Feisty Fried Chicken - Eat Cheap - March 2012 - Atlanta Magazine

Feisty Fried Chicken


It’s an axiom that Southerners feel proprietary about fried chicken: We perfected the art of the crusty, dribbly, ecstatically greasy gospel bird. Or did we? Chicken cooked by submerging it in some form of roiling fat exists in nearly every culture on the planet. Exploring Atlanta’s international food scene yields astonishingly diverse examples: The eight below* (including two very different Southern styles) represent the finest around.

Illustration by Jason Ford

Busy Bee Cafe 
810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, 404-522-9812
Origin Classic Southern
Style Brined for twelve hours; dredged with flour, salt, and pepper; and dunked in peanut oil
Crust Sheer and crackling, with a soulful taste that makes fried chicken lovers grow sentimental
Price/Amount $11.99, includes two sides and a cornbread muffin or dinner roll
Order With Collards (or better yet, turnip greens if available) and mac and cheese

Greenwood's on Green Street 
1087 Green Street, Roswell, 770-992-5383
Origin Rebel Southern
Style “Wet batter” method, dipped just before frying in locally grown and processed canola oil
Crust Ridges and ripples of nubbly, peppery coating, doused with honey and pepper vinegar
Price/Amount $14.95 for a half chicken, ample to share
Order With Comes with a choice of two generous sides; go for the broccoli casserole and mashed potatoes

Rincon Latino 
5055 Buford Highway, 770-936-8181
Origin Salvadoran
 Bronzed, mostly boneless two-bite morsels with accompaniments for DIY tacos
Crust No crust, but fried long enough that the exterior is extra-crisp
Price/Amount $9.99, includes rice pilaf, refried beans, fried plantains, and handmade tortillas
Order With Pupusas—masa cakes filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables

Bo Bo Garden 
5181 Buford Highway, Doraville, 678-547-1881
Origin Cantonese (called “crispy garlic flavor chicken”)
Style Deep-fried whole, cut into fist-sized pieces, and topped with frizzled garlic and scallions
Crust None, but the golden skin crackles magnificently in contrast to the juicy meat
Price/Amount $9.50 for a half bird; $20 for a whole bird
Order With Ask for gai lan (Chinese broccoli), an off-the-menu side dish

BBQ Chicken 
3473 Old Norcross Road, Duluth, 678-417-6464
Origin Korean
Style Part of a franchise that differentiates itself by frying in olive oil
Crust Thick and crunchy, reminiscent of American fast-food fried chicken but less greasy
Price/Amount $9.45 for half order (five pieces, enough for two; biscuit and sides extra)
Order With Crispy-fried green beans

Sushi House Hayakawa 
5979 Buford Highway, 770-986-0010

Origin Japanese
Style Karaage, an appetizer portion of chicken nuggets seasoned with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce
Crust Delicate, similar to tempura with flecks of pepper
Price/Amount $5.50, includes a silky mayonnaise dipping sauce
Order With Sapporo or other Japanese beer

Fil-Am Star Cafe
5150 Buford Highway, Doraville, 404-590-6632

Origin Filipino
Style Bone-in pieces, simmered in its soy sauce–based marinade and then deep-fried
Crust None; banana ketchup and a garlicky dipping sauce add needed flavor oomph
Price/Amount $7.95 for a half chicken (includes sweet-and-sour soup)
Order With Lumpia, snacky Filipino eggrolls stuffed with pork and shrimp

Cardamom Hill
1700 Northside Drive, 404-549-7012

Origin South Indian
Style Marinated, boneless chicken pieces, dashed with a lively mango sauce
Crust Fine-crumbed breading perfumed with spices and a drizzle of aromatic coconut oil
Price/Amount Frequently available as part of a $13 four-dish lunch thali that also includes rice, dal soup, and salad
Order With Ask for lemon pickle on the side for a bit of extra pop

*Note that each of these is deep-fried; pan-frying, though it makes for exquisite fried chicken, is a messier, more time-consuming practice that has sadly disappeared from our restaurant culture.

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