There are many ways to fry a chicken. Lucky for us, Singapore’s foreign talent policy is open enough to accommodate so many different sorts of fried chicken on our shores. From the classic fresh-from-the-grease bucket fare to the Japanese karaage, all around the world people have been doing fried chicken in their own different ways. Do we tolerate it? More than that, we embrace it fully with our hearts and stomachs.
Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks
Thank god for Taiwanese street food culture – and its biggest export, the crispy Taiwanese fried chicken in a bag. At Shihlin, these giant chunks of fried chicken come with a crunchy and crackly crust and dusted with salt, pepper, spices and plum powder before they are cut into bite-sized pieces and served steaming hot in paper bags to eat on-the-go. Sharing is optional – we usually don’t.
Arnold's Fried Chicken
You can’t go wrong with crispy, greasy and in this case, homegrown fried chicken. At Arnold's, you get crispy skin, some secret recipe spices in the batter that packs a punch, some old school soft buns, standard mash or french fries, and mandatory brown gravy made from chicken stock. If you’re looking for a simple communal meal that is agreeable with everyone, you can’t go wrong with the classic fried chicken. And assorted sides, lots of assorted sides.
Oven & Fried Chicken
Take a walk in any local neighbourhood in Singapore and there’s some sort of Korean chicken shop available. It’s massive popularity is well-deserved though. Korean fried chicken are crunchier, juicier and more creatively seasoned than most fried chicken you’ll find. Besides being double-fried meaning that even when cold, Korean fried chicken are still crunchy. Secondly, the ones from Oven & Fried Chicken is always dredged in amazing sticky marinade post-frying with flavours like soy, garlic and the classic spicy-sweet sauce – all flavours that seem agreeable to the Singaporean palate.
Rang Mang Shukudo
The best thing about Japanese fried chicken, or karaage is the fact that it’s boneless. The bad part is, well, you end up eating so fast that you need more. With karaage, every piece of chicken is treated with care. The focus of the flavour is not only on the batter but also the meat as well, which is marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic before it is coated generously with potato starch – which makes for a light and crispy crunch. At Rang Mang Shukodo, dipping sauces like mentaiko mayo and wasabi cream make for the perfect side. ‘Tis a good thing because the more flavour there is, the better the fried chicken.
No. 5 Emerald Hill Cocktail Bar
Deep in Orchard, you'll find some of the best har cheong gai not at a zi char place but at No. 5 Emerald Hill Cocktail Bar. It all comes down to the prawn paste – fragrant, goopy and loaded with flavour. In its raw form, it might not be the best-smelling stuff around but thin it down with ingredients like rice wine, soy sauce, ginger and flour with cornstarch and it makes for an amazing batter.
Chix Hot Chicken
Think all American fried chicken is just KFC? Y’all got it wrong. Nashville-style country chicken is spicy as heck. Nashville hot chicken is typically marinated in buttermilk, fried and doused with a heavy application of cayenne pepper (often in the form of some magical pepper-infused oil), along with other spices like garlic and paprika. It is sometimes served on the bone with white bread and pickles – possibly to take off the heat a little. Curious? Save the plane ticket to ‘Merica, you can get some in Arab Street.
First things first, Indonesian chicken is not quite a looker but we don’t judge books by the cover here. Unlike most fried chicken, this one doesn’t even have a batter. What gives its distinct and rich flavour are the traditional Asian spices used like turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves and also coconut water. It is marinated overnight, deep fried till a beautiful golden brown, and then served with a serving of sambal. What’s an Indonesian dish without the heat?