Dining

Migratory Bird

A geography lesson on fried chicken

We thought the fried chicken trend had hit critical mass last year. But like Joan Rivers, the perennial favorite continues to reinvent itself (sometimes in ghastly ways).

This time around, the crispy-coated bird is drawing on global influences. Here's your map to NYC's Chicken World:

U.S. South In the school of Southern cooking, we've learned quite a bit from Elizabeth Karmel--first with barbecue at Hill Country, and now with authentic Southern fried chicken at Hill Country Chicken. This new cafeteria-style restaurant offers two styles of the bird; opt for the Mama El's, which takes a dip in buttermilk brine before getting its craggy Saltine crust. For those who want to venture beyond avian proceedings, the deep-fried pimento-cheese sandwich delivers what its name suggests: a fried white-bread pocket that oozes with molten filling.

Korea The menu at East Village infant Mono + Mono is extensive, but we advise staying focused on the house specialties: fried chicken and jazz. The former boasts an exterior to marvel at: Double fried, the skin is crisped to the point of an audible shatter when eaten and protects well-seasoned meat within. Adventurers should try the spicy variety, but we also enjoyed the classic soy-and-garlic version, which you can finish off while listening to one of 30,000 jazz LPs that line the walls.

Mexico Unlike the fusion food truck of a similar name, the food at MexiBBQ requires an excursion to Queens. The mash-up of barbecue and Mexican fare has engendered items like tequila-marinated beef brisket and mac and cheese with huitlacoche. But we're particularly fond of the international relations taking place in a cornmeal- and ancho-dusted fried chicken, which we folded into corn tortillas with a smear of guacamole.

Hill Country Fried Chicken 1123 Broadway New York NY 10010 212-257-6446 Mono + Mono 116 E. 4th St. New York NY 10003 212-466-6660 MexiQ Kitchen and Draught 37-11 30th Ave. New York NY 11103 718-626-0333

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