When I was younger, I remember the one snack that was always packed along with my lunch at school was chicken wings. It was one of those frozen spicy chicken wings readily available on supermarket freezers, which was bought solely because of its ease and universality – because again, which child doesn’t like chicken wings? They’re salty and savoury, crisp and juicy, and most importantly easy to eat with the hands.
However, my understanding of fried chicken doesn’t stop there. As chicken has always been the protein of choice for many Indonesians, we also have our own way to cook fried chicken – with a combination of dishes that fall under the category of ayam goreng Nusantara. From ayam goreng lengkuas, ayam pop, to ayam goreng kremes, all of them fits the part of being fried chicken.
Fried chicken aside, while poultry is considered to be ubiquitous in our daily lives, chicken consumption in Indonesia is still relatively low compared to other Southeast Asian countries with only 10-12 kg of chicken meat per capita per year – or no more than 1 kg per month – which is only half of the general consumption across neighbouring countries. While relatively cheaper than other kinds of meat, there are some myths that hinder the purchase of chicken – such as the belief that hazardous hormones are used in broiler chicken.
All things considered, there is a lot to uncover when talking about chicken – especially its position in our culture and traditions. Chickens often have a central function in various religious ceremonies, where it is treated as an offering to the Gods or nature itself. Even so, this is something we would like to explore more in this issue.
For ‘Chicken Chronicles’, we had the pleasure of publishing pieces from several #FriendsofSuzy with exciting ideas on what can be put across regarding this topic. From cultural standpoints, historical stories, to personal reflections on chicken, we hope you can learn more about what you eat and the world around you.