Shut the cluck up!
by Alexander Quebec
Whether you make it at home yourself or you pick it up from one of many fast food places, fried chicken is hands down the most popular comfort foods out there.
Frying chicken was developed concurrently in both Scotland and West Africa. Both of those cooking traditions varied however, for example, the Scots did not season their chicken, while the West Africans did. It was during the times of slavery, however, where the fried chicken we know and enjoy actually was developed. Since chickens were the only livestock slaves were allowed to keep and raise, many slave cooks (who were mostly women btw) developed the recipes that we know today. However, due to the costs of the ingredients, fried chicken was reserved only for the most special of occasions.
Technology, however, brought down the costs of frying chicken, with the advent of more efficient pig breeding techniques, which brought about more lard, which gave cooks adequate amounts to fry the chicken since cooking oil was expensive, and the invention of the cast iron skillet made it much more economical to make the dish. Still, time was a factor. It wasn’t until the invention of a fried pressure cooker, first used by a certain Colonel, that the age of fast food fried chicken was born.
Second only to McDonald’s, KFC (a.k.a Kentucky Fried Chicken) has the largest presence of any fast food chain in the world, with over 5,000 chains in China (it’s biggest market to date). Within the USA, however, Chik-fil-A has actually become the number 1 most popular fried chicken chain in America within the last few years, in spite of past controversies over certain political and social issues. Meanwhile, chains such as Popeye’s and Church’s also dominate the fried chicken fast food chains, while Bojangles remains a popular fixture in the Southern US states.
As for us in California, we’re also able to enjoy an overseas chain that’s making some waves stateside. Jollibee, a chain from The Philippines, has set itself up for success in predominantly Asian American metro areas all over California and the west coast.
Wherever and however you decide to enjoy some fried chicken, just remember that it has a story deeper and more complex than just 11 herbs and spices.
Check out our slideshow of California’s best fried chicken places below
Click on the pictures for links to the restaurants, restaurants ranked in no particular order
Cover Photo: Allrecepies.com (Tripple Dipped Fried Chicken)