Random Clucks #2

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We are still determined to bring you the latest clucks on the Melbourne Fried Chicken scene. We’ve been out and about and have this to report. Check out this big list of crispy cluckers!

Hot Star

We went back for the crispy fried chicken and it was amazing!

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 Taiwanese Pop Chicken at the Vic Night Market

This was a pleasant surprise, too shame it’s only on for the Vicky night market.

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MoVida At The Airport

This chicken was awesome, and out of all places it clucks at the Melbourne airport. Good stuff! Give it a go.

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Parlour Diner

Yep, they still got it. Greatly spiced chicken tender pieces accompanied by some great spicy sauce. Yummmy!

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Mookji Bar

This Korean joint on Lonsdale st failed to deliver a clucktastic experience. It was more of a miss than a hit for The Chicken Scene. They do offer a wider variety of dishes that might be worth the revisit.

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Rockwell and Sons

Last but not least, Rockwell and Sons never fails to deliver an amazing clucktastic Melbourne Fried Chicken feast!

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Hawaiian Fried Chicken

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Best of Honolulu 2012 - Ray's Fried Chicken

Best of Honolulu 2012 – Ray’s Fried Chicken

Hollywood and The Chick were in Hawaii taking some well deserved time off with family and friends. The trip involved birthday celebrations, surfing, tasty shrimp trucks, swimming with dolphins and turtles, kayaking and, yes you guessed it, some Hawaiian Fried Chicken. We made time for two tasty excursions for Ono fried chicken and the more classic southern style.

Waikane Store – Ono fried chicken

We were staying in Hau’ula along the Eastern shore of Oahu. We noticed an “Ono fried chicken” sign on the Kamehameha Highway and we decided to see how it compares to our beloved Melbourne Fried Chicken.

Waikane Store - "Ono" Fried Chicken and Famous "Sushi". Keep your eye out or you'll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

Waikane Store – “Ono” Fried Chicken and Famous “Sushi”. Keep your eye open or you’ll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

We asked for an order of the fried chicken to share and skipped the spam sushi which was also on offer. It was served in a small paper container consisting of 4 small thigh pieces with plastic wrapping.

"Ono" Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous "Sushi"

“Ono” Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous Spam “Sushi” – that ain’t a slice of tuna!

The deboned chicken seemed pan fried because the bottom was a bit blackened and crispy compared to the top. The chicken pieces were the right amount of greasy and had a bit of a sweet taste which we enjoyed. It seemed to be cooked earlier in the day and reheated but that didn’t stop it from being full of yumminess.

The pieces were small, but with a good amount of meet and light coating of sauce. There was no seating - so we ate on the boot.

There was no seating – so we ate on the boot.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

We were told that the recipe is an old Korean family recipe but it didn’t seem like any Korean Fried Chicken we’ve ever had. The Chick felt it tasted more like roasted chicken than fried, probably because the skin wasn’t very crispy.

We paired the savoury chicken with a couple of sweet bananas from the near by fruit stand which had an authentic roadside stink of old cigarettes and was run by a gravelly voiced old woman. We definitely recommend grabbing a quick cluck from this road side market if you are travelling the East coast of Oahu.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Just watch for wild cluckers when parking, they need those for the next batch.

Ray’s Cafe

We came to know about Ray’s Cafe through the webby web (Yelp) and after reading so many positive reviews we decided we had to get a taste of their fried chooks.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Ray’s is located on North King St in Honolulu in a very local neighbourhood with no parking. It’s a hole in the wall with humongous portions sizes. The menu on the wall boasts the best of diner fare: greasy breakfast plates, steaks, ribs, burgers, ahi tuna steaks, a lobster special, and of course – fried chicken. There were options for family-sized buckets, but we opted for a single serving.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

For the family.

For the family.

We opted for the small portion - without the Hamburger Steak.

We opted for the small portion – without the Hamburger Steak.

While waiting for the main, we received a bowl of fresh, crisp lettuce and a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing. The Chick was thrilled as it satisfied her craving for green foods.

American version of a salad - we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

American version of a salad – we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

While waiting we saw plates of ahi tuna steaks and macaroni salad (Hawaiian specialty) go by and watched a man dig into a huge steak with classic crinkle fries in a basket. The chicken can be paired with steak, but our order of fried chicken consisted of 3 big, very hot, thigh pieces with two mounds of white rice. The chicken was single coated and very crispy, almost no breading, but the skin was perfectly fried. It was so hot that we had to let it rest for a bit to cool down. We struggled between burning fingers and the desire to bite in, and in the end had to use a fork. Extra points for truly fresh cooking, it was worth the wait. We added a bit of tabasco sauce to get a bit of kick, but the chicken was tasty on its own. Overall the pieces were big, juicy, and steamy and we enjoyed our experience at Ray’s. Hollywood has his eyes set on the Ray’s ribs and cheeseburgers for the next visit.

The rice was perfect - and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The rice was perfect – and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork - the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn't taste dry.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork – the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn’t taste dry.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Ray’s is like a Classic American greasy spoon with Hawaiian and Asian touches which all made for a unique culinary experience. Certainly worth a trip off the beach, but beware, you may lose your beach-ready bod along the way.

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Hot Star – Where the Chicken is the Hero

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Hollywood (A.K.A Cluckmaster) had been aware of a new Melbourne Fried Chicken clucker that is to be reckoned with calling itself the Hot Star. He has been talking up the potential of this contender to the Chick who was wary of the fast food style and what it might imply about the quality.

Thankfully, Hot Star surprised and delighted with a new take on a favorite food. Apparently our reputation as Melbourne Fried Chicken connisours preceded us, so after snapping a few photos out the front we were invited into the kitchen to see how the magic was made.

The chicken is marinated for a day before being coated in, wait for it, tapioca flour! Apparently this is all the rage in Taiwan, and the Swanston  location is the first outlet of the franchise in Australia. It sounded a bit odd, but after a bite, it was clear to the chick that a new style had been invented that was worth note. It is not as crispy as Southern Fried Chicken, the tapioca gives it a bit of a spongier/sweeter note. But they are coming out with a crispierr version that sounds worth a second visit.

The chicken is a single breast piece, cut by dedicated professionals to get the maximum surface area. You’ll know what I mean when you are handed your breast in a bag that seems  bigger than your head. There are the occasional bones left in for flavor, but otherwise it is a smooth piece of breading and chicken. The Chick isn’t a big fan of fast food, but this was fast, fresh and full of  flavor.

The frying is done in real time from fresh (not frozen) chicken, so there’s a bit of a wait after you order, but it is worth it. The chicken comes out steamy, not too greasy and the unique tapioca breading a perfect golden color. The original version comes coated in salt and pepper, there is also a spicy version with a bit of  chilli powder sprinkled on top, a hint of flavor, easy to swallow for those who can’t handle their spice. The Chick preferred the original but dipped in chilli sauce found next door at Rice Paper.

The sweet potato fries are not always available because they are made with a wet batter and take longer, but they are worth it. And if the other wet batter items coming (crispy chicken, mushrooms) are anything like the potatoes, then we’ll be back.

Conclusion:  Even if you tend to avoid fast food joints, but love fresh fried food, Hot Star is for you. $9 a bag makes this one of the best cost/flavor combo we’ve found in Melbourne. It also sat well with the cluckmaster as a great on-the-go meal. Thumbs up!

Hollywood’s Rating: 7/10 Clucks

The Chick’s Rating: 8/10 Clucks

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Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Random Clucks

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Parlour Diner (64 Chapel St, Windsor, Victoria)

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Rockwell and Sons (288 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria)

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Kang Nam Station (329 Queen St, Auckland)

This was average Korean fried chicken. The portion was generous but the quality of chicken was average. Surely there are better Auckland Fried Chicken options .

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NaruOne – The Hollywood Strike – Take 1

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It was my second day of my Sydney trip and i was determined to try another fine Sydney Fried Chicken establishment. I walked down from where i was staying to reach the underground Korean restaurant NaruOne. I had just done a long swim as was mighty hungry and all in time for some good chicken and beer.

Checking the reviews on the webby web i knew very well what i was going for. The Half/Half of original and sweet and spicy sauce fried chicken mix all accompanied with a cold Korean brewski. I was served the mountain of chooks and the challenge was on. The chicken was fried well, cut up Korean style which gave a mix of some odd pieces. The original style wasnt spiced much but was steamy hot and tasty. The sweet and spicy had a thick sauce covering the pieces. The sweet spot hit in the beginning and afterwards it was all spicy flavors. It was amazing! I ended up in a messy state of sauce and good old fried chicken but kept on going and it was all worth it. I highly recommend this for Korean style fried chicken if you’re in Sydney. (Especially since its open till 3am = extra points)

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Hollywood’s Rating: 8/10Clucks

NaruOne Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hallah if you’re in the ‘hood

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The latest adventure was Hallah. Located in North Melbourne; Hollywood had high hopes for Melbourne fried chicken at Hallah. He called to book and was asked if we wanted the restaurant or BBQ area. Our answer was “fried chicken” and that did the trick, only to find out that we didn’t really need a reservation for an early Friday night as the place was half empty when we arrived at 7. It did fill in as the meal progressed. Perhaps they were lured in by the Korean Teen pop.

The menu is varied, and most of the patrons were there for Korean BBQ. The chicken was prominent on the left, so our choice was quickly made. We were intrigued by the Dragon Chicken with Cheese, but were determined to stay focused, maybe next time.

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We decided to start off with the kimchi pancake which was large and tasty. Fried but not too heavy containing big chunks of onions and a nice sesame dipping sauce. It was also accompanied with the thrill of ripping up your food to eat it with chopsticks as your only weapon.

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Our main order of fried chicken was a half-half of original and spicy chicken. The waitress told us it comes out to 17 pieces but it was more like 14, but good sized pieces. Some were all meat and others had hardly any meat, like the wings tips.

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After digging in to the chooks we agreed that it was greasy and fast food like. The chicken was inconsistently cooked; pieces were either dry, juicy, or undercooked. Thankfully most of the pieces were juicy.

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The skin was tougher to bite through so it came off in bigger chunks. The breading was the good ol Korean crispy style breading. It wasnt flavorful but evenly coated. The spicy pieces were cooked the same as the original style but were covered with a spicy sweet sticky sauce that the chick thought was heavenly.

The main had two side sauces. One was a pleasantly surprising creamy mustard sauce (Mustard wins points with the Chick) while the other sauce had the consistency of condensed milk but had little flavor, which was disappointing.

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Hallah has a comfortable setting but the Korean Hite beer was $8, a bit expensive for the quality in the Chick’s opinion. Hallah has a comprehensive Korean menu focusing more on its BBQ dishes which made us feel it’s Melbourne fried chickens weren’t the star of the show.

In conclusion it’s a good Melbourne fried chicken choice if you’re in that neighborhood.

Rating: 6/10 clucks from Hollywood and 5/10 from the Chick

Hallah on Urbanspoon

GaMi deserves it’s common praise

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To begin our exploration of the Melbourne Fried Chicken Scene we headed to Gami since it topped our list and was the most raved about in the Melbourne fried chicken world of reviews. It turned out that reservations were key, but through a lucky fluke, a friendly Gami manager directed us to their second location.

The main location is easy to find, but the secondary one is well hidden in a laneway amidst other Korean restaurants.

Main Location: 100 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne‎ VIC‎ 3000
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Second Location: 535 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne‎ VIC‎ 3000
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We ordered a half/half dish of original and sweet chili fried chicken with a side of corn and cheese and two Gami brewed beers. Hollywood was overjoyed to discover that the dish consisted of 19, yes, 19 Chicken pieces! The Chick was hoping the quality didn’t suffer based on the quantity.

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The beers came quickly with some start snacks that were shortly followed by the corn and cheese dish. This was a skillet of corn kernels drenched in melted cheese. This was a great cheesy dish that is highly recommended, but a bit filling! The Chick was disappointed at the extra sweetness of the canned corn but had a hard time stopping her chopsticks from bringing globs of cheesy corn to her mouth.

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……The Chicken!!

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When the star of the night arrived, we gazed at the huge platter of 19 pieces of chicken and Hollywood exclaimed “I’m in heaven”. The chicken was piping hot, with nicely crispy skin and tender steamy meat. Being Korean fried chicken, the batter was thinner than southern fried chicken, almost like a beer batter, but not as fluffy. After more examination it turns out that the chicken was cut up into some odd shapes, to help with the cooking we guessed, or perhaps in a bid to use the entire chicken.

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Some pieces had hardly any bones, like popcorn chicken! while othes had little meat.

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The sweet chili chicken was very saucy and not that spicey, but it had a lovely sweetness and was a bit more chewy than the original. The Original was not seasoned heavily and let the chicken flavor and crispy skin shine through.

The coleslaw side was a nice fresh touch, with a squirt of thousand island sauce. Beer was light and simple, not thrilling, but a good pairing with the chicken and a good price at 3.50/350 mL.

Overall Gami is a very good fried chicken place and so far it is our Melburnian go-to fried chicken place. We must return to try the soy garlic and spicy fried chicken, but this time with more friends since we left 3 pieces un-eaten, which was a small food tragedy.

Chicken Rating: 7.5/10 Clucks

Extra points for the really friendly manager who met us at both locations. Too bad we missed his name!

Gami on Urbanspoon