Boiled Chicken - A Simple yet Unique Taste of Vietnamese food

Chicken in Vietnamese’s life

Boiled chicken - a very popular food in Vietnam, especially during Tet Holiday!

Living in a culture of wet rice civilization, Vietnamese has a deep connection with nature and to them, besides the buffalo, chicken is one of the six most familiar animals (including: chicken, pig, goat, buffalo, and horse).

Chicken was domesticated a long time ago and has occupied an important role in Vietnamese life, we can see it through:

The custom of telling fortune by chicken feet

Vietnamese believe that feet of the chosen cock (the one offered to Gods at New Year Eve) will let them know about the coming year of each generation in the family.

It requires an old and experienced person to read the message from a pair of cock’s feet, but in general, nice yellow feet with clustered claws are good. As according to ancient people’s explanation, “chicken use 3 claws to dig land to find food, 4 claws to fight against enemies. When a chicken clusters its claws, it shows the voluntary dedication”.


Chicken feet which inform good signs will be hung on the kitchen’s roof till the next New Year Eve, in the hope to bring about good luck for the family in the new year.

The Vietnamese perception of chicken


Chicken brings many values such as rich-nutrient food, natural clock (Vietnamese farmers wake up as the chicken starts their dawn song) or in spiritual life, chicken or more precisely cocks symbolize for the divine relationship because they feature for 5 virtues of:

- Knowledge (Văn): cock’ crest looks like ancient civil mandarin’s hat.

- Martial art (Vũ): cock’s spurs and beaks are used as powerful weapons in fighting.

- Bravery (Dũng): cocks protect hens and chicks.

- Care (Nhân): a cock can combine with many hens.

- Prestige (Tín): cock always crows on time, whether it is sunny or rainy.

The above aspects contributes to an indispensable role of the chicken in Vietnamese daily life.

Chicken for Tet

During Tet, boiled castrated cock is essential – it is often considered a symbol of purity and best offering to ancestors.


Cocks using for Tet need to meet the strict demands such as: crests must be bright red, feather is smooth, and legs are small – signs of a strong cock. After being boiled, the cock holding a rose in its beaks will be respectfully displayed on the family’s altar. In some families, people trim a carrot into a flower to replace the rose, whether it is a rose or a trimmed carrot, it shows the Vietnamese’s yin-yang concept, as the flower demonstrates the yin (female).

How to make boiled chicken:


  • 1 chicken
  • 1 dried lime peels
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger


  • Wash the chicken with salt and water, let it dry.
  • Add 3 liters water, ginger, salt and the chicken into a pot, boil in 30 minute.
  • Dust the chicken with chopped lemon leaves.

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02:09 Sunday, July 21, 2024 (GMT+7)
Time in Vietnam

Public Holidays 2024

New Year's Day Mon, Jan 01
Vietnamese New Year's Eve Fri, Feb 09
Lunar New Year (Tết) Sat, Feb 10
Hùng Kings' Festival Thu, Apr 18
Reunification Day Tue, Apr 30
Labour Day Wed, May 01
Independence Day of Vietnam Mon, Sep 02

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