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Tastemakers: Poultry Perfectionists David & Richard Lee

"Every single day I have a chicken dish at my table," says Richard Lee, who owns Bo Bo Poultry Market in Brooklyn with his brother, David. These Hong Kong immigrants, who began their business in the '80s with just a few birds, now have a chicken in every pot: Currently, their farms in upstate New York raise over a million fowl (including poussin, squab, quail, duck and, as a Thanksgiving special, turkey) for picky Chinatown home cooks and four-star Manhattan restaurants. Bo Bo also has fans across the country: Chef James Boyce of Mary Elaine's in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that their black chickens "taste totally different from the store-bought kind." (He's also crazy about Bo Bo's foie gras.) Fed only soybeans and corn, the birds roam freely for about 13 weeks--more than twice as long as typical supermarket chickens. The result is a leaner but far more flavorful bird. The Lees sell their chickens with head and feet intact. "Buying fresh chicken is like buying fresh fish: You have to look at the eyes," David says. The chickens are delivered the day they're killed, and they're so fresh, "it's like having a farm in your own backyard," Boyce says (for mail order, call 718-417-0016). 
Published November 2001
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