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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Sydney

At these twelve top chook spots you can get your fried chicken slathered in maple syrup, served crispy or sandwiched in a soft bun.
By Marissa Ciampi
September 08, 2021
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By Marissa Ciampi
September 08, 2021
  shares

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN SYDNEY

At these twelve top chook spots you can get your fried chicken slathered in maple syrup, served crispy or sandwiched in a soft bun.

Doused in gravy, hot sauce or sambal, served on a plate with mac 'n' cheese, or sandwiched in a soft bun — fried chicken is the epitome of comfort food in lots of places around the world, and Sydney is no exception. This city's restaurant scene offers heavenly bird done in every way imaginable.

These Sydney joints combine nationalities and styles to champion the fried side of the chook. In our city, you can eat this dish with Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese or Indonesian influences, as well as heaps of American-style versions. If you really want to indulge, bookmark this list and hit all twelve restaurants before the end of the year. Go on, we dare you.

  • 12

    In 2018, this Crows Nest favourite swapped out its namesake lobster rolls and dedicated itself to the fried chicken business once and for all — which, according to owner Tom Baker, was already over 50 percent of the food sold at the venue. Now dubbed Johnny Bird, the signature free-range chicken continues to be some of the best in the city. The boneless tenders and thighs are marinated overnight and heavily spiced, resulting in a finished product that is both juicy and peppery. Plates of the stuff come with your choice of house-made sauce — including Sticky Sichuan, Detroit Smoky Barbecue and Nashville Hot — and can be served with classic southern sides like fried pickles, sweet potato fries and mac ‘n’ cheese. Diners can also tuck into wings and burgers of the same calibre.

    You can order pickup from Johnny Bird’s website or delivery via Deliveroo, UberEats and DoorDash.

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  • 11

    Melbourne’s much-loved home of Korean fried chicken finally made its way to Sydney in 2018, and it has swiftly become a city-wide favourite. The brand now has outposts in World Square, Castle Hills’ Castle Towers, Edmondson’s Ed Square and along Market Street in the CBD — and, considering it boasts over 20 locations in Melbourne, you can expect that number to keep increasing, too. Here, expect signature cuts like wingettes and spare ribs, along with the classic half or whole bird — served with or without the bones and either dosed in sauce or with a side dipping option. All of the chicken here is RSPCA-certified, too.

    You can order Gami Fried Chicken for pickup or delivery via its website.

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  • 10

    Long before it had multiple outposts around the city, Sydney institution Mary’s was just a raucous Newtown joint slinging burgers, beers and some of the best fried chicken in the region. This reputation still holds true today — though now you can grab the American-style dish at The Lansdowne, in Circular Quay and on Castlereigh Street. Marinated in buttermilk, hot sauce and maple syrup, the fried chicken can be ordered as a burger or in half, whole or Larry Bird portions — that’s two whole chooks. And, if you’re dining with vegetarians, Mary’s fried cauliflower is just as good.

    Swing past Mary’s for pickup or text your order to 0435 469 421 to pre-order before heading in. You can also order delivery via Deliveroo.

    Image: Kitti Gould.

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  • 9
    Belles Hot Chicken

    The brainchild of renowned Australian chef and former Nashville resident Morgan McGlone, Belle’s Hot Chicken combines spicy fried chicken with cool natural wine. Belle’s has two Sydney outposts at Tramsheds and Barangaroo, both with their fair share of spicy fried chook to dig into. Get stuck into drumsticks, tenders and wings, paired with your choice of heat — ranging from a mild southern to spicy versions like Really F**kin Hot. Or, if you’re feeling particularly extra, max out with the Baller Bucket ($70) complete with 16 wings, sauces and your choice of four sides. Our top three picks are the Old Bay fries, coleslaw and mac ‘n’ cheese.

    You can order Belles Hot Chicken for pickup at its website or delivery via UberEats.

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  • 8

    Set along Newtown’s Enmore Road, this joint is serving up some of Sydney’s most authentic Korean fried chicken. Opened by sibling duo Julie and Jeff Oh back in 2017, the shop has become known around the city for its signature dish, served in four styles: original, sweet chilli, soy garlic and ‘spicy bomb’. It’s best to pair your fried chicken with traditional bibimbap, which is an Oh family recipe. The rice bowl comes topped with a whole heap of veggies, including radish kimchi, bean sprouts, carrots and shiitake mushroom, and is a refreshing accompaniment to the deep-fried main attraction. Other more westernised sides here include bulgogi fries, seafood pancakes and slaw. And, when dining is open, it’s BYO.

    You can pre-order pickup for Flying Tong by calling 8056 5985, or order delivery via Menulog, Deliveroo, UberEats and DoorDash.

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  • 7

    Chef Kerby Craig has long been a legend in the local burger scene, but his fried chicken has also earned a special place in the hearts of many. And, with Ume Burger open in the Barangaroo dining precinct and a new outpost just opened in Darling Square, there are more than a few ways to get your fried chook fix between the two. At Ume Burger, diners can indulge in classic Japanese karaage, served with your choice of mayo including nori, spicy cod roe and curry varieties. Or, you can order a juicy piece of chicken karaage on a burger packed with lettuce, onion and two sauces. To wash it all down, choose from a range of beer and wine, available for takeaway.

    You can pre-order pickup from Ume Burger’s website, or order delivery via UberEats and Menulog.

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  • 6
    Butter

    Hungry? Or need a new pair of kicks? Solve one or both of these dilemmas at Butter, Sydney’s over-the-top palace of fried chicken, champagne and sneakers. If you are ordering for more than just yourself, try the size 13s box on for size. It’s a generous party pack of fried thighs and tenders, alongside pickles and multiple sauces — all served in a shoebox. Other sides include tonkatsu ramen gravy, shoestring fries and corn on the cob covered in miso butter. Solo diners shouldn’t look past Butter’s OG chicken sandwich, which comes piled with dashi butter and pickles, or a bowl of ramen from the store’s Butter Ramen Club which offers up different ramen collaborations each month, all containing some form of crispy golden-brown chicken. And those with a sweet tooth will love the fried chicken and doughnut combo: two fried tenders, salted butter and a generous pour of maple syrup, all atop a hot cinnamon doughie.

    You can find Butter at ParramattaChatswood and Surry Hills, or order delivery via UberEats, Deliveroo or DoorDash.

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  • 5
    Ayam Goreng 99

    Ayam Goreng 99 has been an eastern suburbs mainstay since opening way back in 1998. Its 23-year career of serving authentic Indonesian eats to Kingsford locals has continuously centred around the fried chicken — which happens to be the English translation of ayam goreng. The marinated chook is served with a signature sambel terasi sauce, which combines spicy chilli and prawn paste. It’s cooked in a wok for several hours to achieve a true depth of flavour that diners cannot get enough of. To accompany your fried chook, order plates of nasi goreng, fried egg noodles and stir-fried greens.

    You can place an order with Ayam Goreng by calling 9697 0030 or order delivery via Pasar Makan.

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  • 4
    Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

    This Taiwanese fried chicken chain turns out some damn tasty bird. After landing in Australia in 2014, it now has ten Sydney stores — including locations in the CBD, Burwood, Chatswood and Auburn. Here, the chicken is pounded out until super thin and about the size of your face; you can have it as is, or loaded with spice. There are also sweet potato and curly fries to accompany your chicken. The small, bright blue takeaway shop is perfect for a quick trip out of the house for takeaway.

    Order Hot Star pickup via its website, or delivery with UberEats and Menulog.

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  • 3
    Basax

    Basax’s Haymarket store is open until midnight Monday–Saturday, so you’ll be able to satisfy any late-night cravings for some cheeky chook. There are over ten types of boneless chicken available at Basax, which you can have either oven-roasted or fried and finished with the likes of spring onion, soy garlic or even grated cheese. You can pair your protein with sides such as waffle fries, tteokbokki, or even fried dumplings. Also available is a range of hearty Korean stews and soups, including the ever-popular budae jjigae with ham and sausage, and an ox bone soup with sliced beef and beef tendon.

    Basax is available for delivery via Menulog and UberEats.

    Images: Arvin Prem Kumar

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  • 2
    Thirsty Bird

    After a successful one-off trial at selling fried chicken that saw it sell out in just hours, crispy pork favourite Mr Crackles has provided Sydneysiders with what they’ve been pining for with two dedicated fried chicken shops in Potts Point and Newtown. Like its predecessor, Mr Crackles, Thirsty Bird is a mono-meat venue. On the menu you’ll find chicken — and not much else. But rest assured it’ll be some of the best chicken of your life. You can order between one and eight pieces of the crunchy chook in original or hot ‘n’ spicy form. Or, throw it on a burger with fresh slaw and Thirsty Bird’s special sauce. In the sides department, you have a reserved selection of classics like tater tots, mash and gravy, pickles and fried chicken’s unlikely best friend — waffles.

    Thirsty Bird is open for pickup orders at its website and delivery via Deliveroo.

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  • 1

    Since opening its original store in Granville in 1998, El Jannah has earned cult status for its Lebanese-style charcoal chicken and finger lickin’-good garlic sauce. Now, the legendary chicken joint has an impressive seven outlets under its belt — and counting. While its grilled chicken is what it’s known for, don’t let that discourage you from venturing over to the fried side of the menu. Order a set of mixed tenders and wings — served with gravy — and be sure to order the largest tub of garlic sauce possible. If you’re more of a burger fan, you can get a southern-style fried chicken patty between sesame buns and slathered in the aforementioned garlic sauce and El Jannah’s equally tasty chilli sauce.

    Order El Jannah online for pickup, via UberEats, DoorDash or Menulog for delivery, or if you live near the Smithfield location, pick-up your chicken at the store’s drive-thru.

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Top image: Kitti Gould. 

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