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‘Yim kai’ rule the roost for a prosperous Chinese New Year

IPOH: The mention of castrated cockerels (yim kai in Cantonese) may draw sniggers and giggles.

However, such cockerels are considered a delicacy for Chinese New Year.

Cockerel shop: Che Ra, who works at Tan’s farm, holding up a couple of castrated cockerels.
The yim kai is a 70-day-old cockerel which has had its testicles removed.

Many families even rear them so they can be slaughtered for the festival. According to 57-year-old businessman K.M. Tan, gelded cockerels are considered a sign of prosperity.

Yim kai is expensive and difficult to find.

“So if a family has one for Chinese New Year, it shows that they have prospered and can afford to have a castrated cockerel for the festival,” he says.

He adds that the meat was tastier and the skin had a nice “crunch” compared to normal chicken.

Tan, who has reared a few such cockerels for the festival, says yim kai is best served by boiling it in water or steamed.

The birds are sold at between RM35 and RM45 per kilo, he said, adding that each cockerel could easily cost more than RM100.

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