I Compared Fried Chicken From KFC, Popeyes & Chick-fil-A & Here's What Sets Them Apart
There's only one I'll order again.
Fried chicken is a fan-favourite fast food meal. People love it so much that it triggered a big fried chicken sandwich war between fast food chains a few years ago, and we're all still cashing in with great options available at many different chains.
But when you're looking for the one spot in Canada that does the crispy meal well on its own, which restaurant would you likely order your food from?
I put fried chicken from Popeyes, KFC and Chick-fil-A to the test to see which fast food chain has the best version of the crispy fried chicken, and one of them blew the others away.
Fried chicken.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Even though the three spots are known for their chicken, they each had their own version and flavours of the delicacy, so I ordered a 3-piece fried chicken with white meat to keep the test as fair as possible.
Additionally, I ordered the chicken from food delivery applications like DoorDash and UberEats because none of these fast food restaurants are within walking distance of my Toronto apartment.
Here's what sets the chicken from Popeyes, KFC and Chick-fil-A apart and which one I'd most likely order from again.
Fried chicken from KFC.
KFC, for those who don't know, stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and it used to always be one of my favourites fast food restaurants as a child, but I never ordered the regular chicken. My go-to order was KFC's Popcorn Chicken. However, after ordering the straight-up chicken for this taste test, I realized it was my least favourite.
I ordered the three-piece chicken combo and upgraded the order to only include white meat. I heard that the crispy skin makes this fast food company so popular, but it honestly didn't live up to the hype. The chicken was quite dry and it ruined the whole experience for me.
I didn't want to give up so quickly because KFC's Popcorn Chicken is so good, so I tried it again, but it seriously just didn't make the cut and I don't think I'll ever order it again.
Also, KFC had the most expensive chicken out of the trio, but it felt like the lowest-quality food.
However, it's worth noting that according to Gitnux, KFC ranks as the second most popular fast food chain globally, after McDonald's.
It has a brand value of $12.87 billion and China is the company's biggest market, with over 5,000 restaurants open and 12 million people eating the fried chicken brand every day.
In other words, it might be the batch that I ate that made my experience this horrible because, obviously, KFC is admired by many.
Spicy Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips.
Chick-fil-A is a famous American fast-food chain that has taken Canada by storm. The brand does it all well, whether it's the sandwiches, sauces or cajun waffle fries.
But how delicious are their tenders? Well, this is a question I wanted to be able to answer confidently.
I ordered the Spicy Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips and even though they were good, I don't think they deserve the top spot.
The outer coating was super red in colour, crunchy and flavourful. The spice gave each bite a nice kick and it would've been even better with Chick-fil-A sauce.
The white meat was juicy and tender. The chicken strips were also thin, so I felt there was a lot more crispiness than there was meat to chew on.
But the main reason it didn't get the top spot is because the portion was too small. I felt like the three tenders in the box were as big as one from KFC or Popeyes.
However, it was the cheapest option. So if you were looking for a quick snack that's also low in calories, this might be the way to go.
The three chicken strips from Chick-fil-A are 270 calories, a fraction of what the other spots offer.
My favourite item from the American fast food chain is a Spicy Deluxe Sandwich, which is basically a burger patty version of the tenders, put between two buns, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Monterey Jack with Jalapeños cheese. In other words, if you're ordering from Chick-fil-A, go for the sandwich instead of the tenders.
Fried chicken tenders from Popeyes.
Is it evident that Popeyes is the winner of this taste test? To be honest, I didn't think I'd love their chicken tenders as much as I did.
It was my first time trying them, and I can't believe it took me this long to discover the crispy-to-tender ratio they've mastered.
But I'm not going to lie, after one tender, I got pretty full because the chicken was quite heavy.
The chicken is really oily, but the outer coat does a great job of tasting super crunchy and flavourful without feeling soggy. It kind of felt like the chicken was battered using cornflakes, which, if you've ever been to Kelsey's and eaten their Doritos-covered chicken fingers, you'd know exactly what I mean.
The chicken tenders were thick and the white meat wasn't dry at all, which might be due to the oil.
The pack of three came with a sauce — I chose the mild buffalo — and wow, did it perfectly compliment the tenders.
Popeyes fried chicken tenders dipped in the sauce tasted sweet but tangy too, and I loved every second of it.
The tenders, however, are over 1,000 calories, which is relatively high in retrospect, but fast food doesn't do a great job of being healthy.
So, if I were you, I would only lean on this option if you were really craving fried chicken and willing to take on the calories.
These really are so good, it hurts.
Overall, I learned a lot from the three fast food chains and what sets them apart, but keep in mind these are my opinions and they all depended on my experience.
Ordering the fried chicken fresh from the store might've led to a different outcome. Still, I believe that fast food spots like Popeyes, KFC and Chick-fil-A are often ordered via delivery apps, so this was a fair taste test for those lazy eaters who want to enjoy food while watching TV.
Which of these options is your go-to for fried chicken in Canada?
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