Chicken in Chinese 🐔 Types, Foods, Insults You Never Knew!

Chickens in Mandarin: Types, Foods, Insults, and More 🍗

Chicken in Chinese? You’re really scraping the barrel with your content aren’t you LTL?

Talking Chicken’s in Chinese is rather odd, but hear us out because there is a lot more to learn than you might expect!

How did this topic come about though – well we discover there is a thing called WORLD CHICKEN DAY! Yes seriously, it’s a thing.

When is World Chicken Day though?

World Chicken Day takes place on the 2nd Thursday of October every year, one day before World Egg Day!

Yes indeed, the chicken did indeed come before the egg after all!
Chicken in Chinese - The 3 Types

Anyway, Chicken: a delicious meal, the 10th Chinese zodiac, and a lighthearted insult in Chinese culture. It’s versatility at its finest.

It’s an integral part of pretty much any and every cuisine (here’s a funny video on a brief history of the chicken), so this is a complete guide of everything chicken related in Chinese.

If we missed anything, let us know with a comment below!

The Many Different Types of Chicken

Parts of a Chicken

Popular Western Chicken Dishes

Chicken in Chinese Cuisine

Words Related to Chickens

Chicken-Related Restaurants

Proverbs & Sayings Related to Chickens

Insults Related to Chickens

Chicken in Chinese — FAQs

The Many Different Types of Chicken

OK so we know about the chicken but it’d be rude of us to ignore the friends of the chicken… here are some of them below.

Type of ChickenChinese TranslationChinese Pinyin
Chicken
Rooster公鸡gōngjī
Hen母鸡mǔjī
Chick鸡仔jīzǐ
Egg-laying chicken蛋鸡dàn jī
Broiler chicken肉食鸡ròushí jī
Free-range chicken土鸡tǔjī
Black chicken乌鸡wūjī

Parts of a Chicken

We’ve already covered the human body parts in Chinese… now time to cover the chicken!

Part of ChickenChinese TranslationChinese Pinyin
Comb鸡冠jīguān
Beak鸡喙jī huì
Head鸡头jī tóu
Wing鸡翅膀jī chìbǎng
Legs or Thighs (drumsticks)鸡腿jītuǐ
Breast鸡胸jīxiōng
Feet鸡爪jī zhuǎ
Eggs鸡蛋jīdàn
Chicken in Chinese - Parts of the Chicken

Popular Western Chicken Dishes in Chinese

Let’s translate some of those classics that you know and love in the western world.

We all love a chicken nugget or some saucy chicken wings after all!

DishChinese TranslationChinese Pinyin
Chicken nuggets鸡块jī kuài
Grilled chicken烤鸡kǎojī
Chicken wings鸡翅膀jī chìbǎng
Fried chicken炸鸡kǎojī
Chicken soup
Chicken broth
鸡汤jītāng
Chicken pot pie鸡锅饼jī guō bǐng
Chicken Alfredo阿尔弗雷多鸡Ā’ěr fú léi duō jī
Rotisserie chicken炸鸡kǎojī
Roast chicken炸鸡kǎojī
Chicken casserole砂锅鸡shāguō jī
Buffalo wings布法罗辣鸡翅Bù fǎ luō là jīchì
Chicken and waffles鸡肉和华夫饼jīròu hé huá fū bǐng
Barbecue chicken烧烤鸡shāokǎo jī
Vegetarian chicken (mock meat)素鸡sù jī

Korean fried chicken in Chinese is called 韩式炸鸡 (Hánshì zhá jī).

Kebabs in Chinese is 烤肉串 (kǎoròu chuàn); this literally means “roasted meat skewers”.

You’ll notice that a lot of these dishes simply translate into 炸鸡 (kǎojī), which means “roast chicken”.

They aren’t really differentiated in Chinese as they are in English as these cooking methods are less common in China.

Chicken in Chinese Cuisine

Chicken is super popular in China and is included in a wealth of dishes.

Here are some of the best ones that we love!

Dish in EnglishChinese NameChinese PinyinDish origin
Fuliji roast chicken
(Anhui roast chicken)
符离集烧鸡
or 安徽烧鸡
Fúlí jí shāojī
(Ānhuī shāojī)
Anhui (eastern China); named after Fuli town
Henan roast chicken河南烧鸡Hénán shāojīHenan (central china)
Liaoning smoked chicken (Goubangzi smoked chicken)辽宁熏鸡
or 沟帮子熏鸡
Liáoníng xūnjī
(Gōubāngzi xūnjī)
Liaoning (northern China); Goubangzi is a town
Dezhou braised chicken德州扒鸡Dézhōu bā jīShandong (eastern China); Dezhou is a city
Beggar’s chicken叫花子鸡jiàohuāzijīHangzhou, Zhejiang (eastern China)
Kung Pao chicken宫保鸡丁Gōngbǎo jīdīngSichuan (southwest China)
Chicken feet鸡爪子jī zhuǎziNot strictly Chinese
Chicken essence (chicken meat extract)鸡精jījīng
Century eggs (not exclusively chicken eggs)皮蛋pídànHunan (southern China)
Tea eggs茶蛋chá dànZhejiang (eastern China)
General Tso’s Chicken左宗棠鸡zuǒ zōng táng jīMaybe Taiwan, but more likely from America where it was popularized (it’s a Chinese-American dish).

China has this thing called 中国四大名鸡 (Zhōngguó sì dà míng jī), which translates literally into China’s Four Famous Chickens.

It’s pretty much just four famous Chinese chicken dishes.

These four dishes are the first four from the chart above

  • Anhui roasted chicken
  • Henan roasted chicken
  • Liaoning smoked chicken
  • Dezhou braised chicken

The common factor is that they’re all famous, have some form of cultural significance, and taste good.

If you put “德州扒鸡” through Google Translate, you’re going to find that it translates into “Texas Braised Chicken”.

Texas in Chinese is 德州 (Dézhōu).

德州 is also a city in China’s Shandong province; 德州扒鸡 (Dezhou braised chicken) is decidedly not from Texas.

Tea eggsCentury eggs
Tea Eggs vs Century Eggs

There are probably more words related to the chicken than you might imagine!

Here are some below:

WordChinese TranslationChinese Pinyin
Poultry/fowl家禽jiāqín
Birdniǎo
Chicken feather鸡毛jīmáo
Meatròu
Chicken coop鸡窝jīwō
Chicken farm鸡场jī chǎng
Farm农场nóngchǎng
Chicken pox水痘shuǐdòu
Chicken poop鸡屎jī shǐ
Marinateyān
Peking duck北京烤鸭Běijīng kǎoyā
Delicious好吃hǎochī

Be careful of your tones! 好吃 (hǎochī) and 好吃 (hàochi) mean different things even though they’re just one tone apart.

好吃 (hǎochī, third tone) means delicious, e.g. “this chicken is delicious” (这只鸡很好吃).

好吃 (hàochi, fourth tone) means someone really likes to eat and may be a bit greedy, e.g. “he really likes to eat” (他很好吃).

Now let’s focus on the most popular food chains in China that sell Chicken.

RestaurantChinese Name/TranslationChinese Pinyin
KFC肯德基Kěndéjī
Popeyes博派斯Bópàisī
Dicos德克士Dékèshì
Home Original Chicken老乡鸡Lǎoxiāngjī

Many well-known chicken-related restaurants such as Nando’s, Chick-fil-A, and Bojangles don’t have formal Chinese translations as they don’t have Chinese branches (yet).

Popeyes opening day in Shanghai, China in May 2020.
Photo credit: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Popeyes opening day in Shanghai, China in May 2020.
Photo credit: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Proverbs & Sayings Related to Chickens

DID YOU KNOW – there are even some fantastic Chinese proverbs that include chickens.

Learning Mandarin really is something truly unique!!

Chinese Proverb/SayingChinese PinyinLiteral TranslationActual Meaning
呆若木鸡dāiruòmùjīDumb like a wooden chicken.A blithering idiot.
拿着鸡毛当令箭názhe jīmáo dāng lìngjiànUsing a chicken feather as a warrant.Making a fuss out of virtually nothing; assuming authoring off of something meaningless.
杀鸡焉用牛刀shā jī yān yòng niúdāoWhy use a cleaver to kill a chickenDon’t blow it out of proportion.
指鸡骂狗zhǐ jī mà gǒuPoint at the chicken and curse the dog.Scolding someone indirectly.
鸡毛蒜皮jīmáosuànpíChicken feathers and garlic skins.A trivial matter.
杀鸡吓猴
(杀鸡给猴看)
shā jī xià hóu
(shā jī gěi hóu kàn)
Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.Punishing someone to warn others; to make an example of someone.
偷鸡不成蚀把米tōu jī bù chéng shí bǎ mǐTrying to steal a chicken (unsuccessfully) and losing the rice used to lure it in.Trying to take advantage only to be worse off than you started.
鸡狗不如
(more common: 猪狗不如)
jī gǒu bùrú
(zhū gǒu bùrú)
Worse than a chicken or dog.
(Worse than pig or dog).
Lower than low; someone has extremely poor morals.
鸡鸣狗盗jīmínggǒudàoCrowing like a rooster and stealing like a dog.People who are up to mean and petty tricks.
鸡飞蛋打jīfēidàndǎChickens fly and eggs are smashed.Nothing is left — all the chickens have flown away and all the eggs are cracked.
鸡飞狗跳jī fēi gǒu tiàoChickens flying and dogs jumping.Chaotic.
缩头乌龟suō tóu wūguīA turtle that has retracted its head.So this phrase doesn’t actually mention chickens, but you’re essentially calling someone a chicken and coward.

Summary – there’s a proverb for everything!

Insults Related to Chickens

Perhaps the most interesting chapter of all.

Swear words related to chickens? Surely not?

Think again…!

Insult in ChineseChinese pinyinLiteral translationActual meaning
笨蛋bèndànDumb egg.An idiot.
叫的响的鸡不下蛋jiào de xiǎng de jī bù xiàdànThe chicken that screams won’t lay eggs.Someone talks a lot but doesn’t do much work.
呆若木鸡dāiruòmùjīDumb like a wooden chicken.A blithering idiot.
鸡狗不如
(more common: 猪狗不如)
jī gǒu bùrú
(zhū gǒu bùrú)
Worse than a chicken or dog.
(Worse than pig or dog).
Lower than low; someone has extremely poor morals.
鸡鸣狗盗jīmínggǒudàoCrowing like a rooster and stealing like a dog.People who are up to mean and petty tricks.

Want to discover more swear words? We’ve delved deep and picked the best ten swear words in Shanghainese (plus two bonus ones also).

And that concludes our in-depth look at chickens in Chinese! You never quite realised how much you’d learn when opening this blog did you!

What do you think? Tell us below!

Chicken in Chinese — FAQs

How do I say chicken in Chinese?

Chicken in Chinese is 鸡 (jī).

When is World Chicken Day?

World Chicken Day takes place on the 2nd Thursday of October every year, one day before World Egg Day!

How do I say chicken in Cantonese?

Chicken in Cantonese is 雞 (gāi).

What is KFC called in China?

KFC is called 肯德基 (Kěndéjī) in China.

How do you say delicious in Chinese?

Delicious in Chinese is 好吃 (hǎochī).

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    Alexander Krasnov , Vice CEO

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