Fried Chicken Showdown: Who Serves Hong Kong's Best Bird?
We sacrifice our waistlines to find out who serves up the tastiest in the city.
Arriving at the industrial-chic Jinjuu with the bright lights of D'Aguilar Street twinkling beyond the windows, the mouthwatering air of anticipation was palpable as hungry fried chicken fans flocked to their seats in droves to begin the battle for the best fried chicken in Hong Kong. The competition was set for an East vs. West showdown, with five rounds of two participants each—one from the East and one from the West. We waited with knife and fork ready in each hand as the first restaurant chefs brought out their decadent, crispy-fried creations.
Starting from the east, modern Japanese restaurant Okra served their large hunks of peppery fried chicken over a bed of creamy and smooth tofu grits, accompanied by okra—naturally. The crunch of the batter paired nicely with the buttery texture of the tofu. Straying from their Korean roots, Momojein followed up with a classic take on American country-fried chicken, even going so far as to serve it with ranch dressing and chips to really drive home the authenticity.
During round two, Moonshine & Po Boys cooked up a crispy and juicy whole fried chicken with an incredibly flavorful crust and tangy coleslaw that would have been at home at any southern picnic. Jan Jan Kushikatsu mixed it up with the introduction of karaage. The light and tender fried chicken bits were as addictive as they were satisfying.
As expected, Butchers Club served up a classic American Frank’s hot sauce-coated fried chicken smothered in bleu cheese with a celery and carrot garnish that offered a refreshing respite from all the fried goodness. They went head-to-head with a 100-year-old recipe from Indonesian restaurant IR 1968. The batter was very lightly fried, which allowed for the juicy chicken to steal the show.
In the fourth round, Lily & Bloom served their take on the American picnic: Chicken and waffles, watermelon and a crisp coleslaw adorned the platter along with a creamy and addictive “Ol’Delta sauce.” Viet Kitchen & Bar fought back with a tangy and sticky version, with chicken wings and fried chicken “nuggets” dipped into three deceivingly spicy sauces.
Finally, we had host Jinjuu who served the largest portions of the day. Their chicken is fried whole which allows for the skin to develop a firm crispness while the meat inside stays tender. The night was capped off by Boomshack’s fried box of chicken, basil and okra served with a tangy and refreshing tartar sauce.
And the winner is...
While the battle of Hong Kong’s fried chicken has yet to enter the crucible of public scrutiny, we here at HK mag can still pick our favs:
Coming in at third place was host, Jinjuu. The chicken, which is battered with matzoh meal and vodka, is fried in a speedy 15 minutes to allow maximum crispiness and juiciness. The result is a crunchy batter, and a chicken that drips at the slightest touch of the fork. Paired with their famous Gochujang Red & Jinjuu Black Soy sauces, this combo is a foolproof recipe to awesome fried chicken.
Receiving a silver medal is Okra. This Japanese-style fried chicken had an incredibly flavorful, crispy batter that was equal parts pepper and spice. The mildly fiery chicken was quelled by the creaminess of the tofu grits that were prepared in such a savory way that it almost made us jump on the tofu train.
And—drumroll please—the winner of the fried chicken battle of Hong Kong is Viet Kitchen & Bar. This recipe coated their perfectly crisp chicken wings and nuggets in a sticky, tangy sauce that was just begging to be licked off of fingers. The fish sauce and caramel combo in the wing sauce elevated the flavor palette of this dish beyond the typical one-toned fried chicken and catapulted it into the category of fried chicken champion.