Fried Chicken in Vancouver
When people ask me for places that serve up tasty fried chicken in Vancouver, unfortunately, with the absence of Questlove and his “love drumsticks” and until the arrival of the Filipino chain Max’s chicken I don’t have many southern spots that I can recommend. But, there are some great Asian alternatives:
Phnom Penh: This is the place Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives should hit if he actually went to dives. This place is on almost everyone’s top slop list. Their fried chicken is done in an amazing batter and served with a dip consisting of lemon juice and pepper. The batter is amazing and the dip just knocks it out of the ball park. The dip basically consists of lemon juice and white and black pepper and is the perfect accoutrement to the chicken wings or squid (which also comes in the same batter). There is a ton of MSG in these things but if you haven’t been here yet, you are missing out. You can thank Anthony Bourdain and a few other famous critics for the long line.
Beefy Beef Noodle: Their noodles are good but their fried chicken is pretty much crack. These little bite-sized deep fried morsels pretty much make the colonel’s popcorn chicken taste as the GZA would say “weak like clock radio speakers”. The seasoning containing some combination of Taiwanese Five Spice powder and likely some MSG is absolutely addictive.
Zabu Chicken: What do you know about KFC – Korean Fried Chicken? Surprisingly, chicken is a common bar food in Korea washed down with beer and soju. At Zabu you can order chicken wings or a whole deep fried chicken which is more in line with the way it is consumed in Korea. Korean fried chicken goes through a par fry which renders down the fat, is battered in flour, and then double-fried. Julia Moskin from The New York Times provides an excellent description of the process:
The oil temperature is a relatively low 350 degrees, and the chicken is cooked in two separate stages. After 10 minutes, the chicken is removed from the oil, shaken vigorously in a wire strainer and allowed to cool for two minutes. This slows the cooking process, preventing the crust from getting too brown before the meat cooks through. It also shaves off all those crusty nubs and crags that American cooks strive for. After 10 more minutes in the fryer, the chicken is smooth, compact, golden-brown, and done. Then, it’s served plain (with a small dish of salt and pepper for seasoning) or lightly painted with sauce.” (Source).
Whatever the process, the result is a thin battered, tasty piece of chicken.
Elsewhere Bonus – Ezell’s Famous Chicken: If the above Asian options have not quenched your thirst for fried chicken, head south of the border to Ezell’s Famous Chicken in Seattle, WA. The story goes that Oprah will fly in birds from Ezell’s when she has a hankering for this deep fried goodness. The menu boasts things like sweet potato pie (which I have only heard about in a Domino song), gizzards, livers, fresh rolls, and, of course, their famous chicken.