Zui Ji (Drunken Chicken)

This classic Shanghainese banquet dish is traditionally served at the new year to represent togetherness and rebirth. To "intoxicate" the chicken, it's marinated in rice wine for up to 5 days, so this is a great dish to make ahead. The final flavor will be pungent and alcohol-forward, so choose a high-quality Shaoxing wine.

Drunken Chicken
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
1 day
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins


  • 1 3-pound whole chicken

  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed

  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) Shaoxing wine (preferably Pagoda brand)

  • Fresh chives (both stems and flowers)


  1. Place chicken and ginger in a large pot, and add water to cover. Bring to a simmer over high. Cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken breast registers 155°F, 20 to 25 minutes. To help maintain a gentle simmer as chicken cooks, reposition pot over stovetop burner so that the heat source only partially touches bottom of the pot. Remove from heat. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let cool 15 minutes. Reserve 2 cups cooking water.

  2. Using a cleaver, chop chicken Chinese-style into bite-sized pieces. Place chicken pieces in a medium bowl, and sprinkle evenly with salt.

  3. Stir together wine and reserved 1 cup cooking water in a small bowl, and pour over chicken pieces. Gently stir to coat, being careful not to disturb chicken skin. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill at least 1 day or up to 5 days.

  4. When you are ready to serve, remove chicken pieces from marinade, and transfer to a platter; discard marinade. Cut chive stems and flowers over chicken to garnish.

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