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  • Writer's picturelafoodiepanda

Thanksgiving Baked Chicken: RiceBox's Beggar's Chicken

Ricebox, 541 South Spring Street, Unit 131, Los Angeles, California 90013

Telephone: 213-988-7395; Website:

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 11:00am - 8:30pm; Saturdays, 11:00am - 3:30pm; Closed Sundays. Hours may vary during major holidays and the eves of major holidays.

To Order the Thanksgiving Baked Chicken:

Chef Leo Lee and Lydia Lee, husband and wife team, opened up RiceBox 2 years ago. Chef Leo was born in Mexicali (which had one of Mexico's largest Chinatowns) where he grew up in the restaurant industry (his dad ran a Chinese restaurant there). He was influenced by his grandmother's cooking. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and eventually ended up working for Joachim Spinchal's Patina Restaurant Group.

Now, he and his wife run RiceBox, selling their vision of Cantonese deli dishes such as Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork) and Roast Duck. Now, they came up with their version of Beggar's Chicken for Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, this Hangzhou specialty, Beggars Chicken, which is a whole chicken that is stuffed with ingredients, then wrapped in lotus leaves before it is, traditionally, encased in clay and then baked underground. It is baked underground for a few hours before it's removed. The clay encasing is then cracked open, and the lotus leaf wrap is cut open. The backbones of the chicken is then removed before it is served. I learned about Jiang Nan Spring serving this dish from a write up in EaterLA just over a year ago and ate there with friends earlier this month.

Until RiceBox's special order item, Thanksgiving Baked Chicken (which is their spin on Beggar's Chicken), Jiang Nan Spring was the only place I knew where you can order this dish. The description of Ricebox's version sounded very appetizing, especially the part where the chicken was deboned and that it was stuffed with dried scallops and abalone.

Preparation of the chicken is very easy. Your order comes with an egg, a brush and a meat thermometer to help with the preparation. Once it's done, take it out of the oven, cut into the crust all the way around just underneath the top layer. Then you can flip open the top layer and pull the lotus leaf wrapped chicken out. Remove strings, open up the lotus leaves to expose the chicken, and voila...

Cut open the chicken, and you'll see all that goodness that was stuffed into the chicken along with the sticky (glutenous) rice: dried scallops, abalone, shitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, chestnuts and salted duck egg, Included with the chicken is their housemade Ginger Sauce (their play on Ginger Scallion Oil mix) and Soy Sauce Reduction. Both sauces are delicious and compliments the chicken easily. But since the chicken was already brined for hours (I taste shaoxing wine in the brine), that the meat was tender and very flavorful, and could be eaten with the sauces. The filing was moist and tender as well. I would recommend that you slice the abalone into slivers so that you can have some with every bite.

Overall, my family and I loved it. We loved it so much that we went ahead and ordered one for Christmas.

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