The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 124

26  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 CHEW on this E ven in Los Angeles, few foods are as well-loved as fried chicken: so well-loved, in fact, that even a mention of this month's column topic prompted a passionate debate in the Tasting Panel lunchroom: skin or no skin (skin, obviously); hot or cold (I seem to be in the minority in thinking the latter might actually be just as good as the former); and which type of breading is best (we never even came close to reaching a consensus on this one). Southerners may confidently claim the dish as their own, but any fried- chicken aficionado knows all too well that variations can be found across a wide spectrum of global cultures. The Japanese have karaage, which are typically small bits of chicken thighs coated with potato starch and garnished with lemon. Chicken wings, meanwhile, are a Korean specialty exemplified in L.A. at Bonchon Chicken, an international chain based in Korea that churns out piles of deli- cious wings alongside pitchers of cold beer or watermelon soju. A recent trip to the Venice outpost of Thai restau- rant Night + Market, meanwhile, found me swiftly ordering the gai tod naeng noi: fried chicken thighs served with nam prik noom, an extremely pungent Thai salsa made with roasted chilis, shallots, garlic, and fish sauce. Italians have chicken piccata: This term apparently means "larded," which makes sense considering these thin, pan-fried chicken cutlets are drenched in a sauce made with butter, lemon juice, capers, and more butter. The super-flavorful Indian dish Chicken 65 consists of spicy fried-chicken morsels served with red onion and cilantro, and while explanations of the meaning behind "65" vary from the number of chilis used to how many days old the chicken was at slaughter, the over- whelming consensus seems to be that the dish is a must-have. Any discussion of spicy chicken dishes must of course include Nashville's famous hot chicken, which is served on white bread with pickle chips. Most places will offer a range of spiciness, but at the immensely popular Hattie B's—which now has seven locations, including one at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas—even the mild might make you tear up. And at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski whip up their signature dish of fried quail (not technically fried chicken, but close enough) with stewed onions. For those wanting to skip the long line that forms outside before the restaurant opens, the official State Bird Provisions cookbook, released last year, has the recipe. My own love for fried chicken dates back to childhood: Growing up, my favorite dish my mother made was a form of deep-fried chicken wings turned inside out into a "lol- lipop" before being marinated in soy, ginger, and garlic and dipped in water-chestnut powder pre-frying. This method—which I've yet to see duplicated elsewhere—lends a uniquely crunchy and flavorful crust. Regardless of how you like your bird served, though, there's a version out there for you—even if it means ventur- ing halfway across the world. (Trust me, it's worth it.) And if you don't like fried chicken, I think it's safe to say you've come to the wrong place. An Ode to the Greasy Bird by Jesse Hom-Dawson Nashville-based restaurant chain Hattie B's helped put the city's famous hot chicken on the map. PHOTO: ALAN WEINER

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - November 2018