Most Filipinos would often consider fried chicken cooked American-style as something occasionally eaten in a fast-food restaurant. While we have fast-food favorites here in Manila such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Popeyes (which made a comeback after years of absence) – trying out fried chicken from a more upscale joint is a very much welcome prospect.
Fried chicken from homegrown establishments Max’s and Savory – both the Original and Classic restaurant chains – follow the Asian style of cooking. The Asian method uses deep frying, but does not coat the chicken in batter or breading. This results in a chicken with thin yet crispy skin and moist meat.
I personally prefer fried chicken cooked in either manner, though I have to admit that frying chicken isn’t exactly the healthiest method to cook it. But still, if I want to try it once in a while – I might as well take the more indulgent option, which is American-style.
Now, this triptych was inspired by a longtime blog follower here at The Monching’s Guide. I’ve been blogging for eight years and have tried out many fried chicken joints within that span of time. Let me share my three best picks when it comes to fried chicken here in Manila that I would recommend to those visiting from abroad.
Mention Kettle and the first thing that comes to my mind is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which I definitely recommend. I tried it twice – in 2016 and 2022 – and I have not been disappointed by the dish, with the chicken’s crispiness and moist, tender meat leaving a very good impression. This is best paired with the country gravy and honey, which come with every order by default.
Be warned that the Buttermilk Fried Chicken is good for two people, so it’s better to get a friend to join you. If you head here on a weekday, you can avail of the single portion; do note that they serve it only during the lunch hour period of 12 noon until 2 in the afternoon.
Find Kettle at Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong.
Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken
I consider Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken the benchmark of all fried chicken meals here in Manila. I first visited the establishment in 2015 – and I’ve been hooked on its fried chicken ever since. Whether you order the 1-Piece Chicken Meal or the 2-Piece Chicken Meal, the juicy meat and crispy batter will make you crave extra carbs to go along.
The exceptional gravy at Tom Sawyer’s is another reason to visit the joint for fried chicken! Customers who dine in-store are treated to unlimited gravy; just ask the staff for refills.
Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken has branches at Tiendesitas in Pasig City, Congressional Town Center in Quezon City and along Taft Avenue in the city of Manila.
Señor Pollo made its name as a purveyor of “Latin chicken,” which is roasted instead of fried. The joint, however, offers a fried version of its signature chicken – with the same wonderful taste as its roasted counterpart. I’ve been here multiple times, and the restaurant has become a must-visit place for me when I find myself near it.
You can order up to three Fried Chicken pieces and up to two side dishes, or just opt for the Fried Chicken alone. Speaking of the latter, the side dishes – such as beans, plantains, chimichurri, and sweet potatoes – serve as a tour of Latin America.
Señor Pollo has branches at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Sapphire Road in Pasig City, Makati City’s Legazpi Village and along Scout Rallos Street in Quezon City.
I hope you can stop by these restaurants and try out their fried chicken when you visit Manila.
Until the next post, bon appetit!