Finger Lickin' Good

"You in your hot tub I'm looking at you salivating,
Dry you off I got your paper towel waiting.
Baby it's like you at the spa the way you gently lay in the pan
While enjoying your butter milk treatment"

In his rap "Fried Chicken", Nas praises poultry, equating hen's legs and breasts to those of a sexy woman. Songs from A Tribe Called Quest and the Beastie Boys are flavored with finger-lickin' lyrics. From pop culture to picnics, fried chicken has always been adored. Yet, this past year, that popularity has skyrocketed and fried chicken is popping up on menus all over town. To help guide you through the flock of choices, here are three of my faves, with a multi-cultural nod to LA's diversity.


Inside Korea's infinitely yummier version of KFC, a quote on the wall reads "Healthy Food For Ecstatic Body & Soul". The word "healthy" may seem out of place in a fast food joint, but the Korean frying technique is actually less caloric than it's American counterpart. By using a thin batter and a double-fry method, the skin becomes crackly and crisp. At Kyochon, the chicken is made to order eliminating any heat-lamp induced sogginess.

First, we tried the Sweet & Hot Wings (above). Don't be fooled by the sweetness, which initially mellows the spice. These sticky snacks pack enough heat to induce tears without obliterating your taste buds. The Garlic Soy Drumsticks (right) are addictively awesome, crunchy, and exceptionally salty. Kyochon is where to go for your "fast foodie" fried chicken fix.

Susan Feniger's Street

At this mecca of international street food, fried chicken is prepared Japanese-style, Tatsua-age, where the bird is marinated in soy, mirin, and sake before being blanketed in a rice batter and fried. Thanks to this sumptuous soak, the chicken is super-succulent. Although the chewy coating isn't crisp, it is indeed tasty, especially when generously drizzled with spicy Kewpie mayo, a Japanese brand made with rice vinegar. The complimentary sides--vinegary pickled vegetables and cold soba noodles with sesame and marinated tofu--round out the entree.

Eva Restaurant

Chef Mark Gold's delectable fried chicken is only offered on Sundays, during his prix-fixe family-style suppers (which at $39 for 5-courses and all-you-can-drink wine is a steal). Gold puts a whole lotta love into his birds. First, he bathes them in buttermilk and tabasco for 24 hours. Then, after dredging the chicken in flour and spices, he chills them so that they stay coated when cooked. Rather than use a deep-fryer, he fries the chicken in a skillet, creating a super-crunchy batter without excessive grease.

Sometimes, Gold adds his fried chicken to a dish which calls for plain, ol' boneless breasts (genius!). On my birthday last year, Chicken Piccata--modeled by my friend, Heather--was elevated to extreme yum. FYI, during the summer, Eva hosted unlimited chicken & draft beer on Tuesday nights. Hopefully that tradition will continue next year!