Food & Drink Mar 18, 2010 at 4:00 am

The Meaning and the Eating of the World's Best Food


Nearly everything you said about fried chicken I believe to be correct. I should add, however, that Kansas is the fried chicken capital of the world.

I will be finding some on Sunday.
charles, please,

you must amend this by adding reviews of Kingfish Cafe, Ezells, and KFC. otherwise, this article is incomplete.
Damn it, now I'm craving fried chicken. I can only indulge a few times a year or it might become a habit and my metabolism would not sustain a weekly serving!
So which is the best in the city?
@2: KFC? Seriously? Sure it's common and popular, but I'd never think of it as anywhere near "great". If I had a hankering for good, crispy fried chicken, KFC would be my last resort. Of course, I'm no pro on fried chicken.

Ezells, though... now THAT'S finger lickin' good!
Ezell's is such a glaring exception, surely you have an opinion?
While it's gone a bit downhill the last year or two, the Shell gas station @ Corson Ave and Michigan St in Georgetown has some amazing fried chicken. It is very out-of-place, but for those times when a trip to Ezell's is a bit out of the way...
Ezell's is OK. Kingfish is so-so. KFC is fucking terrible. The only fast-food fried chicken that's any good is Popeye's, and we don't have Popeye's. But if you want REAL fried chicken, REAL GOOD fried chicken, you go to Tacoma and eat at Southern Kitchen. Just don't ask for chitlins; the woman will tell you "oh, you don't know what you're talking about, white boy, you don't want no chitlins, you want the fried chicken". And the fried okra. Oh, my god, the fried okra.
BBQ Chicken in the U-district is overpriced, their service is slow and indifferent (a Yelper's worst nightmare in these regards)-- but their olive-oil fried chicken and various flavor-shellacked wings are delicious. BBQ chicken doesn't serve anything BBQ (I've heard it's Engrish for Beri-Best-Quality which is the best explanation possible), just decent Korean bar food and really great fried chicken.
DAAAMN Fnarf! I moved here from Atlanta 6 years ago and I still miss Popeye's!! That being said, my chicken is the best in town. Sadly, it's pretty much invite-only. I took me a while to get decent greens, too...

And yeah, I keep Ice tea in an old glass milk jug in the fridge...
There is a Popeyes in in Burlington about an hour north of Seattle.
There's a Popeye's in Renton that's closer than the one in Burlington. Mmm Popeye's.
get a decent food writer Stranger...geez. charles should not be reduced to this kind of dribble. seriously, is this an article merely to incite debate? boooooooring.
Yes, KFC is shit, but it should be included as a base, most folks around here know it, so it makes for good comparisons. Ezell's being left out is strange it's the most popular answer I've gotten when looking for good fried chicken and would have made a good Seattle specific substitute for KFC with regards to comparisons. But for the love of gravy could someone please explain to me the appeal of Popeye's I've been to the one in Renton and found it inedible.
The Popeyes here are not as good as the ones in the south. But they are just about the only place you can get dirty rice (oops, Popeyes calls it 'Cajun Rice') when you get that craving. My personal best fried chicken vote goes to Jacques Imo's in New Orleans.
@2 we've had this discussion before ezell's? whatevs.. kingfish ? way too expensive, kfc ? child, please !!! charles.. next time you get to red apple ..walk a few blocks to the stop 'n rob on the nw corner at the intersection of jackson and mlk jr..
africans making fried chicken and nothing else.. no biscuits, no potatoes no nothing else..if you get there when it's fresh out the fryer make sure you get a hot pickled pepper and a mike's hard lemonade..
and the salt and pepper chiicken wings at sea garden will do in a pinch.. as will the chicken wings at the twilight exit.
@ 7 - Yes! I was going to mention the Shell station chicken but you beat me to it! Sad to hear they've gone downhill a bit.. Hhmm, I moved out of the neighborhood a couple of years ago..... Coincidence?!?!?!

@ 8 - OMG fried okra! Thank GOD it's all the way down in Tacoma.... I don't know as I'd be able to resist a local source for that stuff, it's damned addictive...
@2 and @17
Seattle Crawfish King in the ID also has some pretty good fried okra.
@8 - Thank you thank you thank you! It's pretty much impossible to find fried okra in Seattle. I gave up and just started doing my own every now and then, which is damn tasty, but not the same. I see a trip to Tacoma in my near future...
The Ballard firestation restaurant Hi-life has fried chicken dinners on Sunday -- Trust me, it's the best 12.95 you'll spend this month.
Do you have Church's Fried Chicken there? It's the best chain in my neck, thigh, and drumstick of the woods. So crisp, yet not too much breading on the plump juicy hot meat.
..fried chicken and waffles....mmmm....syrup.....mmmm....more chicken please....yes, ma'm, another waffle would be fine...mmmmmm.......
Hi youse,

Not certain where the capital of fried chicken is, but having returned from a recent tokyo trip: I'm assured that tokyo salarymen are deepily read in the multitude of edible fried chicken.

The history of cooking chickens in japan is much older than tales of the the us south, indeed even older than recorded breeding in africa.

A simple visit to Hotto Motto may tell wonders. If you want fried chicken (any part of the damned beast), head to japan.

It's only on special occasions you can find gizzards, liver or heart (and ass, either fatty or not) on the menus here. -- Though as CM mentions, there are noteworthy examples. In my opionion, his flailing hides both Maneki or Tsukushinbo. But who wouldn't?


Charles's article needs a more complete title: It should be "The Fried-Chicken Ideal...Within Walking Distance of My Apartment." But then, one could add that verbiage to almost everything The Stranger produces.

Maybe Savage could buy a company car, so Stranger employees could actually cover the city they purport to represent? Apparently, foot, bike and bus just don't cut it.

schmacky: you're far to kind. C'mon, how'd this rag afford the expense bill???? Why is there now this lame (blog) featгку?

With all sincerity, after having just visited (by metro no less) an eastside Nippon shop. My assertion bout the ID still stands. If ya want fried Gallus, the ID is the place to shop.


Fnarf - there isna Popeyes in Renton.I've never found it very good though.
Have you ever done any manual labor in a rural area? The last thing a person wants is deep-fried stuff after a long day in the sun. I think you just made that up because you thought it sounded romantic.
@27, what else is a pastoral?
You went to Janney? I had no idea you were a fellow DC person, if only for a relatively short time.
@21, there's a Church's Chicken in Federal Way by the Best Buy. I've had it a couple times, it's great fast food fried chicken.
I could never fry chicken like my mama until I got a woodstove. Then again, I kept trying to make the beef liver I was cooking into the pork liver she'd cooked (I just found out they're both beat by rabbit liver; what's up doc?).
Have any of you had fresh from the fryer KFC? It's fantastic! They use a pressure cooker to cook their chicken, which as far as i know, is the only place besides Wendy's to do so. It cooks hotter and faster creating a better crunch and a juicier piece of meat with less oil.

I know it's not very hipster or slow foodie of me to say that KFC has good fried chicken, but i eat what's good not what people want to believe is good.

BTW - I have had fried chicken from Ezelle's (skyway and CD), Kingfish, Quick Pak (stop-n-rob), Popeyes and Church's, so it's not like i haven't done comparison shopping. My vote for best chicken is KFC followed closely by Quick Pak. Don't beleive me? Go to KFC order a bucket of original recipe and tell them to fry it up fresh and that you don't mind waiting. You will be rewarded.

This Southern boy seconds that call for Southern Kitchen in Tacoma. It's the real deal. Good chicken, good sides. Don't let Sister Herself tell you you can't eat chitlins if you want 'em, just make sure you ask for a bottle of hot sauce when you order.

Ezell's is pretty damn good. I'll give some of these suggestions a try, though. Maybe stop into Howell Street Grocery tonight and go sit in Cal Anderson Park for dinner...
Whoah, how could you write an article surveying seattle fried chicken and leave out the korean places?!!!?
There is a small Ethiopian market place on Jackson, between MLK and 28th (close to the Promenade Red Apple). It doesn't have a name, just a hand painted sign "Hot chicken, Cold Beer." I was running errands for the NW Hip-hop Leadership Conference, and was sent there for a pile of legs and wings. It was easily the best fried chicken I have ever had, and that is saying something given the amount of time I've spent in the deep south. Since I bought every piece of chicken they had, the owner threw in a bottle of his homemade jerk sauce (seemed weird for an Ethiopian place, but it was pretty good).

It used to be easy, when I was in the neighborhood I stopped at Catfish Corner. Now I have to think about getting chicken too.
Holy f*cking hell... There are Church's here?? I guess I'll be making a minor roadtrip this weekend...
i read this on saturday morning. about thirty minutes later, my GF and I were sitting on the giant wall across from Ezell's eating chicken out of a box. power of suggestion.
Korean fried chicken, Ethiopian fried chicken...what a load of chicken-fried crap. If it's economy-priced chicken in the Capitol Hill area you want, Ezell's has you covered. Beware the Kwik-E-Marts and gas stations, with their rancid-smelling oil; tread carefully amongst grocery-deli fryers unless you get to know the key people personally (as did I at the Broadway QFC). That white boy fried better chicken for the price than anywhere in town.

All the lesser-tier venues (those for whom fried chicken is not regularly AND competently offered [sorry, Kentucky Fried Chihuahua] subject their patrons to a sort of jerky roulette: get there at the "wrong" time of day or night, and they, with a straight face, will gladly sell you something that REI could use to reinforce a snowshoe.

Why I am I so adamant? I lived in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, in which there were intersections with a different chicken shack on each corner, such as a Church's, a Popeye's, and two different indie joints.

There WAS a time in the Swish Alps of Seattle when one could score Ezell's AND Helen's on one's day off. Since Helen's Soul Food Kitchen moved from the Hill to Auburn, it's hard to know if the greens are still just right.

I enjoyed that combo with a 750mL of Black Velvet Reserve (cheaper and older than V.O.) with ice-cold Coke on the rocks.
Back in happier times, an Asian couple ran a space in front of the Buttnick Building that had some of the best chicken ever. Fried to order perfection.

Charles, this was a very thoughtful review, and a nice jumping off point. No need to include the other three. I think most everyone knows that Ezell's is a local stand by that needs no further introduction. Been to the new one in the LC. People wait up to 90 minutes for an order, and they don't mind in the least. I consider them a local chain that makes KFC unnecessary. After enjoying Popeye's in AZ, I was excited to find them in Renton, but it was so so, not like Red Apple or Buttnick. As Riz said, it pays to know who's behind the fryer. The Shell Kwik-E-Mart in Castle Rock still has some of the best fried anything. Worth the trip to Mt St Helens.
There is a little mini mart at around Orcas and Rainier that has hella good fried chicken. Plus, you used to be able to get rock out front. Dunno anymore cuz i've been off the pipe for awhile.
While Taste of Chicago(in the U district) doesn't specialize in chicken. Their fried chicken wings are the bomb!!! This are monster whole wings. After eating 3 with fries & cole slaw I was FULL

Chicky Pub.
There are hundreds of fried chicken recipes out there. I know I've tried a good many of them. No resturant or fast food joint can beat home made. I really enjoyed your blog, thanks.

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