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.

JMT KOREAN(9947 104 St. NW)

It’s easy to miss this place if you’re not specifically looking for it. You have to walk down the stairs that aren’t all that apparent from the street. But it’s worth finding this new Korean spot, which also does a take on fried chicken.

You won’t find drumsticks or keels here, but if you order something called “crispy,” you will get an order of boneless chicken pieces that are coated in batter that’s not dense or heavy. You may have even seen their hilarious TikTok sketches or their JaJangMyeon Food Challenge (bet you can’t finish it in time). They come with a mozzarella ddeok, which is a cheesy rice cake. Think of it like having fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese — except turned on its ear.

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.