and straw, and then roasted it in a campfire. When the chicken was ready, it tasted extremely delicious and its extraordinary aroma traveled for miles.
From then on this cooking method has been widely applied and even introduced into restaurants. After constant experiments the original cooking method has developed in to the current one. Cooks carefully select good-quality Yue Chicken which is large, tender, and low-in-fat. Right after the chicken is cleaned and stuffed, it’s wrapped in a lotus leaf covered with the mixture of Shaoxing Wine (a cooking wine in Chinese cuisine), and then mud and roasted for hours. With the refreshing scent of wine and lotus leaf penetrating into the chicken, the chicken smells fabulously appetizing.
Where to eat: Lou Wai Lou, Zhi Wei Guan, Kui Yuan Guan