Fowl Obsession: Xian Huang

0514_RES REVGuangdong is home to a few native specialties that most foreigners only stomach once or twice as novelty. Roast goose’s greasiness and high percentage of saturated fat along with Cantonese barbeque pork, which is basically sugar-covered fat, can punch straight to the waistline. Xian Huang has these two local delicacies, plus something especially palatable to any outsider—roast chicken.

With several branches around town, it’s an ideal place to get a tasty, post workout protein fix. The flagship shop is a bit of a hop out of town in Liaobu near the new Zhong Yiyuan (Dongguan Hospital of TCM), but the countryside vibe makes it fun. A Xian Huang branch, easily identified with ‘.net’ at the end of the Chinese characters, also exists on the popular 13 Bowls Restaurant Street located across from Dynacity Shopping Center.

For patrons of the entire spicy spectrum, going from the hot tofu to the cool-bland of boiled bok choy, there are all sorts of Cantonese and fusion creations adorning the English-in-absentia, pictorial menu. It’s best to stick to the roast chicken and a few veggie complements as some of the dishes have heaps of salt and MSG.

Ordering two chickens can feed five to seven people without shame of gluttony. It’s roasted until the skin is brown and crispy, but the meat doesn’t become overly dry. As with many Chinese restaurants, there doesn’t seem to be much consistency with food prep, as dinner can sometimes be fantastic while other times falling into the mediocre. This can make choosing to go to such restaurants a difficult call.

Price-wise Xian Huang isn’t the best choice for those aiming at lunch or dinner on the ultra-cheap. One roast chicken goes for about RMB 68 and easily feeds three. The other dishes, including vegetables, are in the 30’s. Fish fetches ridiculous prices, but to be fair, the portions are quite large.

The menu at the flagship shop touts that all the ingredients are natural, green foods grown by local farmers around Guangdong. But who knows? Trusting the organic food classification rests on the trustworthiness of a sticker easily acquired in bulk from any printing factory.