Chicken is a significant part of the Japanese culinary tradition, not to mention the single most common type of poultry worldwide. You can even find it in our Bothell sushi restaurant, in the form of our delightful chicken katsu-don. But where did chickens come from, and how did it become the favorite bird of people across the globe?
The domestic chicken is a descendant of several wild bird species. Its most significant relative is the red junglefowl, a bird found in the wild of Southeast Asia. It was first domesticated in India at some point around 3,000 BC. Ancient Chinese documents describe how it was first introduced as a food in China around 1,400 BC, and it made its way into Japan from there along with many other Chinese culinary practices. Well loved for its easy availability and famously neutral taste, the bird was among the most important proteins throughout the Middle Ages for much of the Eurasian continent, and has remained popular to this day.