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Many ways with Fried chicken

Monga, Crāv, Aguirre Fried Chicken, Gang Gang Chicken and King Chef — most of them opened during the pandemic and offered what Filipinos love, prepared in many ways.

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We Filipinos simply love fried chicken. There’s something about the crunch of the crisp skin and the juicy and tender meat of the chicken that’s so addicting to our senses. Battered or breaded and deep-fried, lightly coated with flour or spice mix for that blissful bite, whole pieces that we bite off the bone, or boneless fillets that have been pounded thin for the ultimate chicken chop, eaten simply with gravy or ketchup or smothered with sauces of different flavors…

We love them all! Fried chicken is like a comfort food that we all grew up eating, and so we turn to it whenever we need to feel good, comforted or reassured.

King Chef’s fried chicken with salted egg.

This is why fried chicken is always on the menu of fast-food chains and casual dining restaurants, and why restaurants specializing in chicken, both foreign brands and homegrown concepts, are thriving. And there’s always a new chicken shop opening in the neighborhood, especially during this pandemic, when people stay home most of the time due to lockdowns. The demand for food delivery has surged, and the market is responding with neighborhood restaurants and cloud kitchens geared towards food pick-ups and delivery.

Monga, Crāv (as in “crave”), Aguirre Fried Chicken, Gang Gang Chicken and King Chef have risen to the occasion. Most of them opened during the pandemic, and guess what their best-sellers are: Fried chicken!

Let me introduce some of these new and exciting fried chicken treats to you.

Monga’s Chicken Chops
Tender and juicy, two-centimeter thick-cut chicken breasts, seasoned and then fried into giant fillets and served ready-to-eat in paper packets are now a popular Taiwanese street food, and the Vikings Group has brought Monga, the number one, Taiwanese-style fried chicken brand, to the Philippines by way of a franchise.

“We are bringing in another style of cooking fried chicken. This is not your ordinary chicken. It is especially handcrafted and cooked to perfection using original ingredients and spices on XXXX chicken size,” explains marketing manager Jillian Chua.

Monga’s Taiker and The King fried chicken. / Photographs by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for the Daily Tribune

Monga’s signature chicken is The King, which is the original soft, juicy, tender and moist two-centimeter thick-cut chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper. Other variants are Hot Chick, which is made spicy with homemade Mexican seasoning powder; Taiker, the green version with Japanese sauce giving it an extra sweet taste profile and with seaweed powder giving it a green shade; and Chee-Z, which is deep-fried and baked to perfection with original tomato sauce care of Monga’s signature chili sauce, smothered with oozing mozzarella cheese and a hint of seaweed powder.

These signature chicken products from the original menu of Monga Taiwan go very well with the brand’s milk tea offerings. The good news is that Monga delivers through a number of delivery platforms — vikingsdelivery.com, GrabFood, Pick-a-roo, Aub Botty, Monga Facebook page, Viber and Whatsapp. Orders can also be coursed through Monga’s branches in SM Megamall (09175514888), SM City North EDSA (0917-5594888), Cartimar (0977-6462205) and Waltermart E. Rodriguez (09616994578). Depending on the location, a 30-minute lead time is usually enough for delivery orders.

Crāv’s Crispy Chicken
Crāv (whose name is a fun play on the words “crave” and “cravings”) opened during the lockdown, the so-called “enhanced community quarantine (ECQ),” in 2020. Its owner, Maizie Carlos, who likes to travel and eat but got stuck at home like everyone else during the ECQ, noticed that the only food establishments open at that time were fast-foods and online food businesses. She thought of how nice it would be if there was someone who would offer both common cravings and something different from what is usually available.
And so, she and her team went to work, and Crāv Chicken was the first recipe that the kitchen developed. It is fried chicken, which is common and familiar, and is crispy, too, and yet it is different because the chicken has been marinated in a special mix of citrus, curry and spices. As expected, the market loved it, and it became the core of the business. Crāv Chicken comes in a six-piece box for P360, a two-piece meal with rice at P150, and a 1-piece chicken with rice for P85.

What’s unique about Crāv is that aside from the fried chicken, it also offers such common cravings as kare-kare, lumpiang shanghai, pancit canton and bulalo. Order Crāv Chicken and all these other comfort dishes via GrabFood and foodpanda, through the store number 09159207926 or through the brand’s Facebook page.

Aguirre’s
butterflied chicken
All the way from The Big Belly Kitchen in BF Homes, Parañaque, comes the fresh, new, hot and delicious Aguirre Fried Chicken. Developed by chef Mikel Zaguirre, it is a whole fried chicken in a box, but it’s not your usual whole chicken because it has been creatively butterflied and sits snugly in a custom-fitted box when it is delivered to your house.

Aguirre Fried Chicken’s Hot Box.

The Aguirre Fried Chicken (AFC) Hotbox is the crown jewel. It is a whole butterflied chicken with just the right level of spiciness which, at P750, comes with four dinner rolls, a garlic dip that goes well with the bread and the chicken, a good amount of house blend ketchup, and white pickles. Those who like their chicken non-spicy can opt for the Aguirre Special Box instead. It is equally good.

There are just two items on the menu, but Aguirre Fried Chicken is selling like hotcake since foodies, both fried chicken lovers and those who simply love good food, got wind of it, and deservingly so because it is really good.

Orders may be coursed through Aguirre Fried Chicken’s Facebook and Instagram pages as well as through mobile number 09951521850.

Gang Gang Chicken’s boneless treats
Born during the pandemic, specifically in July 2020, Gang Gang Chicken is a boneless fried chicken takeaway/delivery concept founded by business partners Joey Marcelo and chef Julius Necor.

Prior to that, Joey was a rice supplier to restaurants then opened his own restaurant, Holy Grill, in 2017, and Chef Julius was sharpening his skills under chef Chele Gonzales at Gallery by Chele.

Together, they opened BOA Asian Flavors, a Southeast Asian restaurant, in 2019, and it was doing very well, but then the pandemic hit and, suddenly, the way of doing things in the food and beverage world had to change drastically. In the face of uncertainty, the two launched a cloud kitchen to survive, and among the three brands that operated from there, Gang Gang Chicken turned out to be the most successful.

Gang Gang Chicken’s Gangyeom Chicken.

“We followed the momentum and eventually opened Gang Gang Chicken’s first stand-alone store in November 2020,” explains Joey.

The brand grew, opened for franchising, and today has seven stores in operation and 12 boneless fried chicken flavors to choose from. Among these flavors, the top three are Gangyeom Chicken (sweet and spicy Korean flavor that is more sweet than spicy and does not have the strong ginger flavor that its competitors have); Honey Miso Butter Chicken (sweet and salty, with a delightful sauce that leaves the chicken crispy and goes very well with rice); and Takoyaki Chicken (an original flavor inspired by the Japanese octo balls street food with bonito flakes, with the octo balls replaced by boneless fried chicken).

Crāv’s Curry-Citrus Fried Chicken. / Photograph by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for the Daily Tribune

Gang Gang Chicken’s boneless fried chicken treats come in boxes of seven and 14 pieces. To order, visit ganggangchicken.com for better prices and exclusive website promos. Orders may also be coursed through GrabFood and Foodpanda.

King Chef’s salted egg chicken
When the salted egg flavor became the biggest food trend some five years ago, King Chef, a chain of Chinese restaurants specializing in dim sum and Cantonese cuisine, came up with a special dish called fried chicken with salted egg. First served as a “New Chef’s Recommendation” item, it became an instant favorite among diners and was later added to the regular menu due to popular demand. It has remained as one of the best-selling items on the restaurant’s menu all these years and continues to be on top of the heap today.

King Chef’s fried chicken with salted egg is crispy fried chicken chops, coated in Asian-inspired rich, aromatic salted egg sauce. Its Small size, which is good for two to three persons, is available in all King Chef branches at P390. The popular dish is also available in medium and large sizes, priced at P590 and P980, respectively, only at King Chef Seafood Restaurant located at Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila.

Now open again for dine-in and take-out, King Chef delivers to the 14 major cities of Metro Manila. Orders can be coursed through the website, www.kingchefph.com or through the restaurant’s social media pages (Facebook/kingchefph, Facebook/kingchefseafoodrestaurant and Instagram.com/kingchefph). Customers may also order via GrabFood,
Pick-a-roo or Booky.

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