Napkins at the ready. From ubiquitous American specimens to regional variants – Indonesian ayam goreng, anyone? Perth has myriad ways to satisfy your fried chicken craving.
Ben Atkinson has long been considered one of Perth’s best interpreters of American cooking. So it makes sense that expectations were high when he announced he was opening a Southern American-style fried chicken joint. He didn’t disappoint. Marinated in seasoned buttermilk, dredged in multiple coats of flour and pressure-fried ‘til golden, the chook at Meat Candy is the city’s gold standard. Get your fix as pieces (thighs and drumsticks) or in a benchmark-worthy fried chicken sandwich. The retro, milk bar-inspired room, well-stocked bar and hip-hop-heavy soundtrack add to the sense of fun.
465 William Street, Northbridge
Tori karaage – Japanese fried chicken – is a staple at izakayas throughout Japan. Journeyman Perth chef Kozo “Shige” Shigeyoshi puts a neat spin on this soul food favourite by serving chunks of juicy, marinated fried chicken in a sweet and salty soy and ginger sauce. It’s unexpected, delicious and mildly addictive. It’s also one example of why Shige-san continues to feature so prominently in local Japanese food discussions, even after more than 20 years in the game.
1/18 Plain Street, East Perth; (08) 6161 0858
File 7 Grams under “unexpected”, unless, that is, specialist Korean fried chicken restaurants hiding inside cafes are commonplace in your neck of the woods. For maximum crunch, go the original fried chicken, although versions doused in chilli (sweet or spicy) and soy and garlic are also available. Cooling pickled radish and coleslaw make ideal foils for the house speciality.
410 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth; 0406 133 331
This late-night honky tonk bar – one of two tenants in the grungy house of fun and drink that is Northbridge Social – is a dangerous place for the weak of will. Share-friendly baskets of deeply seasoned, peppery fried chicken aside, Alabama Song’s serious stockpile of American whiskies has the potential to turn any visit into a real party. Consider yourself warned.
232 William Street (enter via rear laneway), Northbridge
Why did an American-Korean fried chicken store open an outlet in Victoria Park? So co-owner Jimmy Soo could open a specialist sneaker store and marry his two loves. Chimek – the name combines “chicken” and “mekju”, the Korean word for beer – is all about the pleasures of fried chicken with flavourings ranging from cayenne- and paprika-spiked Southern American marinade to a spicy Korean version served with pickled daikon.
818 Albany Highway, Victoria Park; (08) 9361 0064
Fremantle Markets; 0401 886 886
77 James Street, Northbridge; (08) 9228 3888
1 Holmes Street, Southern River; (08) 9490 5691
According to this shadowy pop-up’s Instagram, Twin Beaks serves “Perth’s best underground chicken burger”. It’s a bold claim, certainly, but not one without merit. Tracking down Twin Beaks might require no small amount of social-media stalking but your reward – pillowy rolls cradling juicy chicken fillets, zesty coleslaw and a decent lick of chilli – makes all the effort worth while (even if guests, on occasion, might have to eat in someone’s garage).
No set location
RoyAl’s Chicken & Burgers
In a short amount of time, RoyAl’s (say it royales) has established itself as one of the city’s favourite destinations for diner-style eating. Its fried chicken is a thing of crisp and juicy beauty, made with boneless thigh pieces and served with a choice of eight punchy sauces. The chicken po’boy, meanwhile, is a pleasing addition to the fried-chicken sandwich ranks.
8/885 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park; (08) 9355 0901
1/334 Cambridge Street, Wembley; (08) 9269 9049
Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken
From humble origins at a Taiwanese night market, Hot Star’s legendary head-sized chicken breasts are available around the world with the chain boasting two outposts in Perth. The name says it all. Each piece starts life as a single chicken breast that gets flattened, crumbed and fried. To finish, a dusting of Hot Star’s addictive chilli and pepper spice mix.
3/305 William Street, Northbridge; (08) 6114 1045
131 Barrack Street, Perth; 0430 717 688
Batavia Corner has long been a go-to for Indonesian comfort eating. Among its more popular items is Ayam Goreng Krispy Kremes, a Javanese specialty of deep-fried chicken showered with crisp, golden flakes of fried rice flour. By turns juicy, crunchy and spicy, it’s reason enough to set sail for this family-run eatery in Victoria Park.
912 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park; (08) 6364 0808
Mary Street Bakery
Mary Street’s fried chicken buttermilk pancakes are Perth’s unofficial recovery breakfast. A luxe, Asian-accented remake of the popular fried chook and waffle one-two, this hearty brunch dish is enriched with chilli, fish sauce and a golden fried egg. For more acute cases of morning-after regret, bloody marys – among other hair-of-the-dog remedies – are available at the Highgate mothership.
507 Beaufort Street, Highgate; 0499 509 300
272 Railway Parade, West Leederville; 0498 880 012
250 Street Georges Terrace, Perth; 0499 869 250
Top image: 7 Grams