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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Sydney

At these eleven top chook spots you can get your fried chicken slathered in maple syrup, served crispy with lemon sauce or sandwiched in a soft bun.
By Marissa Ciampi
November 27, 2019
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Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Sydney

At these eleven top chook spots you can get your fried chicken slathered in maple syrup, served crispy with lemon sauce or sandwiched in a soft bun.
By Marissa Ciampi
November 27, 2019
  shares

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN SYDNEY

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

Doused in gravy, hot sauce or sambal. Served on a plate with mac 'n' cheese or in a buttery bun with slaw. Fried chicken is the epitome of comfort food in lots of places around the world, and Sydney's restaurant scene offers heavenly bird done pretty much 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. And each one is as good as the next. If you really want to indulge, grab your mates and hit all 11 restaurants before the end of the year. Go on, we dare you.

  • 11

    Last year, 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 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.

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  • 10

    Melbourne’s much-loved home of Korean fried chicken finally made its way to Sydney in July 2018, and it has swiftly become a city-wide favourite. The brand already has outposts in Chippendale’s Central Park Mall, Castle Hills’ Castle Towers and along Market Street in the CBD — and, considering it boasts a whopping 17 locations in Melbourne, you can expect that number to keep increasing, too.

    Here, expect signature cuts like drumettes, 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. Punters can (of course) find heaps of beer options to pair with, including Gami’s house brew.

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  • 9

    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, on Pitt Street and in Circular Quay, too. Marinated in buttermilk, hot sauce and maple syrup, the fried chicken can be ordered as a burger or in half ($22), whole ($40) or Larry Bird ($72) portions — that’s two whole chooks. And, since the connection between fried chicken and beer is timeless, Mary’s has plenty of tap beers on offer, too.

    Image: Kitti Gould.

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  • 8

    When Hartsyard changed hands last year, Sydney looked like it was losing a major player in its fried chicken game. Luckily, owner and chef Gregory Llewellyn wasn’t ready to let go of his mainstay dish yet. So, along with wife Naomi Hart, the duo revamped sister restaurant The Gretz and replaced it with Wish Bone, a casual eatery that’s slinging some of Hartsyard’s fan favourites — including the famed fried chicken.

    Here, the dish is available as wings, legs or tenders, or piled onto a potato bun with cheese, hot sauce and pickles. If you’re only after a fried chicken snack, you can tuck into the likes of chicken scratchings with honey and vinegar, or popcorn chicken with sauce options that include smoked maple, ranch buttermilk and bourbon barbecue. The rest of the menu features more of Llewellyn’s greatest hits, like brisket poutine and cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese.

    Image: Alex Mayes. 

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  • 7
    Belles Hot Chicken

    The brainchild of renowned Australian chef and former Nashville resident Morgan McGlone, Belle’s Hot Chicken combines spicy, spicy fried chicken with cool, cool natural wine. With Sydney outposts including Tramsheds, Barangaroo and the newly opened Darling Square’s Steam Mill Lane, you have more chances than ever to try this Nashville-style fried chook.

    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 and Sex Panther. Or, if you’re feeling particularly extra, max out with the Baller Bucket ($65) complete with 16 wings, sauces and your choice of four sides. Our top three are the Old Bay fries, coleslaw and mac ‘n’ cheese.

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  • 6

    Set along Newtown’s Enmore Road and open for dinner daily, 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 a 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 fried chicken sliders. And you can BYO wine.

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  • 5

    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 Bar Ume going strong in Surry Hills, there are more than a few ways to get your fried chook fix between the two.

    At Bar Ume, diners can choose from three varieties of the stuff. First up, there’s the hand-crumbed katsu burger, topped with yuzu mayo and tonkatsu sauce. You can also enjoy Nagoya-style chicken wings on special here, along with plates of koji fried chicken. Over at Ume Burger, get your fix in the form of classic Japanese karaage, served with your choice of mayo including nori, spicy cod roe and curry varieties. To wash it all down, choose from a range of Japanese spirits, beers and house sodas.

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  • 4
    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’re heading in with a group, try the 13s box on for size. It’s a generous party pack of fried thighs and tenders, alongside pickles, slaw and three sauces — all served in a shoebox.

    Other sides include tonkotsu ramen gravy, shoestring fries and haloumi fingers. Solo diners shouldn’t look past Butter’s OG chicken sandwich, which comes piled with dashi butter and pickles. 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.

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  • 3
    Ayam Goreng 99

    Ayam Goreng 99 has been an eastern suburbs mainstay since opening way back in 1998. Its 20-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.

    Be sure to make tracks before December 16, 2019, as the restaurant will close down for one month over the holiday period.

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  • 2

    Since opening back in 2015, Thievery has become known for two things: serving up big Middle Eastern feasts, and slinging some very good Lebanese-style fried chicken. At the moment, the LFC is actually on the back burner as the venue puts on a special yum cha menu, which runs until December 22 and combines Middle Eastern and Asian influences. For this, the Glebe favourite has swapped in some new fried creations, including some equally great Chinese fried chicken with ginger and shallots, and the crispy Bannockburn chicken served with lemon sauce and spiced chickpeas.

    You can also nab these dishes as part of the bottomless lunch banquets, which run every Saturday and Sunday. Feast on a seven-dish meal for $40 per person, with bottomless booze for an additional $32.

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  • 1
    Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

    This Taiwanese fried chicken chain came 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 till 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 quick and good for eating on the go — you’ll have to eat standing up, but that’s all part of the appeal.

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Top image: Kitti Gould. 

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