Youth should move to Hainan for jobs and chicken rice, Chief Executive Carrie Lam says

Hainanese chicken from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Hong Kong. Photo: Facebook/天天海南雞飯
Hainanese chicken from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Hong Kong. Photo: Facebook/天天海南雞飯

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has a questionable pitch for why Hong Kong’s youth should move to China’s Hainan province.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Lam said Hainan is home to jobs, business opportunities, and “the Hainanese chicken rice that Hong Kong people love.”

The leader’s comments raised eyebrows given the disputed origins of Hainanese chicken rice, which is more closely associated with Singapore than with the southern Chinese province.

According to the South China Morning Post, Hainanese chicken rice did not originate from Hainan. The paper cites renowned Hong Kong food critic Chua Lam, who credits the dish to a restaurant owner in Singapore in about 1949.

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A dish in Hainan called Wenchang chicken is, however, a signature of the province. Wenchang chicken—known to be more fibrous and bony—is believed to have evolved into the Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore through Hainanese immigrants in the country.

Malaysia, which was once merged with Singapore, also claims the fragrant dish.

Lam’s post comes as she visited Hainan for the Boao Forum, an annual conference attended by world leaders.

“The natural environment in Hainan island is good, the agricultural industry is rich, the people are nice, and with the support of the Chinese government, it has been able to develop into a free trade port,” Lam wrote, adding that employment opportunities for Hong Kong youth are aplenty in the Chinese province.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS

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