Our take on the Christmas turkey came about when Chef Hooi Kok Wai stumbled upon the dish prepared by his colleagues in the Western Kitchen of Cathay Hotel. Despite working in the Chinese Kitchen, he was keen to study other culinary techniques and started hanging around during his afternoon breaks. He mastered many items, including baked turkey.
When the chef started Dragon Phoenix in 1963 at Maxwell Road, he debuted his interpretation of the Christmas classic. As the bird was too big for casual dining, he used a pullet instead. The young hen is seasoned with bay leaves and basil, as well as Chinese wine, ginger and soy sauce, and then deep fried till golden. The aromatic and succulent dish drew the sailors from the nearby pier, who ordered to take out and devoured it as they walked back.
Today, the Phoenix Spring Chicken is still a bestseller and our culinary pride.