Warning: The video below contains graphic content that may not be suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Even though we are in Indonesia on sabbatical we wanted to still maintain the tradition of Thanksgiving that we celebrate back in America.
We first looked into getting a turkey, not knowing whether we could even find a turkey in Indonesia or not. Turns out you can get turkey here but it is expensive.
Instead we opted to get chickens so we went to the pasar or traditional market to select live chickens for our dinner. It turned out to be quite the experience.
First, when it comes to the pasar or traditional market, if you are a foreigner (bule) plan on being charged a different price (harga) for everything.
My mother-in-law won’t allow me to go to the pasar with her because she doesn’t want to pay more for everything she wants to buy just because I am standing there.
Often if I want to check the market out they will go in first and then I will go in and we’ll just pretend that we don’t know each other. Whatever it takes to get the best deals.
As a foreigner it’s just something you have to deal with and nothing to get upset about. Prices are always up for negotiation.
On this particular adventure we decided to risk it and I went in with my wife. We were looking for chicken and ended up getting a fair deal – two chickens for RP50,000 or approximately $5.00.
A tukang ayam is a chicken vendor. Their pasar booth is all about selling chickens. They take a live free range organic chicken, kill it, de-feather it, cut it and package it for you all in the span of a few minutes. It’s an incredible process to watch.
As we made our way though the narrow alleys of the pasar we ended up in an area with many larger stalls with vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, tofu and tempeh, beef (daging sapi), fish (ikan) and chicken.
We settled on a tukang ayam that had fresh free-range organic chickens. We selected our choice and watched as he first said a prayer for the chicken then ran a sharp knife across the throat. Blood spilled out and the tukang ayam tossed the dying bird into a dark box to quiet it down.
We watched as several chickens were killed, each proceeded with a prayer. After 30 seconds or so the birds were taken from the box and placed in a pot of boiling water. They stayed in the pot for a minute and then were pulled out and brought over to an area where all the feathers were removed.
The hot water really loosened the feathers from the skin and the tukang ayam plucked each bird in a matter of seconds.
After the birds were plucked they were put on the chopping block where the neck and legs were cut off. The person operating the chopping block was so good with the cleaver that she easily chopped several chickens into pieces in short time.
It was really quite a sight to watch the expediency that they did their work. Check out the video below to see the tukang ayam in action as he prepares our chickens for cooking.
Be warned that the video is graphic and shows chickens being killed. If you are at all squeamish then don’t watch it.
I found the entire process quite interesting. I think that in the US we have become far removed from where our food comes from and the fact that if you eat chicken that chicken had to die.
We go to the supermarket and there we find pristine wrapped packages of fresh clean chickens ready for us to take home. Some may even have images of happy cartoon chickens leading us to believe that our chickens are happy.
I’m not necessarily an advocate of not eating meat. I’ve actually done bouts of veganism but currently eat chicken and fish. But I do think that if you eat meat such as chicken you should know where that meat comes from and the process involved in getting it to your table.
I’m comfortable knowing the chickens we bought died quickly. What are your thoughts? Are you a meat eater and if so does watching this make you uncomfortable?
The video below contains graphic content that may not be suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.