In light of Shanghai’s rising H7N9 death toll, which hit 13 yesterday, Shanghaiers are shunning white-cut chicken (白切鸡, báiqiējī), a popular cold dish at Xiao Shaoxing Restaurant that’s traditionally served red at the bone. Xiao Shaoxing’s white-cut chicken sales have dipped sixfold since the start of the outbreak. Bloomberg reports:
Sales of white-cut chicken at the seven-decade old eatery have dropped to about 100 servings a day from as many as 600 before the outbreak, according to deputy General Manager Chen Zhiqiang, who said that in his 30 years at the restaurant he’s never seen demand fall as much.
But is this response legitimate or are Shanghaiers simply “chickening” out? Studies show that though the virus replicates in the gut, it’s likely absent from the blood – however, little is known about the virus’ pathology at this time. A few white-cut chicken die-hards won’t be deterred either way. Says one Xiao Shaoxing frequenter, “my daughter says I am committing suicide, but I really enjoy a dinner of chicken and rice wine and I won’t be giving it up easily.” Give me white-cut chicken or give me death!
To play it on the safe side, we advise only eating poultry and eggs that have been boiled to 70 degrees Celsius to kill all pathogens (the one instance where “cooked to death” carries a positive connotation).
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].