Our Beijing bucket list is different, and tastier, than most. Eat up – find out where to get Beijing’s best fried chicken.
Best hangover buster
We’ve all been there, nursing a throbbing headache with a bag of frozen peas balanced on our brow, fully committed to Netflix and some quality time on the couch. Whether it’s punishment for the night before or just a grey Beijing day that keeps you indoors, delivery from a branch of this city-wide Korean fried chicken spot can make any day a good day for lazing about.
Oumuni’s clever to-go containers keep your chicken fresh, hot and crispy – a real feat when it comes to delivery. We recommend avoiding the sauced orders, as the time spent on a bike can lead to a less than toothsome experience. Each serving comes with a free package of its house-made pickled radish.
Price From 55RMB. Order via Jinshisong or Dianping Waimai.
Best for a K-town fix
For some, delivery is gauche; buckets are for posers and only the Korean original will do. And if you’re looking for authentic Korean in Beijing, the only hood that cuts the kimchi is Wangjing. For diehard Korean-style chicken fans, Sutaak tops the charts for flavour and texture. With a wide range of sauces, from the sweet honey to fiery red hot, you’ll be tempted to take your chicken wet, but we recommend getting at least half dry to properly savour the subtle heat of the crispy battered skin. The place is small and out of the way, but still expect to wait – lines of hungry locals stretch out the door at all hours.
Best for fancy chicken at home
In an age where it’s as easy to get a dish of hot and spicy crayfish delivered as it is to order pizza, it’s easy to think that all delivery is more or less the same. Uncle Otis, the name for the delivery wing of Southern US restaurant The Big Smoke, is proving that notion false with its delivery- and take-away- only premium fried and roasted chicken. With a menu that includes as many whole roasted options as fried, you won’t have to settle for your bird done one way when dealing with the barbecue masters at Uncle Otis. Fried up in the style of the American South, these thighs and drumsticks are thick with meat and covered with a hearty batter. Dress up your bucket with a side of beetroot salad or a bowl of corn chowder.
Price From 50RMB. Call 6416 2683 for delivery.
Best for modern Korean
Chef Andrew Ahn has a reputation for doing things a bit differently, and the Korean-style fried chicken at his Sanlitun Soho eatery One Pot is no exception. Fat drumsticks and wings – served with the tips – are traditionally twice fried, but Ahn’s dry breading and wet batter take on a new dimension of favour thanks to a creative spice mix.
The massive pile of chicken parts arrive glistening from a quick toss in a bowl of Ahn’s signature sweet and spicy sauce. The mild heat of the breading and the tangy sweetness of the sauce are a match made in fryer heaven, washed down with a few bites of pickled radish and a sip of sochu.
Price From 68RMB.
Best for brunch
Well spank our naughty little rumps, we ain’t never seen the dirty bird looking this fine. This is Great Leap’s Blues Brothers-inspired Country Bunker Chicken Brunch (also available at Gongti’s Great Leap #12). Deep Southern, soul snugglin’ fried chicken – and a cubic hootenanny of it. You’re looking at The Jake (full foul, pictured), suitable for four, or The Elwood (half-bird), which will comfortably do two. The chicken itself is all kinds of flavoursome: salty, crunchy, juicy in the right places. The sides hit the spot just as well: tangy pickled okra, rustic butter biscuits, corn, coleslaw and two kinds of sauce. Pair it up with a Great Leap pilsner (25RMB for 340ml) if you’re feeling fragile. Honey Ma Gold (35RMB for 440ml) for the decadents. Top marks.
Price 208RMB for The Jake (full bird with sides), 128RMB for The Elwood (half-bird with sides).
Best for Americana
When you’re hankering for a taste of the good ol’ American South, head down to New Orleans-inspired café Nola. The CBD café serves up nostalgia-inspiring fried chicken with maple syrup and crispy waffes. It may seem like an odd combination to some, but unless you have tried this unlikely marriage, we suggest you hold your tongue – or rather, don’t and go try it for yourself. Sweet, nutty, salty and abundantly rich with mouth-coating fat, it’s the best part of waking up and making it to the end of the day in one beautiful mouthful.