Southern-style, Korean-spiced or straight outta Chinatown, it doesn’t get better than fried chicken. And while Philadelphia’s new school chain, Federal Donuts, might have put the bird back on the map, there are plenty of other places where you can get your deep-fried fix.
Korean Fried Chicken at Cafe Soho
This K-Pop paradise might be out of the way, but there’s no place serving better Korean fried chicken (pictured at top). A combo of soy and spicy, its served with cubes of quick-pickled daikon, slivered scallions and soju-filled watermelon for the table. Whether you’re going with traditional or boneless wings, the twice-fried crisp exterior is a destination-worthy chicken experience.
468 W. Cheltenham Ave.; 215-224-6800
Hot Chicken at The Fat Ham
A certain mega chain might have recently jumped on the Nashville hot chicken train, but chef Kevin Sbraga’s University City Southern spot was the first to bring this particular bird (pictured above) to Philly. Brined in buttermilk and spiced with a kicky, cayenne-based, housemade hot sauce the chicken comes with a slice of buttery brioche and a drizzle of ranch that aims to balance the fire.
3131 Walnut St.; 215-735-1914
Honey-Garlic Hot Chicken at The Little Lion
Fried chicken has been on this Old City Southern's menu since day one, but this week they’re getting in on the spicey action with garlic-honey hot chicken. Dredged in seasoned flour, this bird gets a bath in a sweet and spicy hot sauce, a side of housemade bread and butter pickles.
243 Chestnut St.; 267-273-0688
Salt and Pepper Wings at David’s Mai Lai Wah
Chinatown’s premier late night destination happens to be home to some of the best wings in the city. Dry-fried to a crisp and simply seasoned with salt, pepper and slices of spicy green chiles, these wings come ten to an order — i.e. just enough for a party of two to have an awkward moment over the last drumette.
1001 Race St.; 215-627-2610
Marilyn’s Fried Chicken in a Bucket at Bud & Marilyn’s
Fried chicken (pictured above) might be on the menu at Bud & Marilyn’s during dinner, but lunchtime is when you’re going to want this bird. Served in a paper bucket for optimal nostalgia, this locally raised half chicken is an idealized version of the fast food classic — down to the thin-cut claw and crispy fries.
1234 Locust St.; 215-546-2220