We've declared August 11-22 Fried Chicken Fortnight. Look out for two weeks full of recipes for prime crispiness, chef tips and more.
There's nothing better than good fried chicken. In San Francisco, we've got it covered, from classic Southern iterations to killer late-night Korean fare. Here are the 10 best in the city, in no particular order.
① Frisco Fried in Bayview
The ultimate fried chicken for Southern-style obsessives. A three-piece dinner ($11, includes two sides and cornbread; $3 for a breast) offers a crisp-skinned bird bursting with juice. Sides are just as good, particularly the mashed potatoes and richly flavored collard greens.
② Memphis Minnie's in Lower Haight
Plan accordingly to try the exquisite fried chicken at Memphis Minnie's—the fried chicken plate ($11, includes a quarter bird and two sides; $5 by the piece) is served on Saturdays only. The secret to this delicious bird? It's smoked over white oak and cooled before being battered in a wet buttermilk sauce, hot sauce and a flour dredge, then fried.
③ The Front Porch in Bernal Heights
You'll find the classiest bucket of chicken in town at The Front Porch. And while it may be a little fancy, it sure is tasty—the bucket ($29 for 10 pieces of chicken) is brimming with dark-crusted bird, laced with hints of thyme and lime zest.
④ Aria Korean American Snack Bar in the Tenderloin
These are the chicken nuggets you've been waiting for. Aria's KFC ($7 for a medium with nine pieces) features boneless morsels of white and dark meat, seasoned with turmeric, then lightly dredged in Korean flours. Sauces ($1 each) include sweet and spicy and garlic soy; the tangy sour pickled radishes that come with your order brighten things up a bit.
⑤ Toyose in the Outer Sunset
It's hard to find anywhere to get food after 1 a.m. in this town. Toyose, a Korean joint tucked in a garage in the city's outer lands is both open until 3 a.m. and serves some truly excellent spicy chicken wings ($13 for 10) to boot. Wings are fried crisp, flecked with chile flakes and taste even better washed down with rounds of cold Hite beer.
⑥ San Tung in the Inner Sunset
The secret's out about San Tung's dry-fried chicken wings ($10 for 12)—you'll find crowds of people clustered outside the restaurant at all hours. The wings are worth the hype. Laced with red pepper and a strong punch of fresh ginger, they're saucier than their dry-fried name implies, but worth the sticky-fingered mess. You can get them next door at San Tung #2, too.
⑦ Dosa in Pacific Heights
Fall in love with the Indian-spiced Chennai chicken ($11). Juicy boneless nuggets of Fulton Valley chicken are marinated in Straus yogurt, cumin, and coriander, then pan-fried, so they're not super greasy. You can really taste the spices, although they don't overpower the tender meat.
⑧ Z & Y Restaurant in Chinatown
Z & Y's chicken ($11) with explosive chile pepper knows how to make an entrance: It's served on an enormous, Sichuan pepper-laden platter. And it's up to you to dig out the juicy morsels of boneless fried chicken. The cornstarch crust is delicate, and Sichuan peppercorns add a slight numbing sensation. Beware the slow-building heat; it will catch up to you eventually.
⑨ Mission Bowling Club in the Mission
You can try Mission Bowling's mad scientist fried chicken alone as well as in sandwich ($14) and brunch form ($13, with waffles). The bird is marinated in citrus and battered with a crust that includes ground-up chicken skin, amping up its meaty flavor.
⑩ Radius in SOMA
There are all kinds of fancy fried chicken on offer in town, but we can't get enough of the one ($23) at Radius. Made with a Petaluma Farms bird and coated in panko crumbs, flour, paprika, black pepper and cayenne, it's perfectly crisp and juicy, and served with flavor enhancing accompaniments: grilled little gems, thick-cut, house-smoked bacon and a bright lemon "ranch" dressing. Cali-style fried chicken? Yes, please.
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