The name of this dish is Salt Baked Chicken, a direct translation of the Chinese, Jim Guk Gai (鹽焗雞). This is not the traditional way to make this dish, which is to completely cover a whole chicken with a large amount of stir-fried salt then bake it.
Instead, this recipe is an alternate and simpler method of preparing the classic dish. It's called the East River Salt Baked Chicken. According to my dad, it comes from the East River restaurant in Guangzhou.
There are only a few restaurants that specialize in making it at scale. They cater to outside visitors and they changed its cooking process to this method that we are using.
Is one tastier than the other or does it taste the same? According to my dad, each one has its strengths. This recipe is juicier. The one that is baked in a layer of salt is drier but is more fragrant.
This recipe is all about the sauce and results in a tender perfectly cooked chicken with a smoky salty flavor, which you can pull apart by hand.
Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!