The kampong chicken factory

June 3, 2007

What do you understand by “kapong chicken”?

If, like me, you believe it refers to chickens that roam about freely in kampongs (villages) – that is, the local equivalent of free-range, more or less organic, chicken –as opposed to those kept in cages in factory farms, well, you will be in for a disappointment and a shock.

According to more than one kampong chicken seller at the wet markets whom I have spoken to, there are at least two types of kampong chicken – the “real” type and the “fake” type.

The real type costs about $8.50 to $9 per kg and is a much bigger bird, so you will have to end up paying maybe $15 or more for a chicken. At the Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 market that I sometimes go to, this is called “mountain chicken”.

The one that generally sells for $5.50 per bird, in wet markets and supermarkets, is the fake type. These chickens are reared in cages in factory farms, where up to tens of thousands of chickens are confined in a covered shed. They do not get exercise or sunlight. Presumably, they are also regularly given antibiotics, because chickens raised under such conditions cannot be allowed to get sick. If one does, the sickness will quickly spread to the rest of the factory farm and tens of thousands of chickens will be destroyed.

So why are these “fake” kampong chickens called kampong chickens?

“They are the same species as kampong chicken,” the chicken seller at the market explained.

And so we have another case of misleading food labelling / food description that our health authorities seem to allow.




  1. Any why not? Even the word ‘friend’ is known to be preceeded with ‘true’, ‘fair-weathered’ etc.

    Just to share – I was told by older folks who probably have more experience with kampong chickens – that the meat is tougher because those chickens get to run around more and hence get more ‘exercise’.
    When I was little we occasionally got a chicken from our kampong relatives but I can’t remember the meat texture though.

  2. Yes, the meat of kampong chicken is tougher but also more flavourful, as opposed to caged chicken whose meat is tender but comparatively bland.

    A test of true kampong chicken is this:

    After you eat, you will see that the bone is white and slightly shiny – like BONE China – not with dark blotches.

  3. Can I know whereabout in AMK Ave 4 I can get the ‘mountain chicken’?

    Since the kampong chickens at the supermarket are fakes, what about the kampong chicken eggs that are sold at $2.80 for 6. Are these eggs truly kampong? I just notice these eggs are small but the yolk is abt same size as the bigger eggs, so you actually get less egg white.

  4. The mountain chicken is available from market at AMK Blk 160+ along Ave 4. They have sign board proclaiming “tasty kampong chicken” etc.

    Actually many other markets have too, eg the one near my flat at Blk 226A. Keep your eyes open.

    The kampong eggs at $2.85 for 6, eg Ah Chew’s brand, are for real. But those selling at wet markets for 20 cents each or less apparently fakes also, although yolks are deep orange, not pale yellow.

    • i would like to get a couple of male and a couple of female “tasty kampong ” chickens.

      I am in the US, could you help me get them to the USA ?

      please write me at b41885@yahoo.com, thanks


      • Are you asking for live ones? Are the mountain chicken reared in singapore?

  5. Dear Richard,

    Could you please advise on which brands (commonly available in many Singapore supermarkets, eg. NTUC, Cold Storage, Giant, etc) offer genuine free-range or “kampong” eggs?

    You mentioned the “Ah Chew” brand in one of your replies. Is this brand commonly available in most supermarkets? From your experience, is there any particular brand you recommend for (Sg available) free-range eggs?

    Thanks a lot, Richard!

  6. I am horrified. Thanks for finding out about the difference in the kampong chickens! I’ve been buying the ones from NTUC. Now I know better!!

  7. […] understand why I want the free-range chicken, and to top it off, some of the kampong chickens wouldn’t even be free range if I got them. Loser: […]

  8. Here’s an attempt at a defination of ayam kampung by a Malaysian farmer:


  9. kami adalah merupakan penternak ayam kampung dalam skala yang besar.
    ayam kampung siap proses rm 10/kg

    minimum order 3000 ekor x kg.

    berminat hubungi manjuta72@yahoo.com

  10. Free range chickens can be identified by thicker bone density in their legs as they tend to actually run around. The leg bones of factory farmed chickens are all marrow when you break them open. The actual bone wall is very thin. Stress is needed to grow thick strong bones. Likewise Sakura birds and real kampong birds should be less plump and have smaller breasts as they have grown without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. A big organic free range bird will be old and it’s meat tougher. Less meat but tastier meat on Sakura and kampong birds for sure as well as less fat. You are what you eat so go for it if you can afford better health and tastier birds.

    • This arlcite is a home run, pure and simple!

  11. Can anyone tell me where I can get free range chicken in Singapore? I have just moved from Australia to here and I notice that information about this matter is hard to come by. Would I be right to suppose that my best bet to find free range chicken is in the supermarkets rather than the wet markets?

  12. Hi,

    I am looking for Halal free-range chicken in Singapore. I recently bought a kampong chicken from Giant. It only cost $7 so I guess it is fake. The meat was very flavourful. The shape of the body was different from the conventional chickens. I would like to buy REAL kampong chickens but it has to be Halal.
    And while we are on the topic, I am also looking for Halal grass-fed beef.

    • Was wondering if you found ur source of halal free-range chicken… If so, do share 🙂 thanks in advance

  13. Hmmmmm…. looks like you need to go look in Malaysia. Even then, I have not seen any in JB, neither real kampong chicken nor grass-fed beef.

  14. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the heads up and information. I’m a vegan by choice but I have two cats at home and don’t believe in depriving them of meat. Can you provide me with the address of where to buy the real Kampong Chicken? I can’t afford to feed them organic food but I do want to go as free range and antibodic free as possible. Thanks a lot!

  15. Hi, I am also looking for the real kampung chicken and totally grass fed beef. Don’t think we can get any of the two. Even with sakura chicken which are not pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones are fed with corn. I would assume it is the genetically modified version. 90% or more of our soy and corn are already genetically modified. Do we really want to feed our children with GMO as they are known to create a host of serious problems including fertility problem (albeit lab rats were used.) Maybe we should have more people know of the dangers of GMO so that we can have some form of labelling from the approriate authority (AVA perhaps?). At least we will have a choice of what we put into our mouths!

  16. Hi since there hasn’t been many replies on where to find free range eggs, I thought I would chip in. They sell Freedom Range Eggs in Cold Storage that go for $2.60 or $2.80 (I can’t really remember) for 6. The product’s website is as follows http://www.freedom-range.com/fregg.html. 🙂

  17. The freedom-range eggs mentioned above is from Chew’s Agriculture. It’s stated on the packaging which I have purchased from Cold Storage. It is not a true free-range but barn-laid. A check on their website http://www.chewsegg.com/index.html did not show any free-range eggs.

  18. Thanks for sharing that information with me. I no longer eat chicken nor meat (except seafood) as i dont believe in the way they are reared in factories. Do you know where i can get the real ones that is halal nearer to pasir ris? Thank you. Do you know if there are HORMONE FREE, free range red meat as well?


  19. Hi, i have breed real kampung chicken and fake kampung chicken. Fake kampung chicken is orinal kampung chicken crossed with town chicken. It is shortening time to reap the chicken. Roughly, for fake kampung chicken only need around 2 1/2 month only before can sell while for original ayam kampung at least need 4 1/2 month. For sure the taste different..can contact me if interested..012-7407468..Sharul

  20. I am interested in getting true free-range eggs as well. I bought the Freedom Range Eggs by Chew Agriculture but then I suppose it’s not really true that they get to roam around outdoors…

  21. We raised ‘true’ free-range layers. We have a couple of videos about our chickens at our blog : http://dqfarm.blogspirit.com. It’s not sold in Singapore but just for information as to how ‘true’ free-range should be.

  22. […] there are Malaysian kampong eggs sold at NTUC. I was suspicious at first because the word “kampong” may not really mean […]

  23. Hi, any buyers who interested in buying Malaysian Ayam Kampung Kacukan(Life)price RM9.00/kg/ Proces RM11.50/kg (Malaysia Ringgit(RM)..simply call Mr. Naz..Ipoh Perak

  24. No. HP: 0133629451 Mr Naz …Ipoh, Perak

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