Fried chicken is omnipresent in London. Originating from Scottish (chicken, fried, unseasoned) and West African (chicken, fried, seasoned) traditions, the dish’s London history can be traced back to Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’. London’s first experience of ‘American’ fried chicken (as it’s known today) came with the opening of Kentucky Fried Chicken in North Finchley during 1968. Countless accessibly priced chicken shops have since opened and become pillars of local communities, followed by a clutch of new establishments — all united by a ubiquitous passion for one of the world’s favourite comfort foods.Read More
The Best Fried Chicken in London
Where to find the crispiest American, Indian, Korean, Dominican, Syrian, and Taiwanese fried birds across London
Across the road from White Hart Lane, Chick King has been operating since 1981. A family-run business launched by twin brothers, this Tottenham chicken shop offers tremendous value, offering a simple menu mainly comprised of chicken portions, burgers and standard side dishes. Chips are thick cut, hot wings are deftly fried and coated in breadcrumbs, which add pleasing textural depth, and the chicken fillet burger is huge, costing just £2.30.
When Elijah Quashie’s YouTube series ‘The Pengest Munch’ went viral in 2016, Eden Cottage regulars were furious. Since the glowing review began to cause a stir, business has been booming at the Finsbury Park chicken shop, with prices having marginally increased. A ‘strip burger’, three spicy wings and regular fries now costs £2.49, rather than £1.99. Nonetheless, the strip burger remains a must try. Fries are disappointing but the chicken wings are succulent, crispy and aggressively seasoned: arguably some of London’s best.
The Best Broasted
On a site in Willesden Green which has always seemed to be a Syrian restaurant, the normality of The Best Broasted’s menu is only punctured by the appearance of broasted chicken ─ a deep-fried and pressure-cooked one-two combo knock-out that can cook a whole chicken in 15-20 minutes, escaping its Wisconsin origins to take off across the Middle East. The result is chicken juicer than its jagged exterior gives it any right to be, but that’s actually not what to come for. The best thing is the potatoes that come with it, huge coins that at some points are cooked to the appearance of a fresh Pringle and at others puff up like pommes soufflés, with a font of outrageously garlicky toum to baptise them.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
A massive U.S. chain turned the hypometer up to 100 when it opened in Stratford’s Westfield shopping centre in the autumn of 2021. The reason the fast food outlet still continues to draw such queues daily might well be to do with its brilliantly tender, judiciously seasoned, crisp fried, peppery fried chicken which, while so common in London in 2022, still somehow tastes like the most American fried chicken in the city. For better or worse.
Chick 'n' Sours
Unsurprisingly focussing on fried chicken and sour cocktails, Chick ‘n’ Sours’ original Haggerston restaurant has just reopened, following a two-month hiatus and interior makeover. As well as procuring a new basement bar, the restaurant has a new menu format and plenty of new dishes. The ‘Ssam Style Half Fry’, for instance, features half a chicken that’s pressure cooked on the bone and served with lettuce cups, pickles, kimchi and ssamjang barbecue sauce. Moreover, the restaurant’s famed sandwiches are still available alongside whole fried chickens served on Sundays.
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Koya Ko Hackney
A side dish always worth ordering: Kara-age fried chicken here sees all parts of the chopped bird marinated in soy sauce and ginger brine first, then double fried with potato starch, which lends the crunch real thickness and structure. It is accompanied by a vinegary soy-based sauce, referred to by the kitchen as “Negi sauce (Negi=onion) with lots of chopped nira chives (kow choi), minced leek, and ginger.
Initially a street food stall on Broadway Market, Butchies’ first bricks and mortar site opened in Shoreditch last year. Buttermilk-fried chicken is the main draw here, using high-welfare, free-range chickens from Somerset. On the menu, burgers are prioritised; served like skyscrapers. ‘The Original’ has a chicken fillet at its core, cloaked with well-seasoned, gently spiced and inordinately crispy batter, served in a brioche bun with garlic and herb mayonnaise, shredded lettuce and house pickles. Butchies’ award-winning winglets are also worth tasting, deep-fried then slathered with kimchi, honey and butter.
Good Friend Chicken
From outside, Good Friend looks like a typical outer London chicken shop. Taiwanese fried chicken is the specialty here, however, like that found in the night markets of Taiwan. Various cuts are available, each marinated, coated in three different flours then deep-fried twice. The chicken breast isn’t particularly cheap, but it’s surprisingly vast, thinly sliced to provide a larger surface area for the impossibly crisp batter to shield. A selection of at least ten flavoured seasonings (cumin, curry, ‘mouth numbing’ spice) also line the counter. The slightly sweet plum powder is a must-try.
Regardless of its legions of loyal fans, BAO is not a fried chicken institution. In fact, the classic bao filled with slow-braised pork belly and peanut powder is, perhaps, the kitchen’s most cherished offering. The Taiwanese fried chicken bao, however, is revelatory. Thigh meat is used instead of less exciting breast, shrouded with thin batter and stacked into a steamed milk bun, quickly finished on the grill. It’s still almost impossible to get a seat, but the fried chicken bao (and the pig blood cake) is worth queuing for.
On the surface, it’s a Colombian cafe, but to those in the know, it’s one of London’s best fried chicken joints. Maria Luisa Riascos-Solis’ Colombian and Venezuelan dishes, including excellent beef empanadas, disguise the real speciality, which is pica pollo — a Dominican obsession, KFC amped-up and given the full Latin American treatment. For £15, get five big fried pieces of brined, spiced thigh, drumstick and wing, along with pork belly and bofes (lung jerky). (The downstairs part of the arch La Barra is housed in normally closes around 8 p.m.)
One of many chicken shops on Rye Lane, Roosters Hut is a restorative institution for late night snacking — open until 3am on Friday and Saturday. While the chicken isn’t necessarily the best in the area, Rooster Hut’s happy-go-lucky attitude and understated charm is appealing; as are the menu prices. Order the two-piece combo, featuring two chicken portions, two spicy wings, two barbecue wings and fries, all washed down with a can of strawberry Mirinda.
Morley’s Fried Chicken
A south London institution, Morley’s was launched in 1985. The company has since grown exponentially, with more than 30 franchises, mostly south of the river. A quintessential London chicken shop with its red neon signage, vividly lit interior and late opening hours, Morley’s numerous outposts champion competitively cheap fried chicken and sticky barbecue ribs. Morley’s fried chicken is liberally spiced with a secret blend of spices, far superior to big-named high street rivals. You’ll also struggle to spend more than £5 per head.
Chick and Beers
Korean restaurant Chick and Beers is barely two years old, but already has a second outlet and boasts some of the best fried chicken in the city, with attention to detail lavished on each piece, particularly on one of the most overlooked parts of frying chicken: the butchery. Breasts are cleaved in half with the rib bones connected to underpin them, helping to maintain moisture throughout the fry. Intelligently portioned thighs and legs accompany, producing a whole portioned bird that Jacques Pépin would be happy with. Specify preferred heat level: The standard spicy is more of a sweet hot, and a few notches below the average sweet chilli, but the staff promise to blow the head off anyone willing.