If you look at any list of the world’s most popular dishes, we’re willing to bet that there’s a fried chicken dish somewhere near the top. Every country has its iconic version which reflects the food culture and community that invented it. While there is no shortage of ways that the world has transformed and innovated the way they do fried chicken, let’s talk about the really standout ones that deserve a special shoutout.
Chicken and Beer (Chimaek)
Country: South Korea
Anyone who has ever watched a K-drama knows just how big of a cultural food icon the Chimaek is. Many food chains across the country specialize in it and usually offer the plain fried huraideu or spicy yangnyeom version with beer. In terms of cooking and flavor profile, Korean fried chicken is specifically known for its very crispy skin, a feat that is achieved through deep frying.
An article by The Guardian shares, “Korean birds tend to be smaller than US ones, and thus lend themselves better to deep frying.” Unlike the usual American fried chicken which favors thicker crust, Korea prefers a thinner yet crispy coating that provides just enough bite and crunch.
The Korean fried chicken and beer combo is popular among Koreans of all ages and is a favorite hangout and takeout food. Over the years, it has become a favorite among groups who just want to hang out over some good, casual food.
The USA is known around the world for its love of deep-fried food, so it isn’t surprising that it has as many iterations of fried chicken as there are US states. True standouts from this country, however, are its Buffalo Wings, which are deep-fried wings coated in sweet (sometimes spicy) sauce and served with blue cheese dressing.
According to Tasteatlas.com, the recipe got its name from its place of origin, Buffalo, New York, where it was supposedly first served at Anchor Bar. The bar’s owner accidentally received a huge shipment of chicken wings in 1964 and didn’t know what to do with it so she decided to deep fry it and toss it with some sauce before serving with some dressing and thickly sliced celery sticks. The rest, as they say, is history.
Similar to the Korean fried chicken, buffalo wings also have their own cultural relevance as it is a favorite game snack during football specials across the country.
Country: Indonesia and Malaysia
Indonesia and Malaysia may have other recipes to boast of when it comes to popularity level, but no one can deny that their Ayam Goreng is one, if not the most, iconic of all its cuisines.
There are just so many variations of this recipe, from being floured, battered, and some not even coated at all. This (what version is “this”?) version skips the heavy breading but instead uses a special marinade of turmeric, lemongrass, and garlic on the chicken which is then fried in coconut oil. The dish is often served with white rice, often with a helping of sambal on the side.
It is said that Ayam Goreng is so popular in Bali that each family has its own way of creating the dish.
Fun fact: did you know that ‘karaage’ does not refer to the popular Japanese fried chicken dish but is actually a term for a frying technique? The heavily battered frying process was first introduced by the Chinese to Japan in the 1920s originally as a way of cooking vegetarian meals using soy sauce and rice wine.
Nowadays, the word is synonymous with Japanese street food made of small bites of chicken (usually chicken breast cartilage) in garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. It is popularly served with white rice, often with some shredded cabbage on the side.
Pinoy Fried Chicken
Of course, we cannot close this list without ever mentioning our own pride, the Pinoy Fried Chicken. The last couple of years have brought Filipino cuisine into the global spotlight, and our version of this iconic chicken dish is always among the first to be given recognition. Similar to other countries, we have a dozen and a thousand ways of cooking fried chicken–a must for a cultural palate that is as diverse as it is picky when it comes to food.
The history of fried chicken in our country reflects this history, with some claiming that it started when a family started serving American soldiers while others say that it started way back during the time of the Spaniards when a Filipino-Chinese family created a secret fried chicken recipe that they served in their humble panciteria. Regardless of its roots, there is no doubt that the Pinoy fried chicken’s magic lies in the way it continues to evolve while still keeping its old-time charm.
Breaded, crispy, or perhaps….
baked? Whatever your preference in enjoying fried chicken is, there is always a recipe that can satiate your cravings. Take for example the Baked and Fried Herbed Chicken by homegrown food chain GoodAh!!! Coming from the same restaurant that invented iconic Pinoy plates like the tapsilog, this standout recipe appeals perfectly to the discerning Filipino palate. Seasoned with a special concoction of Rosemary and other herbs, the whole bird is baked to render the fat, leaving the inside meat moist and flavorful. It is then fried to give it the skin that crispy, perfect bite.
While the Herbed Chicken’s crispiness, juiciness, and distinctive flavor profile make it a good contender as one of the best fried chicken dishes in the country, what really makes it special is how it calls back to unique quirks of Filipino food tradition– painstaking food preparation and sharing abundant meals with your family and loved ones. Just like at home, every dish by GoodAh!!! is made with attentive love for family using fresh and quality ingredients.
Don’t miss the chance to try this dish which also comes in one of GoodAh!!!’s Handaan P2022 packages. Everyone can order takeout from Goodah’s Timog, Granada, Sucat, Bicutan, Pasig, Alabang, Valenzuela, and Fairview branches, or via food apps like Grab Food, Foodpanda, Pick.A.Roo, and PICKUP.ph. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information.