The best fried chicken in Sydney

We've tracked down the most tender, juicy, finger-licking-good wings, drumsticks and tenders you can eat in Sydney
Chicken wings at Wishbone Enmore
Photograph: Daniel Boud
By Time Out editors |
Advertising

It’s official. Sydney is obsessed with fried chicken. Are we in the American Deep South? No. Are we surround by the sky scrapers of Seoul? Not really. Does that matter? Maybe. Are we doing it anyway? You’re damn right we are: this is deep-fried poultry for crying out loud, and we’re all about it. Here are our favourite joints in town right now, doing chicken right.

After something carb based? Try the best pizza places in Sydney. Or for pocket-sized fun try these Chinese dumpling restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.

The best fried chicken in Sydney

1
Banana smoothie at Wishbone Enmore
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Restaurants, American

Wish Bone

icon-location-pin Enmore

Birds here are brined for 24 hours in a salinated liquid that plumps 'em up before being coated in spices. It’s then cooked in a vacuum bag, bathed in buttermilk, battered and fried. This results in some seriously good chook – a golden, crunchy sheath encases the tender mixed thigh and breast pieces. The crisp batter makes for the perfect jagged vessel to swipe up different sauces, and those condiments are worth a visit in their own right. 

2
Fried chicken at Paper Bird
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Restaurants, Korean

Paper Bird

icon-location-pin Elizabeth Bay

Sydney’s love of fried chicken clearly knows no time limit. And why should it? The portions at this Potts Point diner are brined so that the meat is seasoned all the way to the bone and the skin is coated in a sticky sweet maple syrup and soy sauce glaze before being armoured in crisp coating that is sonically dangerous. It’s so juicy, so crunchy, and so well prepared that you don’t need sauce, but you will need napkins.

Advertising
3
Thirsty_Bird_36.jpg
Restaurants

Thirsty Bird

icon-location-pin Potts Point

Thirsty Bird comes from the guys behind Mr Crackles on Oxford Street, so these folks know how to do late night food. And boy, do they know how to fry a chicken. The coating is plentiful, dry and crisp without being greasy, and the chicken meat within is tender and juicy. It's tenderness that only comes from meat that's spent a good, long sabbatical in brine (24-hours followed by an air-dry for a further 24-hours before battering, to be precise). 

4
Generic ayam goreng 01
Restaurants

Ayam Goreng 99

icon-location-pin Kingsford

This Indonesian Kingsford institution is known for its chicken, served six different ways (variations on satay, charcoal grilled and deep-fried). The grilled is something you’ve got to taste – it’s their speciality and is smoky and super tender. But the deep-fried is equally worth your time, with a crisp coating and chicken that’s been slowly cooked in spices for up to six hours before being fried, making for meat that is both flavourful and seriously juicy.

Advertising
5
Belles_Hot_Chicken--food-wings.jpg
Restaurants

Belle's Hot Chicken Barangaroo

icon-location-pin Barangaroo

Here at Melbourne’s beloved chicken shop, recently transported to Sydney, there’s only one thing you have to do: order the wings. The meat has been brined to seasoned tenderness and the coating is seriously crisp – so much so that it crackles as you bite into it, coming off in salty shards. Just try not to nibble at the ends where all that crunchy batter is ready and waiting for the taking. They’re served on a slice of fluffy white bread, which soaks up some of the red, spicy juices. Tear pieces off and eat them along with the meat, maybe even go rogue and make a little sambo of it.

6
Fried chicken at Mary's
Photograph: Mitch Lui
Bars

Mary's

icon-location-pin Newtown

You know Mary’s for their kickass cheeseburgers, but they do a mean fried chicken as well. Get a half, whole or even two chickens (that one’s called the Larry Bird) and they will arrive to you jointed and basketted, as crispy as you could muster on the outside, and as juicy as you could imagine on the inside. Order the silky mash and gravy on the side for maximum good times.

Advertising
7
A plate of fried chicken
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer
Restaurants, Korean

PBS Chicken

icon-location-pin Chatswood

Order the special here – it's only $9.90 and comes with a hearty serving of rice, salad, potato noodles and kongnamul (sesame seasoned mung bean salad). On the sauce front, our pick is the sweet and spicy (the gochujang-spiked, bright red spicy sauce is just on the right side of hot and not too sweet), but you can get hot spicy, soy or honey butter mustard too. They change the oil here every day, making for a clean tasting, extra crisp fried batter, and they use a mix of boneless dark and white meat to keep things extra flavoursome and juicy.

8
Anna_Kucera_Butter_14.jpg
Restaurants

Butter

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

This Surry Hills spot specialises in things that gain a cult like following: fried chicken, sneakers and ramen. If you're here for the chook though, you'll find soft tenders coated in a well seasoned batter, accompained by an excellent hot sauce that comes in four different levels of heat. Also if you have a veggo mate that's hankering for some fried chook, they also do battered mushrooms that manage to pack in a lot of the flavour you'd get from a piece of fried chicken. 

Advertising
9
Burger at Juicy Lucy
Photograph: Aristo Risi
Restaurants, Malaysian

Juicy Lucy

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

The chicken here gets an Asian twist, and it’s even free-range. We love the giant, hulking Lil Kim burger. A glossy, sweet, charred bun encases a massive wedge of crisply battered, tender-fleshed chicken, sour nuggets of kimchi, crunchy slaw and spicy Korean barbecue sauce. We’re full already, but we can’t stop eating it.

10
Customers inside ordering at Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
Restaurants

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

icon-location-pin Sydney

Everybody stay cool: you’re about to get really, really fat. But that’s OK. You’re eating Hot Star – the largest Taiwanese-style fried chicken served in a paper bag on Liverpool Street. What started off as a popular Taipei night market staple has now hit the inner city and it’s as close Sydney’s ever come to actually having street food.

Advertising
11
A bowl of fried chicken mixed in with sliced pickles at Thievery
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants

Thievery

icon-location-pin Glebe

There is so much deliciousness to choose from at this epic modern Lebanese joint in Glebe, but you really shouldn’t miss the chook. The fried chicken in the ‘LFC’ is super crisp, the meat within just cooked, keeping the juiciness intact. Its accompanying jet-black dip turns out to be squid ink infused toum (garlic sauce), complementing the meat with a sour/salty vibe. 

 

12
Basket of fried chicken with a cheek of lime on the side
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants

The Milk Bar by Cafe Ish

icon-location-pin Redfern

Sure, the burgers are famous here but given the choice, we’ll take the chicken wings any day. The menu calls them "freaking awesome" and they tell no lies. The crisp, golden joints are a far cry from their thickly battered, buffalo cousins. Forgo the traditional hot sauce and get the zingy and slightly sweet vinegar and green onion accompaniment. Sharing? You’d best be prepared to fight for the wings with the greatest sauce-to-chicken ratio.

And now for your other favourite food...

A close up shot of a beef burger with pickles, red onion and tom
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Burgers

The best burgers in Sydney

What could be more perfect than finely ground meat placed between two sweet slices of bread with cheese and pickles? Nothing, that's what. Whether you like them stacked to the nines, fat-rich and salty, veggie or vegan, here are the best burgers in Sydney.

Advertising