Paper Bag Fried Chicken In Malaysia Leaves The Internet Confused

Malaysia may be known as a street food haven but a recent viral street food video from Malaysia has left the Internet with its head scratched. Video content creator Trevor James, who owns the Instagram handle @thefoodranger has shared a video of a street food seller in Malaysia’s Bukit Mertajam. The video shows a cook wrapping marinated chicken pieces in individual paper bags before frying them in hot oil. That’s right! The cook seems to be frying the chicken along with the paper bag.

“I don’t understand the concept of needing to fry it in any paper?? Why?? SMH” wrote one commentor on the video. “Looks so good. What a bizarre technique though,” commented another. Though some culinary methods do call for a covered frying technique, they are not nearly as strange as this method. However, this method may have been devised for a crucial reason.

Quite a few people pointed out in the comment section of the post that frying the chicken in a paper bag helps the chicken retain its moisture, so the chicken is still juicy after it’s fried. “The paper keeps the marinade from burning the chicken and it helps lock in moisture,” one follower said.

Another follower broke it down further, “It is marinated in sweet soy sauce, if you fry it directly in the oil, it will be burnt (the black oil explains the soy sauce, palm oil is super cheap in Malaysia, we usually don’t use it twice for frying). So when they put in the paper, the chicken won’t get burnt.”

Another popular Malaysian recipe that calls for a similar technique is the Pandan Leaf Chicken where bite-sized chicken pieces are covered in long pandan leaves and fried in oil. The pandan leaves give the chicken a prominent tropical aroma as well as keep the fried chicken juicy and moist inside.