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Soy Sauce Chicken (Beggars Chicken)

Posted in: Dinner, Anniversary, Harvest, Chicken, Fall, Winter,


Fu Guai Gai, or “Beggar’s Chicken” gets its name from an ancient legend. According to myth, there was once an old, poor homeless man roaming the streets. One day, he saw a chicken, and because he was so hungry, he caught and killed it. He coated the chicken in mud, built a fire and roasted the chicken. The chicken smelled so good that even the Emperor followed his nose to the source of the delicious aroma wafting through the streets. The emperor saw the homeless man and asked, “What do you call this chicken? How is it made?” The only reply the homeless man would give was, “It’s called ‘Beggar’s Chicken.’”

            Jim Bailey,  “The Yankee Chef,” makes a “Beggar’s Chicken” that is almost as easy as the original. Instead of mud, coat the chicken in a marinade of soy sauce, green onions, ginger, sugar and five-spice powder, wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The results are as delicious and fragrant as the legend promises. 


Soy Sauce Chicken (Beggars Chicken)

2 ¼ pound whole chicken

3 green onions

I cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)

1 teaspoon five-spice powder (or to taste)

1 teaspoon ginger (or to taste)


1. Pour soy sauce into a bowl. Set aside.

2. After cutting off both tips, mince green onions.

3. Add onions, ginger, sugar and five-spice powder to soy sauce. Whisk until spices and sugar have dissolved.

4. Lay 18 inch by 20 inch or cross two pieces of 12 inch wide tin foil on baking sheet.

5. Put chicken in the middle of baking sheet and rub with vegetable oil. Do not rub the bottom.

6. Rub ¼ of the soy sauce mixture on the chicken.

7. Pour the remaining marinade inside the cavity of the chicken.

8. Fold in the pygostyle (known colloquially as the Pope’s Nose, Parson’s Nose, Sultan’s Nose, or, quite frankly, the butt) of the chicken.

9. Wrap chicken in tin foil tightly.

10. Bake at 425F for 40 to 45 minutes. Cook chicken larger than 2 ¼ pounds longer.

About The Cook

Jim Bailey Jim Bailey, The Yankee Chef, is a third generation New England chef and Food Historian. Being a chef for over 25 years, his first cookbook, in a series, entitled The Yankee Chef came out this year. H

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