Last week, I saw Spanky share a Facebook post of an 80-year old grandmother who made Eight Treasure Chicken for delivery.
Initially, I had thought to order one for Christmas, but since it was Sister C’s birthday, I thought, why not? Let’s order it and try. Sister T has been bugging me to make Nuo Mai Kai during her visits to Manila, but it’s just too much work to debone a whole chicken and it’s just not my forte. Previous attempts resulted in delicious, albeit “hole-y” stuffed chicken with the stuffing exploding out of the holes.
So I read a few online articles about Wok with Mom and contacted the number to order. I had told the family that we were going to try the Eight Treasure Chicken to see if it was good. If it was good, we might order it nalang when Sister T visits instead of me making another attempt at making stuffed chicken 🙂
WOK WITH MOM
So, here’s a quick background of Wok with Mom. Mom is Gemma Lim, and she makes the Eight Treasure Chicken, as well as a few other dishes. Her daughter Oi helps with organizing the orders and deliveries.
And what a small world it is! When Sister T read the articles, she told me that she used to work with Oi!
Anyway, the business started last March 2018 and business is booming because of word of mouth. Auntie Gemma was a cooking teacher and wanted to try different recipes. She met a visiting Cantonese chef at Peace Hotel in the 70’s and bartered good wine for his Eight Treasure Chicken recipe 🙂 She started the business selling the Eight Treasure Chicken because it’s difficult to find good quality Eight Treasure Chicken unless you attend 12-course Chinese lauriat parties. This is true – there are very few people selling Eight Treasure Chicken commercially in Manila, and very few among the current Chinoy generation know how to make this at home.
ORDERING & DELIVERY
Here’s the menu and price list. Wok with Mom’s Eight Treasure Chicken is priced a bit on the high side because there are other vendors that sell it for around P700. But we thought we would try it anyway. Order 2 days in advance. They deliver within Metro Manila via Lalamove.
On Friday, I called the number to order and coordinated with Oi on the delivery. At that time, the weather was bad from Typhoon Ompong, and she wasn’t sure if they would be able to deliver on Sunday night. It depended on whether the market (palengke) would be open that day and if they would be able to get their supplies from their sukis. I totally understood, so it was okay. But I realized from this conversation that they get their supplies fresh every day! When I realized I had asked for a Sunday delivery, I felt a bit guilty for making grandma Gemma work on a Sunday. But our family celebration was happening Sunday night because it was the only schedule available before the work week started. But apparently, Wok with Mom also had other orders going on that day so they didn’t mind.
Delivery was via Lalamove, and to our house, the delivery fee was P55. Payment is by bank deposit because they don’t do COD. Oi kept me updated with screenshots of the Lalamove delivery details.
THE EIGHT TREASURE CHICKEN
The delivery arrived on time. The Eight Treasure Chicken was packed in a foil tray loosely covered with taped foil (I would guess to let steam escape). The chicken smelled like roast chicken. The sauce is packed in another container, the lid was taped well so there was no spillage. There was even a little 紅包 note as an extra touch.
I didn’t need to reheat because the chicken arrived warm. This is what it looks like:
Here I poured the sauce in and started slicing (did not transfer to another plate, less dishes to wash, because Maynilad cut-off water supply again):
Okay, for those who are not familiar with Eight Treasure Chicken, it is a deboned whole chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and other things like lotus seeds, mushrooms, Chinese sausage, etc…
Wok with Mom’s Eight Treasure Chicken was indeed delicious! First of all, the chicken was deboned well, without breaking the skin – a skill I have not yet mastered. Slicing into the stuffed chicken was easy. Literally the only bones in the whole chicken were the drumstick bones and the wing bones. The small amount of chicken meat was also flavorful – normally, we would all go for the glutinous rice filling and ignore the chicken, but the four of us were able to finish the whole Eight Treasure Chicken (a small portion of it was packed for baon). Aside from the bones I mentioned, and a long piece of twine that was used to sew up the chicken, the whole thing was edible. Walang tira 😀
Secondly, the glutinous rice filling was cooked through but not mushy. I normally do not like lotus seeds and usually consider them as something I have to eat as part of the dish, but I did not mind them here, in fact, the lotus seeds seemed so integrated into the stuffing texture-wise that I actually enjoyed them. The glutinous rice also had a bit of liver. I don’t particularly like liver, but here it just enhances the flavor of the glutinous rice. I can’t even tell if it’s fresh liver or from liver sausage, but it did taste like mashed Chinese liver sausage. Don’t worry, the liver flavor is not strong. It’s only just a highlight flavor. As a whole, the glutinous rice was savory with spikes of sweetness, depth and tang from the liver, and earthiness from the mushrooms. There’s a good ratio of the other “stuff” to the glutinous rice. Cheaper versions usually skimp on the lotus seeds, mushrooms, sausage, etc…
While the rest of the fam enjoyed the Eight Treasure Chicken as is, I liked it better with a small drizzle of premium soy sauce. This is not to say that it wasn’t salty enough. I just prefer mine a tiny bit saltier, and it’s better like this where I can add soy sauce to my liking rather have the whole dish be too salty for everyone else. A lot of people have to watch their salt intake so it’s fine. Like I said above, we finished the entire chicken despite having other food on the table. 🙂
Wok with Mom’s Eight Treasure Chicken is delicious, and ordering it for a consistent Chinese-style stuffed chicken dish for special occasions is definitely better than the hassle of having to make it myself.
The price of P1380 is a bit expensive, but I have tried some of the P700 ones and Wok with Mom’s tastes better. I’m not sure that it is worth double the price, but it does feel like there was care in the making of Wok with Mom’s Eight Treasure Chicken. They use fresh ingredients that they buy from the market on the day they make it, and they make it on the day of delivery, so those should count for something 🙂 There is also the authenticity factor – literally an 80-year old grandma is preparing this dish for you (I’m sure she has helpers, but I think she still does the important stuff like choosing ingredients, seasoning, supervising everything, etc…).
If you have an upcoming occasion, why not check out Wok with Mom’s Eight Treasure Chicken? 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!