When it comes to fried chicken, many people immediately think of the American or Korean-style. However, there are many other types.

The earliest historical origin of fried chicken can be traced back to Scotland, and it later became popular worldwide through the United States. The earliest records about it appeared in a British cookbook in 1747, where it was referred to as ‘pickled chicken’.

Unlike modern fried chicken, the method back then involved pan-frying the chicken in lard. Later, Scottish immigrants brought fried chicken to the United States.

Initially, it did not become a sensation in America. It wasn’t until African Americans from Africa introduced their cooking techniques and improved it that it gradually gained popularity.

In the 20th century, with the expansion of fast-food chains like KFC, the influence of fried chicken reached worldwide.

American-style fried chicken

American Style fried chicken

In the United States, there are many variations of fried chicken. When it comes to the American-style, Colonel Sanders of KFC immediately comes to mind.

The chicken is often cut into small pieces such as breast, wings, wingtips, and drumsticks. They are coated with a mixture of salt, black pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, eggs, or milk in certain proportions, mixed with flour to create a batter.

The chicken is then deep-fried in a pan, and the juices from the chicken are perfectly absorbed by the outer layer of batter, creating a rich and crispy texture.

Buffalo wings

buffalo wings

Another major type of fried chicken in the United States, Buffalo wings, is more commonly found in craft beer bars or Western restaurants.

Buffalo wings, sometimes also referred to as Buffalo chicken wings, typically use chicken wings or wingtips, and they generally do not have a batter made of breadcrumbs or flour.

Instead, they are simply naked chicken wings. Therefore, in addition to the traditional frying method, they can also be cooked by baking or broiling.

Korean-style fried chicken

Korean style fried chicken

Like the American style, Korean fried chicken does not marinate the chicken, but it has a slightly different taste. It is often crispy and light because the batter uses potato starch instead of flour and to enrich the taste through double frying. In addition, it can be served bone-in or boneless. 

What sets it apart even more is the variety of sauce choices. There are various flavours available, such as the original flavour with a rich chicken taste, sweet and spicy sauce, garlic soy sauce, seaweed powder, cheese flavour, etc.

Japanese-style Karaage fried chicken

Japanese style fried chicken

Karaage, which first appeared during the Edo period, referred to a method of deep-frying small tofu cubes that originated from China. Later, it expanded to include vegetables, fish, and other ingredients, but the main focus remained on chicken.

Compared to others, Karaage has a lighter and thinner batter. The coating can be made from various ingredients such as rice flour or cornstarch, not limited to just wheat flour. The chicken used is boneless chicken thigh or wing root, cut into small pieces and marinated with salt, black pepper, sake, or mirin for about 20 minutes.

Finally, it is coated with the batter and deep-fried. Karaage is known for its tender and juicy texture, perhaps due to the use of young chicken as the main ingredient.

Chinese-style fried chicken

chinese style fried chicken

In the streets and on food delivery platforms in Beijing, ‘Old Beijing American-Style Fried Chicken’ is very popular. This is a nostalgic childhood memory for many Beijing locals. The chicken is marinated overnight in a mixture of monosodium glutamate, salt, chilli, nutmeg, garlic, and water.

The next day, it is coated with a mixture of starch, baking soda, and flour, and then deep-fried in high-temperature oil. The shiny chicken exudes its aroma in the air. Compared to other types, this kind of roadside old-style seems to have a more carefree and vibrant character.

Austrian Wiener Schnitzel

Austrian style fried chicken

This dish specifically uses breadcrumbs as the coating and is deep-fried, typically served with lemon. In its early days, it was a delicacy limited to the aristocracy in Vienna.

Overall, there are various types of fried chicken from around the world, it’s fascinating to realise that when you travel and don’t know what to eat, choosing it might be a safe and enjoyable way to experience the local cuisine without any missteps!