You know we like our chicken fried

These downtown spots are kicking up the crispy with some surprising takes on a clucking good classic.

Is fried chicken the ultimate comfort food? Well, it has to be up there. And while a lot of us grew up on the offerings from a famous chain with a certain Colonel’s face on the bucket, there’s a lot more to fried chicken than that.

In fact, while many of us think of the southern United States as the home of fried chicken, there’s a variety of takes on battering up a bird from around the world. Fried chicken is truly multicultural, and you can sample many of those styles without needing to leave downtown Edmonton.

Northern Chicken (10184 104 St. NW)

Northern Chicken has been a staple on the 124th Street food scene for years. They announced the closure of that location in January 2024, but they’re staying open on 104th. Despite its name, the chicken served here is very much in the tradition of the American South — and the vibe is definitely Nashville North. Chefs Andrew Cowan and Matt Phillips have now brought that experience to 104th Street.

The spicy and extra-spicy varieties are odes to Nashville-style hot chicken, and let it be known you’re going to need that thick slice of white bread that comes with each order. Of course, if you don’t want to test your heat tolerance, the OG is a solid choice, while the hot maple gives you a bit of sweet and spicy.

But if you don’t order the Dorito mac and cheese on the side — you’ve lessened the experience. The place might be just as famous for its junk-food take on a classic side dish as for the chicken coming out of the fryer.

Seoul Fried Chicken (10145 104 St. NW)

SFC has been selling out of chicken since 2016 south of the river. Like Northern Chicken, the owners of Seoul Fried Chicken decided that they needed a downtown location, as well.

Now, you don’t have to cross the river to get to SFC. Also like Northern Chicken, it’s open on 104th Street.

The reason SFC runs out of chicken is that the birds are brined the day before. So, it can only sell what’s been painstakingly prepared for the final fry. And, well, chef Jake Lee has standards.

And, then there’s the flavours. Sure, you can have the chicken OG, but there are many options to choose from, from Korean BBQ to Cilantro Lime, to Garlic Soy and our personal favourite, the Golden Kari — where the chicken is coated in curry powder. You can also get the chicken covered in cheese. Because, why not? Just make sure not to leave lunch till late, because the chicken may no longer be there.

Chicken Hauz (10752 Jasper Ave.)

OK, so we’ve done the southern fried chicken and Korean fried chicken. Well, let’s move to Chicken Hauz, which offers this comfort food with Filipino flair.

Sure, you can have a fried chicken combo with either fries or garlic rice — but this place has one of the most unique takes on fried chicken we’ve ever tried — and that’s a soup that uses fried chicken.

Sure, we’ve all had chicken broths before. But the Chicken Mami Soup is another thing entirely. It has both shredded chicken and fried chicken skins that swim alongside cabbage, green onions, shredded carrots and a boiled egg.

If you didn’t think you could put fried chicken in a bowl, think again.

Bündok (10228 104 St. NW)

Well, they’re not exactly drumsticks, keels or thighs, but the fried chicken skins have developed more than a cult following in the city. From Edify to Daily Hive, the chicken skins have been championed as some of the best things to eat in this city. What makes them so sensational is that they’re packed with all the flavour you love in fried chicken and served with a mustard sauce that’s lick-the plate good.

While Bündok’s chefs are consistently pushing the envelope when it comes to adventurous cuisine, this is one staple that just can’t ever disappear from the menu.