Why is Chicken Often Served with Lemon Leaves?

Why should you eat chicken with lemon leaves? Combining it with lemon leaves not only enhances the flavor of the chicken but also brings about health benefits that few people know about.


For most Vietnamese people, chicken meat, especially boiled chicken, always comes with lime leaves. This familiar combination has become a part of folk songs and proverbs: “Duck meat with na leaves, chicken meat with lime leaves”; “The rooster crows with lime leaves, the pig buys onions for me”.

Traditional feasts on Tet, anniversaries, weddings, and festivals always include plates of beautifully arranged boiled chicken, topped with finely sliced lime leaves. Chicken salad and fried chicken dishes also always have this special ingredient. And the question “Why do we eat chicken meat with lime leaves” is often raised by children and many young people who belong to the “KFC fried chicken generation”.

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Why do we eat chicken meat with lime leaves? Does lime leaves only enhance the flavor? (Photo: Meatdeli)

Why do we eat chicken meat with lime leaves?

According to the explanation of Vietnamese doctor of medicine Bui Dac Sang (Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi Traditional Medicine Association) in the Knowledge and Life newspaper, the combination of chicken meat and lime leaves not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also has medicinal effects.

In Traditional Medicine, chicken meat is a medicine called “ke nhuc”. Chicken meat has a warm property, sweet taste, while lime leaves have a spicy-sweet taste, warm property, and the function of resolving phlegm, expelling phlegm, treating coughs, and antimicrobial effects. When these two ingredients are combined, they complement each other.

“Chicken skin is prone to allergies, contains many bacteria, and some people even get poisoned when eating unguaranteed chicken meat. Sprinkling lime leaves on chicken meat not only creates a pleasant aroma and reduces the greasiness of chicken skin, but also has a high antimicrobial effect, detoxifies chicken skin, and avoids causing allergies,” said doctor Bui Dac Sang.

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Lime leaves are not only a spice but also a valuable herb. (Photo: Thao Nguyen Home)

In addition, in Traditional Medicine, there is a very effective remedy, which is lime leaf extract for those who suffer from poisoning or allergies when eating chicken meat or chicken skin, which helps reduce symptoms.

“From this, we can see that lime leaves in combination with chicken meat are not just a flavor enhancer, but also a medicinal ingredient. However, it is recommended to use a small amount, as using too much lime leaves will make the dish taste bitter,” said doctor Sang.

How long can chicken meat be kept in the refrigerator?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), raw chicken meat can be kept in the refrigerator for about 1-2 days. Cooked chicken meat can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.

Raw chicken meat should be stored in leak-proof containers to prevent the meat juices from contaminating other foods. Cooked chicken meat should be stored in a tightly sealed container.

If you need to preserve chicken meat for a longer period of time, it is best to keep it in the freezer. Raw chicken meat can be frozen for up to 9 months when cut into pieces, while a whole chicken can be frozen for up to 1 year. Cooked chicken meat can be stored in the freezer for 2-6 months.

If you have kept the chicken in the refrigerator for more than a few days, it is likely that it has gone bad. Here are some ways to tell if the chicken has gone bad:

– Expiration date: Raw and cooked chicken meat that is past its expiration date is likely to be spoiled.

– Changing color: Raw and cooked chicken meat that starts to turn grayish-green is spoiled. Mold spots from gray to green indicate bacterial growth.

– Odor: Both raw and cooked chicken meat emit an acidic odor similar to ammonia when spoiled. However, this odor may not be noticeable if the chicken has been marinated with sauce, herbs, or spices.

– Texture: Chicken meat with a slimy texture is spoiled. Washing the chicken will not kill the bacteria and may spread bacteria from poultry to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.

Source: VTC News

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