The Origin Of Southern Fried Chicken & 7 International Versions

There are few people who can resist the allure of really good fried chicken. Whether as a quick snack or a hearty meal the combination of tender meat and a crunchy exterior is a combination that wins over every time. Though this dish can be found in almost every bar, restaurant and fast food joint across the world these days, it actually has a long and storied history that led to its fame. 

The most renowned fried chicken dish is the American Southern fried chicken which is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of the soul food cuisine and is a reminder of the ingenuity of African American cooks. While fried chicken itself has ancient origins and can be traced back to various cultures, it was the African American community that popularised and elevated the dish to become an iconic dish on menus around the world.

The roots of fried chicken can be traced back to West Africa, where a similar cooking technique was used to prepare poultry and other meats. Enslaved Africans brought to the Americas during the colonial period carried with them their culinary traditions, including their methods of preparing chicken. In the Southern United States, where chicken was readily available and relatively cheaper, African American cooks adapted their traditional frying techniques to local ingredients and resources.

Fried chicken's universal appeal lies in its simple yet irresistible combination of crispy, golden-brown crust and tender, juicy meat. This beloved dish has transcended borders to become a global culinary icon. Virtually every country has embraced fried chicken, infusing it with its own unique flavours and techniques. Fried chicken's adaptability and ability to accommodate diverse palates have led to countless interpretations worldwide, solidifying its position as a universally loved meal that transcends cultural boundaries.

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Here are 7 types of fried chicken from across the world you have to try:

Yangnyeom-chikin from South Korea:

Yangnyeom-chikin is a popular Korean fried chicken known for its crispy exterior and flavourful glaze. The chicken is typically double-fried, resulting in an extra crispy texture. It is then coated in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce made from a mixture of gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, and other seasonings. This dish is a favourite among locals and is often enjoyed as anju (drinking food) with pickled radishes and cold beer.

Chicken 65 from India:

Chicken 65 is a spicy and tangy South Indian fried chicken dish. Its name is believed to have originated from the year it was introduced, 1965 although some stories claim it's named for the 65 spices that go into its preparation. The chicken is marinated with a blend of spices, including red chilli, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, and yoghurt. The marinated chicken is then deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a deliciously spicy and crispy dish that is commonly served as an appetiser or snack.

Da Ji Pai from Taiwan:

Da Ji Pai, also known as Taiwanese is a popular street food in Taiwan. The flattened chicken fried chicken steaks are marinated with a mix of soy sauce, five-spice powder, garlic, and other seasonings before being coated in sweet potato starch. The chicken is then deep-fried until golden brown and served with salt and pepper or a spicy seasoning, making it a delightful and addictive snack.

Backhendl from Austria:

Backhendl is a traditional Austrian dish consisting of breaded and deep-fried chicken. The chicken pieces are typically marinated in garlic and lemon, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried to a crispy and golden-brown perfection. This dish is often served with a side of potato salad or parsley potatoes, providing a delightful combination of flavours and textures.

Chicharron de Pollo from the Caribbean and Latin America:

Chicharron de Pollo is a popular fried chicken dish in the Caribbean and Latin America. The chicken is seasoned with various spices, including cumin, oregano, and garlic, before being deep-fried until crispy. The result is tender chicken with a crunchy exterior. It is often served with lime wedges and a side of rice and beans or plantains.

Karaage from Japan:

Karaage is a Japanese-style fried chicken known for its delicate and crispy coating. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings, which infuses the meat with umami flavours. The marinated chicken is then lightly coated in potato starch or cornstarch before being fried, creating a crispy and airy texture. Karaage is commonly served as a popular snack or appetiser in Japan.

Ayam Goreng from Indonesia:

Ayam Goreng, or Indonesian fried chicken, is a beloved dish in Indonesia. The chicken is marinated with a blend of spices like turmeric, coriander, garlic, and shallots, which gives it a rich and aromatic flavour. The marinated chicken is deep-fried until golden and crispy, resulting in a delicious and fragrant dish often served with rice and sambal.