Vietnamese cooks roast chickens in three ways: on the stove top in a pan with a little liquid for succulence, over charcoal for charred smokiness, or in the oven for crispy skin. The method mostly depends on the kind of heat source available. For example, ovens were traditionally luxurious home appliances in Vietnam food. In 1966, my mom’s oven was a metal box indirectly heated by hot charcoal set underneath and/or on top. When the Americans came, she was able to salvage a modern oven for her Saigon home kitchen.
After we arrived in America, Mom delighted in roasting this easy garlicky chicken for our family. With a reliable oven and affordable chicken, we ate gà rô-ti regularly with rice for dinner, sliced up and stuffed into a baguette sandwich for lunch or a snack, and arranged atop sticky rice for breakfast or lunch. When preparing gà rô-ti (which takes its name from the French term for roasting), use the more succulent parts - drumsticks, thighs, wings - for the best flavor.