Location: 384 Bloor Street West (inside the Annex Food Hall)
I mentioned recently that I think Chica’s Chicken serves the best fried chicken in the city. I still think that, but PG Clucks is giving them some serious competition for that title.
I tried the Jalapeno and Honey (Toronto Life’s pick for the second best sandwich in the city): “Honey Dipped Chicken, Sweet Pickled Jalapeños, Fermented Jalapeño Sauce, Ranch Sauce.”
It’s so good. It’s quite sweet from the honey (the chicken is tossed in some kind of honey sauce) but it’s balanced perfectly by the zingy pickled jalapenos and the abundantly delicious ranch and jalapeno sauces. It’s almost absurd how delicious it is.
And the chicken itself is absolutely perfect — it’s super crispy, juicy, and flavourful.
Bonus: their new location, in the Annex Food Hall, is way nicer than the original on College. That one is just a closet-sized take-out joint, but this one actually has tables, which means that you don’t have to eat your sandwich hunched over on the sidewalk like an animal. That’s always nice.
Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Though the fried chicken sandwich at Porchetta & Co. used to be one of the best in the city, sadly, I think those days are long gone. The last few I’ve had have been nothing too memorable — and that includes the Korean fried chicken sandwich, one of their recent specials.
The sandwich, per their menu: “Sweet & Spicy Korean Chili Sauce, Lettuce, Pickles, Kimchi, Cilantro, Green Onion Lime Mayo, Milk Bun.”
It was fine. It certainly wasn’t out-and-out bad; the rich mayo and the sweet chili sauce are a tasty combo, and the pickles and the kimchi do a good job of cutting through the richness. I wish it had been spicier (the spice level was basically at a vague tingle), but it was tasty enough for what it was.
The chicken was a bit of an issue, however. It wasn’t quite as crispy as you’d like, and the meat itself was pretty tough.
The bun was probably decent at some point, but it was stale and dry.
Though I didn’t hate eating it, the sandwich added up to a whole bunch of meh. I think I’ll probably stick with the porchetta from now on, which is still great.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve said a few times that Chica’s probably serves the best fried chicken in the city. Well, I take it back. At this point, I can confidently say that it’s not probably the best fried chicken in the city — it is the best fried chicken in the city. It’s insanely good.
I just tried the Small Fry Sando, which is Chica’s “small” sandwich (it’s small only by their standards; it’s quite hefty) that comes topped with coleslaw, pickles, and Chica’s Sauce, which they describe as a Thousand Island-style dressing.
It’s so good. I mean, just look at it. What’s that? You want another angle? Well, okay.
The fried chicken itself is almost improbably delicious — the exterior is crunchy and amazingly well seasoned, and the chicken is profoundly juicy. It’s weird how good it is.
Everything else complements it perfectly, particularly the sauce, which is clearly about a million times better than any Thousand Island I’ve had before. It’s a top-shelf sandwich.
I also tried the fried pickles, and hey, wouldn’t you know it — they’re outstanding. The thinly-sliced pickle chips feature a perfectly crispy exterior; I’ve had some fried pickles where the crisp-factor isn’t quite there, but these are amazing. The zippy, slightly sweet seasoning complements them perfectly, as does the delicious ranch dipping sauce (which, like the Thousand Island, is way better than your average ranch).
Location: 3015 Winston Churchill Boulevard, Mississauga
Coating a piece of fried chicken in flavoured potato chips is pretty bizarre; it’s also obvious enough that I’m surprised KFC or some other fast food chain hasn’t done it sooner. This is particularly odd in a post Doritos Locos world, where mashing up two seemingly disparate but complementary flavours has revealed itself to be a gold mine.
Anyway, KFC has finally done it, and yeah, it’s good.
The Lay’s Bar-B-Q Tenders, according to KFC: “Canadian farm raised chicken tenders coated in Lay’s sweet and smoky Bar-B-Q potato chips”.
The flavour is pleasingly familiar, with a nice balance of sweetness and tanginess; if you’ve had Lay’s BBQ chips, then it tastes as you’d expect. The whole thing is exactly what you think (and hope) it’s going to be.
I will say, however, that these taste like they were made with plain chips and then seasoned post-fry. This is mostly not an issue, aside from the fact that the seasoning is a bit uneven.
Still, it’s a good quality chicken strip; the BBQ flavour complements it well, and the chip pieces add a nice crunch. It’s one of those things that sounds weird on paper, but mostly just tastes pretty good (i.e. it’s not a Double Down, which is a fun gimmick until you actually eat it).
This is entirely down to the luck of the draw, but my order was hot and fresh, which definitely helped. The chicken could have been a bit more tender, but for white meat, it’s not bad.
Location: 2352 Yonge Street, Toronto
You wouldn’t particularly know it from what they’re serving at Chi Chop (sorry — Chi Chop!!), but Taiwanese food is pretty great. It has a lot in common with Chinese cuisine, but it’s also got its own thing going on in some very delightful ways.
Chi Chop (!!) serves Taiwanese-style fried chicken, and it’s fine. I got the Ninja crispy chicken bento box, which comes with a generous piece of boneless fried chicken, rice, a salad, three small spring rolls, and miso soup.
Nothing particularly stands out. The fried chicken isn’t bad, but it’s made from white meat, and it’s predictably dry. It’s also a bit too aggressively battered, with an overly thick exterior.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating it. It’s nicely seasoned, and there’s nothing blatantly wrong with it. It’s missing the sauce from the photo on their menu (which would have been nice), but… I don’t know. It didn’t offend me. It’s a shrug. An edible shrug.
It probably doesn’t help that the set is a bit muddled; the chicken is Taiwanese, the soup is Japanese, and the spring rolls taste Filipino (they have a separate section of the menu dedicated to Filipino cuisine). It definitely feels like a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation.