The fried chicken war continues, but what makes a fried chicken?
So what makes the perfect fried chicken? Is it the succulent flesh, the golden breading, or the perfect crunch? Widely available locally and abroad, fried chicken continues to be the mainstay in the culinary repertoire of local citizens as well as foreign expatriates. Whether you are a bona fide chicken lover, a chicken skeptic, or a vegan, the mere mention of Kentucky Fried Chicken or McDonald’s Ayam Goreng will make your mouth water incessantly. It is little wonder that Malaysians have always been obsessed with fried chicken, be it franchised or hawker-styled.
Fried chicken is easily the number one comfort food in Malaysia. It is generally consumed with rice or bread, but often eaten on its own. Not only can you readily find this delicious poultry in fast-food chains, you may also discover them in stalls, cafes and restaurants everywhere. Fried chicken is so prevalent or widespread that they are available almost anywhere, easy to prepare, and good to eat. Fried chicken is also regarded as the ultimate poor man’s sin food. The sight of fried chicken is enough to make you salivate and crave for this glorious finger food!
Since Malaysia is world renowned as a food haven or gastronomic paradise, fried chicken is never short on supply. Yet the demand for fried chicken continues to grow by the day. Fried chicken complements classic dishes or delicacies like nasi kandar, nasi kukus, nasi lemak, and nasi ayam. They are also the standard accompaniment to the traditional chicken rice. The best fried chicken are often prepared fresh from whole poultry to produce a scrumptious combination of crispy skin and juicy meat. Fried chicken is wildly popular among Malaysians since it is readily available all year round. A trip to your nearest fast food establishment will result in a close encounter with a plethora of fried chicken on the menu. Nonetheless, there is no better fried chicken than kampong fried chicken which is often synonymous with mom’s home cooking – all mothers would surely approve!
The Branded Name
Fried chicken has always been closely linked or associated with global franchises and international brand names such as KFC, McDonald’s, A&W, Texas Chicken, Popeye, Marrybrown, and the list goes on and on. In Malaysia, the jury is still out on which is the best fried chicken out there. With all the mixed reviews pertaining to fried chicken, it is no wonder that ordinary folks would have a hard time discerning his or her palette on what constitutes a good fried chicken, let alone a great one! Of course, the King of Fried Chicken would most probably go to Kentucky Fried Chicken. With Colonel Sander’s eleven original herbs and spices, it would certainly be a no brainer! On the other hand, the newly-rebranded McDonald’s Ayam Goreng has got a new fiery and spicy kick to its line of red-hot crispy fried chickens. McD’s aggressive and strategic marketing campaign coupled with its ingenious YouTube viral videos have created an extraordinary impact upon consumers and hyped up demand from chicken lovers nationwide. Whether or not this fad or gimmick will last (or sustainable), remains to be seen in the long run. However, KFC addicts and loyalists alike will gladly dispel or brush off McD’s challenge amid all the hotair or brouhaha surrounding its revamped fried chicken.
The Golden Crunch
There is also the crunch factor to consider – which is the degree of crunchiness of the fried chicken in question. For hardcore fans and aficionados alike, the crunchy fried chicken is their preferred style. As one digs deeper into the white tender flesh, the familiar crackling sound of the crispy skin breaking under pressure with each and every bite of the fried chicken is indeed music to one’s ears, as with most fried chicken lovers. In short, golden crunch equals satisfying brunch!
The Exquisite Taste
Nothing beats the taste of the “Original Recipe Fried Chicken by Kentucky”. Perhaps this statement still rings true if it was uttered a decade ago. Since KFC has long dominated the fried chicken retail market, other players have emerged to challenge KFC’s longstanding best fried chicken crown. Nevertheless, the divine and heavenly taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken has undoubtedly stood the test of time, with many variations, offshoots and copycats along the way. Many have tried to recreate Colonel Sander’s original recipe but have fallen flat instead. Some even came close to emulating KFC’s secret recipe but could not sustain their business like KFC did. Naturally, eating KFC overtime would get anyone bored. That is why there are so many options out there in the fried chicken marketplace. McD might be a relatively newcomer to the fried chicken scene unlike KFC, but their spicy and crispy fried chicken has already taken Malaysians by storm. True to its fiery nature and tasty flavour, McD Ayam Goreng comes in two variants – one original, the other spicy. The spicy version is spicier, more breaded and much crunchier – which one to choose depends on how well you take spice or crunch.
Juicy Succulent Flesh
There is no better way to enjoy a delicious piece of fried chicken than to savour its soft and succulent flesh. The white meat of chicken certainly goes well being fried, or deep fried for that matter. Indeed, poultry always tastes good when they are deep fried, in particular fried chicken. The hot oil penetrates the white meat and cooks the tender flesh to perfection. For best results, always use breaded chicken, as the golden crunch is what you should be looking for in an ideal fried chicken. Succulence is a tell-tale sign of freshness, and freshness translates to yummy!
So the next time you opt for your fave fried chicken, go straight for the succulent meat. Dry, tough and rubbery meat is sometimes what you get from overcooking (or to be precise) over-frying fried chicken. So the rule of thumb for the perfect fried chicken with succulent meat is to undercook the fried chicken, and let it rest to continue cooking whilst steaming hot on the kitchen counter-top. Bon appetit!