Tweet I can still smell the chicken feathers burning over the fire -- a smell similar to singed hair.
One of the ways of roasting chicken in Timor-Leste is to first wring the chickens' neck, then dangle the bird over the flames while holding the feet. The burning feathers create a large flame-out and a crackling sound. Within a minute or two most of the feathers have been burned off and the rest can be plucked out -- rather easily -- according to my Timorese colleagues.
Once the bird has been plucked -- it is roasted over the open fire.
I witnessed this technique in Maubisse -- about three hours due south of Dili, the capital.
This wasn't a special ceremony. It was just a Saturday night barbeque -- it was some of the freshest chicken meat I had ever tasted. Yet -- the smell of singed chicken feathers isn't likely to fade away for a while.