When you’re craving fried chicken, Sydney has no shortage of potential. Veritable connoisseurs of the cuisine, Sydneysiders know just how succulent and moreishly crispy a piece of fried chicken should be, in all its crunchy, battered glory. Regardless of your chook preference, Sydney has plenty to choose from – be it classic Southern-style or spicy Korean.
We’ve tasted our way around the city’s finest fried offerings to bring you the juiciest chicken fare you can get your greasy hands on. Oh, and did we mention it’s National Fried Chicken Day on Saturday? We know where we’ll be heading this weekend…
Small and understated, Flying Tong’s intimate Korean eatery focuses on two things: chicken and beer. And they do it with effortless flair. Their Korean fried chicken is of the tastiest, crispiest variety, and comes in four different flavours – a thick, salty American style batter; spicy chilli; salty-soy and garlic with sesame and spring onion; and their house favourite – sweet chilli sauce with peanuts and parsley. Save room for their sriracha-topped fries, spicy rice balls and their cheesy corn, baked in lashings of bubbling melted mozzarella. Mmmmm.
99 Enmore Road, Newtown
When you’re served fried chicken from Michelin star-trained chefs, you know to expect big things. And when we say big, we mean big. The fried chicken is prepared in a smoker for that authentic, smoked barbecue flavour. There are plenty of iterations to choose from too – fried chicken pieces, chicken Schnitties, and of course the signature burgers that come fried to perfection in buttermilk batter and served with cabbage slaw, house pickles, American cheese and topped with your choice of truffle or chipotle aioli, Motherclucker hot sauce, peri peri mayo or their secret burger sauce.
If you’re feeling particularly indulgent opt for The Big Bird – served with two pieces of fried chicken, double cheese, lettuce, onion, house pickles and secret burger sauce, this mammoth creation is not for the fainthearted.
Locations in The Orange Grove, Balmain; The Marrickville Ritz, Marrickville; The Horse, Crown Street, Surry Hills
Brined and seasoned right down to the bone, Paper Bird’s Asian-style fried chicken certainly doesn’t scrimp on flavour. The skin is coated in a soy and maple syrup sauce, for added sweetness and stickiness, before being coated in a crispy deep-fried batter. Pure indulgence.
46a Macleay Street, Potts Point
Love trainers? Champagne? Fried chicken? Lucky for you there’s a place serving up this golden trifecta. As you consider your impending sneaker purchase, tuck in to The Chicken Sandwich with pickles, dashi butter and a side of slaw. The house 3 Pac undoubtedly packs a punch, with one thigh piece, two tenders and a side of slaw with your choice of heat, and the Size 13’s box is for those with big feet and an even bigger appetite – four thigh pieces, nine tenders, two sides of slaw and three sauces will confidently fill any shoes or stomach.
6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills
Taking Barangaroo by storm, Belle’s Hot Chicken is just that – and boy, who knew a heat kick could be so addictive? Serving up chicken ribs slathered in peach BBQ sauce, tenders, drumsticks and wings with heat intensity ranging from Southern, to Hot, to Really F**kin Hot – just beware of what you’re letting yourself in for. The Mississippi Comeback sauce is not to be missed, and make sure you add a side of the Carolina Slaw to your order too.
Locations in Barangaroo; Darling Square, Haymarket; Tramsheds, Forest Lodge
Opulent, lavish and glamorous – not exactly the first thoughts that spring to mind when you think of a fried chicken joint. But this lavish late-night hangout, in all its neon pink and Queen B/Jay-Z glory, serves the best chicken and waffles around. And with a 90s hip-hop soundtrack too. Winning.
16 O’Connell Street, CBD
Southern-style fried chicken doesn’t come much better than this. Thirsty Bird’s rigorous preparation process of brining, air drying and seasoning makes for some of the city’s most succulent chicken around. You can indulge for as little as $4.50 for one piece, but to be honest you’re much better off committing to three and a sauce for $13.
While the popular approach may to be to order a single side as your meal’s accompaniment, with choices including waffle fries, mac n’ cheese with bacon, mixed pickles and buffalo wings, you’ll be hard-pushed not order one of everything. Wave goodbye to self-control and demolish a Katsu burger with Japanese crumbed chicken, kewpie mayo and tonkatsu sauce.
3/2-14 Bayswater Road, Potts Point
This playful Lebanese restaurant does things differently – this is street food in its most adventurous form. The signature LFC (Lebanese Fried Chicken to the non-regulars) draws in the crowds with its wondrous infusion of flavours. Seasoned with 72 different herbs and spices, this piece of poultry will stop you in its tracks. Served perfectly crisp, the meat is cooked to perfection – succulent and juicy on the inside, crunchy on the out – and comes accompanied with a tangy squid ink toum (black garlic mayo), for an added sour and salty finish.
91 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Transport your taste buds to Tokyo at Bar Ume – their Koji fried chicken is out of this world. Drizzled in your choice of either Japanese mayo, Tonkatsu sauce, nori mayo, Yuzu kosho mayo or mentai mayo, you won’t leave disappointed. The Chicken Katsu Burgers topped with shredded cabbage and Tonkatsu sauce are pretty darn good too.
Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo and 478 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
When it comes to chicken, Wish Bone really knows their stuff. The birds here are brined for 24 hours to make them super plump and juicy, before coating them generously in a sprinkling of signature spices. And that’s not all. After the plumping comes the bathing. And when we say bathed, naturally we mean vacuum cooked then soaked in buttermilk before frying – because crunchy buttermilk batter really does make all the difference. And it tastes even better with their tangy homemade chilli sauce. This is next-level fried chicken.
125 Enmore Road, Enmore
Famed for their legendary burgers – their cheeseburgers are one of Sydney’s finest – but their fried chicken is super tasty too. Order in burger form or by the half, whole or even double bird (the Larry Bird), and they’ll come served jointed, juicy and moreishly crispy, coated in a crunchy golden batter crumb. Throw in the cheesy loaded fries, fried cauliflower or mash and gravy for the ultimate feast.
Locations in 6 Mary Street, Newtown; 154 Castlereagh Street, CBD
Best known for their epic burgers – with a name like Burger Project, you know what to expect – but if a cheeseburger just won’t cut it, opt for their delicious Southern-fried chicken instead. Served in bun form, this sizzling, crispy combo features a delicious mélange of Lilydale chicken breast, deep-fried in a crispy batter coating, topped with aioli and pickles, or go Deluxe with added tomato, lettuce and cheese. There are plenty of extras to choose from too – think triple-smoked bacon, house-made salted red chilli and house-pickled jalapenos – to pimp your burger to the max.
Forget K.F.C. – Juicy Lucy is your new favourite chicken joint. Free-range fried chicken with an Asian twist – Juicy Lucy isn’t fancy, but what it lacks in frills, it more than makes up for in flavour. The fried chook here comes drenched in South-East Asian spices, for an added flavour hit, and when in burger form, finished with spicy kimchi, slaw and pickles, then drizzled with a creamy Sriracha mayo or spicy peri peri dressing. Sink your teeth into crispy tenders, drumettes or a mixed box cooked Korean BBQ style, or sweet and sticky. Finish off with a few sides and sauces – potato gems, garlic rice or hot peanut curry sauce.
416-418 Anzac Parade, Kingsford
Ok, this chicken joint isn’t technically in Sydney, it’s on the way out – in the departure lounge at Sydney’s international airport. Nevertheless, it’s well worth a pre-flight stop off. A Luke Mangan creation, Chicken Confidential uses organic chicken from Queensland’s Inglewood Farms. This a real step up from your average burger.
The Yes Ma’am fried chicken burger with lettuce, tomato, red onion pickle and confidential sauce rings true to those punchy Southern style flavours, whilst the Gangnam Style, with crispy Korean style fried chicken, pickled vegetables, herbs and kimchi sauce delivers a heavy hit of umami. The ultimate taste fest. Add a caramel or double vanilla shake, and you’ve got yourself the perfect fried chicken combo.
Terminal 1 International Airport, Mascot