The Unorthodox Epicure — Tung An Chicken Skewers

The history of Tung An Chicken is about as cloudy as most other dishes served in American-based Chinese joints. Truth is, its title is something that was probably lost in translation. Tung is more commonly used in the Vietnamese language, though China is home to the Tung tree (it’s where we get Tung oil for finishing wood furniture).

So, what about Tung An Chicken?

Well, we know that its of Hunanese origin and that it’s occasionally called Dong’an Chicken. Dong’an just happens to be a county in Hunan, Republic of China. Did the dish originate there? Who knows. But it’s a lot more believable than the legend of General Tso.

Tung An Chicken is a nice combination of spicy-salty and slightly tangy. The authentic version is twice cooked — first parboiled with a handful of herbs and spices, then quickly stewed with peppers and onions. It’s overkill, really. Especially if you choose to use white meat.

Tung An Chicken Skewers

Tung An Chicken Skewers — Spicy. Salty. Tangy. Simple.

Tung An Chicken Skewers — Spicy. Salty. Tangy. Simple.

1 lb – Boneless chicken, trimmed of fat and cut into 1” cubes (white or dark meat)

4 – Green onions, chopped
1 inch – Ginger nub, chopped finely
1 cup – Vegetable stock
3 TB – Sherry
1 TB – Dark soy sauce
1 TB – Sambal Oelek, or other chile paste

5-6 Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
Toasted sesame oil, for finishing

Combine all marinade ingredients; Place chicken in zip-close plastic bag and pour all but about 1/2 cup of over chicken, reserving the leftover marinade for later. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Divide chicken pieces into 5-6 servings, then thread each serving onto bamboo skewer. Over medium-high grill (or 350F griddle), cook skewers for 3-4 minutes per side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Cover cooked chicken skewers and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Douse with toasted sesame oil and enjoy.

Want to receive notifications of my Confessions, Chronicles and recipes in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+.


  1. I like the skewed twist you put on on this “authentic” dish.

  2. Thinking we must have this for supper this week.

  3. Chicken, full of salty, spicy flavor AND on a stick. I think this is a winner for me!

  4. Spicy/Salty is my JAM! Loving everything about this chicken :)

  5. The salty spicy flavor combo is the best! LOVE this recipe, Adam!

  6. AMAZING! If only I could make it. Or, should I say: Make it as well as you.

  7. Its been a long time since I’ve tunged a chicken. Your post makes my mind a wander, however. Lookin’ delish!

  8. Such a fabulous looking dish! But everything you post makes my mouth water!

  9. Well if you can’t get to the bottom of the name of this meal then why don’t we just call it Adam’s really good chicken that I would love to have for dinner tonight and some leftovers for lunch? Ok, the name’s a little long…I’ll work on it.

  10. I don’t make a lot of Vietnamese food because so many of the recipes seem difficult. This looks easy enough!

Speak Your Mind