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Brand's Chicken Essence The Ultimate Pick Me Up And Hangover Cure

Updated on June 19, 2011

Brand's Essence of Chicken

My formative years took place in Kuwait in the 1950s. Whereas the choice of foods available was exceedingly good there were some which were conspicious by their absence. One of these must have been Brands Essence of Chicken. It did not play a part in our families diet and I have no recollection of anybody I know drinking it. I don't remember even seeing it.

After I left home and started purchasing food for myself and cooking I still missed out on Brands. I never saw it. I never used it. I don't think I ever saw an advertisement for it on a poster or on TV. Brands was not part of my life.

Yet Brands is essentially British. It was developed by one Henderson William Brand, a Royal Chef to King George the IV way back in 1820. The Kings health was ailing and so this was just the 'pick me up' he needed. Chicken Soup was well known as an invalid food. Brands Chicken Essence went one step further by concentrating this and removing all fat. Brands became an established part of British society and expanded out with the Empire.

Little did I know that once I left Britain I was going to become well aquainted with Brand's Chicken Essence the ultimate pick me up and hangover cure.

Brands first arrived in Asia in the 1920s in Singapore and very quickly was accepted as it already had similarities with Asian cuisine.

Brands Chicken Essence has never left Asia. It is widely sold in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Brands IS Asian!

Meeting Brands

I first met Brands when I arrived in Asia. It appeared in every 7/11 and corner shop, usually on the top shelf of a chiller cabinet. I did not really give it a second glance till I saw people buying it every morning. They would vigorously shake and then crack open the lid of the little glass jars with a satisfying 'pop!' noise and gulp the contents down. Brands is not a sipping drink, it is definitely a gulper. Tastewise it is quite bland but not unpleasant.

Yuk! I thought. Surely it isn't meant to be used in this way. I thought it akin to an Oxo cube, a base ingredient for a meal prepared.  

Later I actually met and talked to people who used it. "Good for stomach" "Good for brain" "Good for hangover."

And it is too. Brands is the ideal drink first thing in the morning if you have to skip breakfast and whilst it lacks the caffeine kick it probably does a lot more good than coffee.

Brands is not cheap but has more appeal for that. There are numerous claims made for its beneficial properties. Most of these have been scientifically proven. Nobody turns up their nose at Brands. It is an acceptable social gift and multi packs are given and graciously accepted at Weddings and Birthdays.


As a company Brands has not stood still. There are competitors but none as innovative.

Brands now offers extensions on the recipe.

Brands Chicken Essence with American Ginseng

Brands Chicken Essence with Lingzhi

Brands Chicken Essence with Tangkwei

Brands Chicken Essence with Cordyceps

Brands Chicken Essence with Collagen

Then there is a new 'Fine Taste' Brands Chicken Essence

They now even have small jars of Bird Nest with Rock Sugar too. Very Tasty.

More recently has seen the arrival of Prune Essence, Quince Essence and Berry Essence.

The various formulations of Brand's Essences have become firmly established within the culture of Asia. They are given to kids before exams, to regulate menstruation, as cancer preventatives and more.

Certainly the first 'pick me up' of choice and an excellent hangover cure 

Brand's Essence of Chicken is now part of my life. A tasty, no preparation needed 'pick me up' that provides that little boost we all need from time to time.

Strangely though there is a 'Zoo' connection. Brand's is sometimes used by Falconers in the preparation of feeds for hand rearing birds. It is a wonder I never came across it before.

As a hangover cure? Is anything other than abstinence the answer? Brand's definitely helps me recover. 


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