Drunken Chicken in Shaoxing Wine | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Drunken Chicken in Shaoxing Wine

Drunken Chicken in Chinese Shaoxing Wine

Enjoying this cold dish always make me feel like I’m eating in a decent Shanghainese restaurants. I can’t properly explain why, perhaps because I believe this should be one of their signature dishes. Pale-looking though, I must say it does not give much hints about the taste.

Shaoxing wine is one of the most famous varieties of Chinese yellow wine fermented from rice. It originates from the region of Shaoxing, in the Zhejiang province adjacent to Shanghai. Yet, there are several types of Shaoxing wine. If you are looking one for preparing this recipe, I would recommend you to pick the Shaoxing Hua Diao which is said to be the best for making drunken chicken.

On Chinese menu, therefore this dish is often referred as Hua Diao Wine Chicken 花雕醉雞.

Chinese Shaoxing Wine

It takes a few simple steps. Get the chicken cooked then cooled, prepare a sauce and put the two together are all the tasks in brief. An effortless step I should also mention is that the chicken being steeped in the sauce has to be stored in fridge for at least four to five hours, preferably overnight, before serving. Then, you will be promised with a meaty and refreshing chilled dish, be it served directly from a bottle or on a plate.

Drunken Chicken in Chinese Shaoxing Wine

I believe there are quite a number of ways to get the chicken wings cooked. The one with me here requires some patience but is worth doing because it helps get rid of the frozen smells while having the chicken JUST cooked.

Blanching Chicken Wings

After the chicken wings are blanched in hot water and rest enough in it, I plunge them in ice water like making hand-pulled chicken. So doing, the chicken skin will remain tender but no ruptures; the meat will become firm but not rough.

Chicken Wings Taking Cold Bath

  • Ingredients
  • 8 medium sized chicken wings
  • 1 tsp wolfberries (goji berries), steep in water for 5 minutes and drain dry
  • 1/3 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp salt, for marinading chicken wings
  • 2 cups ice water plus some ice
  • For boiling chicken
  • 2 sprigs spring onions
  • 3-4 slices ginger
  • 1.5 liters water


Thaw (if required), wash and drain dry chicken wings. Then marinade them with salt for about half an hour.

In a pot, add chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, salt, wolfberries and bring to a simmer. Stir to make sure sugar and salt are dissolved, and remove from heat. Let cool, add wine and mix well. Sample taste, it will be fine if you find it somewhat saltier than a soup. But, add more wine to your liking.

Slightly crush the ginger slices and spring onions and put them into a pot with 1.5 liters water. Bring water to the boil.

Drop chicken wings into the boiling water and cover. Wait till the water boils up again when water bubbles grow really up to the top. With lid covered, turn flame to the lowest and keep boiling for another one minute. Then turn off heat. DO NOT open lid; but allow the chicken wings to sit in the hot water for 30 minutes (take a break, or continue surfing around).

Have the ice water and ice ready. Remove (and strain) chicken wings from the pot of hot water and submerge them in it for a couple of minutes or till they are cool.

Drain dry chicken wings from the ice water. Have them contained in a bottle or jar and fully submerged in the cool sauce. Chill in fridge overnight before serving.


Drunken Chicken in Chinese Shaoxing Wine

If your pot cannot be seen through, just rest the lid ajar so that you may peep to check out when water boils and bubbles.

Make sure the level of sauce containing in the bottle, or in your selected container, will fully drown the chicken wings. And the container is wrapped or covered in fridge.

For added flavors, consider adding a spoonful of peppercorns into the sauce. Wolfberries do not add much flavors to this dish but they are good for garnishing.

A brief note about Hua Diao 花雕
The Shaoxing Hua Diao I bought is contained in a glass bottle. In earlier days of China, wines were often bottled in pottery. It was said that the pottery jar used for containing Hua Diao has a flowery carved decorator on it. Thus the name.

Drunken Chinese Shaoxing Hua Diao Wine

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  1. tigerfish

    When I was in Shanghai recently, I went totally crazy with this dish. It was so good! Maybe I was lucky to have patronize the right eatery featuring authentic Shanghai cuisine. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    great flavours! one of my fav ways of prepping (and eating) chicken!

  3. Lori

    This has to have such amazing flavor. I bet those pottery jars with the wine are beautiful!

  4. TasteHongKong

    Let me find the answer in museums : ).

  5. Juliana

    Oh! I haven’t had this chicken like forever…love the recipe and have to try to make it. The texture of this chicken wings are so yummie. Great pictures as usual…hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

  6. penny aka jeroxie

    I always wanted to try and make this. This is one of my favourite old dish in a chinese restaurant.

  7. mycookinghut

    I have never tried making this dish! Looks really good, I am sure the flavour is amazing!

  8. pigpigscorner

    I made this once and loved it! I have to try your recipe with fish sauce next!

  9. Mei Teng

    My family uses shaoxing wine in their cooking too. I am familiar with the drunken prawn dish but not chicken though.

  10. Cooking gallery

    What a classic! I love eating this with rice :)!

  11. Life for Beginners

    Sadly I’ve only eaten this at Chinese restaurants, usually a pricier dish depending on where I dine… Yet you’ve made it look so simple to cook at home here. Must try! 😀

  12. noobcook

    I’m going to try out this recipe… always love food cooked in Chinese wine. Your chicken looks juicy 🙂

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  15. HX

    are the measurements for the sauce correct? the one i made was too salty to be eaten.

  16. TasteHongKong

    Yes, my mistake! It should be 1/4 cup. I’m sorry that my proof-reading didn’t work out for this post, please accept my apology. Thank you for writing to clarify.
    It is now corrected, and allow me to be a bit repetitive, ‘Sample taste, it will be … somewhat saltier than a soup …’, cause the saltiness of fish sauce and chicken may differ.

  17. HX

    Yup i tasted it before proceeding further. Thanks so much for the clarification!

  18. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for writing to correct! I really appreciate it. Recently, I shared some of my drunken chicken with one of my neighbors, and the young lady kindly reverted that she liked the taste (I tended to believe so). Hope you would soon enjoy too, with the right measurements (or to your liking)!
    Welcome to drop by any time and I shall be happy to hear from you again.

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  20. Sally

    Hi there! I’ve tried out your recipe and it turned out really well! I just want to thank you for sharing this great recipe! 🙂

  21. TasteHongKong

    Glad to hear that this turned out well for you, and I appreciate your feedback.

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  23. kelly

    Hi I tried your recipe and can I suggest – instead of wasting the great stock you get from boiling the wings, save them and steam yr white rice with it. Add some ginger, pandan leaves and you get amazing fragrant chicken rice like those in Singapore!

  24. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for your suggestion. I had discarded the water because the chicken wings I used were frozen type, and were not scalded before boiling.

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  26. Grace

    Hello! I always loved this dish at restaurants and decided to give it a try to make myself. When I was making the marinade, I got complaints from my daughter about the fish sauce smelling “funky” and I wasn’t sure it would work out well … especially since I didn’t detect fish sauce in restaurant Drunken Chicken?! But it turned out just wonderful, all the flavours blend so well together … the fish sauce does not jump out at you at all … it just tastes good. Thank you so much for this restaurant worthy, flavorful yet simple recipe!!

  27. TasteHongKong

    I also thank you for your feedback, and happy to hear your success.