China's 'Mouthwatering Chicken' Dish That's Always Served Cold

Countless dishes have Chinese origins, but some of the most popular start and end with chicken. One beloved type is Kung Poa chicken, which became a staple thanks to government official Ding Baozhen (via Frayed Passport). The exact origin is up for debate; one belief is that Baozhen was served the chicken by a family of good Samaritans that rescued him from drowning as a child. Years later, he visited the family and enjoyed the dish so much that he introduced it to the world. The second story is a bit simpler. Basically, the Baozhen family invented the dish themselves, and when visitors came over for dinner, it received such great reviews that Baozhen sought to popularize it. According to The Windchimes, the traditional dish is made with chili peppers, chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and Sichuan peppercorns in the aptly named Sichuan province.

Another popular Chinese chicken dish is Szechuan Chicken, which hails from the country's southwestern region. This zesty white-cut chicken is flavored with Szechuan sauce and often paired with garlic and chili peppers, which helps to moisten the meat. It can also be spiced in a variety of ways or served alongside noodles, rice, or lettuce. If you're a fan of Americanized Chinese restaurants, you're probably familiar with General Tso chicken and orange chicken. These varieties didn't actually originate from the Asian country. A lesser-known type did though, which you'll likely want to try after you learn about it.

It's topped with spicy herb chili

If you haven't heard of it, TikTok thinks it's time. The dish is called Kou Shui Ji, which is sometimes nicknamed "mouthwatering chicken." Not long ago, @Bonappetitmag shared a video of the dish being prepared at New York City's Silver Apricot. Unlike most chicken recipes, it's served cold, but the restaurant worker in the video promised it had the potential to "sell you on cold chicken." The chef, who was born in the Sichuan region of China, prepared the dish by fully covering the chicken with spicy herb chili crisp and adding light herb relish.

As admitted by the video's narrator, the recipe was a bit Americanized. It usually contains sesame seeds, toasted relish, and green onion. It's often topped with peanuts, which are present in many Chinese dishes as a symbol of longevity and usually served on Lunar New year to bring wealth. Interestingly, the chicken is often dipped in iced water to add firmness before dressing it. The herb chili sauce is made with chili oil, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.