Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe at Home


Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe, also known as “yan su ji” in Mandarin, is a beloved street food originating from Taiwan. This taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe crispy and flavorful dish has become a staple in Taiwanese cuisine and gained popularity internationally as well.

The dish’s origins can be traced back to the night markets of Taiwan in the 1970s. Entrepreneurs sought to create a snack that was both delicious and convenient for busy market-goers. The result was Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken – bite-sized pieces of marinated chicken, coated in a seasoned flour mixture, and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. The name “yan su ji” directly translates to “salt and pepper chicken,” highlighting the dish’s fundamental seasoning.

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Taiwanese Chicken Popcorn

Rohini Deekonda
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken, is a popular street food and snack in Taiwan. It consists of bite-sized pieces of marinated and deep-fried chicken that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Here's how you can make this delicious dish at home
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Chinese


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper mixture
  • Chili powder or paprika (for added spice)
  • Fried shallots or scallions for garnish


  • Marinate the Chicken:
    In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, five-spice powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, white pepper, and salt to create the marinade.Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and coat them thoroughly. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours in the refrigerator.
  • Coat the Chicken:
    Heat a generous amount of oil in a deep fryer or a pot to 350°F (175°C).Toss the marinated chicken pieces in potato starch or tapioca starch until they are well coated.
  • Deep-Fry the Chicken:
    Carefully place the coated chicken pieces into the hot oil, ensuring not to overcrowd the frying vessel. Fry in batches if needed.Fry the chicken until they are golden brown and crispy, which takes about 4-5 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).
  • Prepare Aromatic Fried Basil (Optional):
    For an extra flavor boost, you can also fry fresh basil leaves in hot oil until they turn crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Drain and Season:
    Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried chicken from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.Optionally, you can season the popcorn chicken with a mixture of salt and pepper or even chili powder or paprika for a kick of spice.
  • Serve:
    Serve the Taiwanese popcorn chicken while it's hot and crispy. You can garnish it with fried basil leaves, fried shallots, or chopped scallions for added flavor and presentation.


The result was Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken – bite-sized pieces of marinated chicken, coated in a seasoned flour mixture, and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. The name "yan su ji" directly translates to "salt and pepper chicken," highlighting the dish's fundamental seasoning.
Keyword Chicken Popcorn, Taiwanese Chicken Popcorn


  • Five-Spice Powder: If you don’t have five-spice powder on hand, you can omit it, but it does contribute to the distinctive flavor of the dish.
  • Shaoxing Wine: Shaoxing wine adds depth of flavor to the marinade. If you can’t find it, you can use dry sherry as a substitute.
  • Potato Starch: Potato starch or tapioca starch is commonly used for the crispy coating. Cornstarch can be used as a substitute, but potato starch gives a crisper texture.
  • Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?

    Yes, you can use chicken breast if you prefer leaner meat. However, chicken thighs tend to be more tender and flavorful due to their slightly higher fat content.

  • What oil should I use for deep-frying?

    You can use oils with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil, for deep-frying. These oils are better suited for high-heat cooking



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