August 21, 2019

The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America

Helen Rosner writing for The New Yorker:

Popeyes fried chicken is fantastic. The meat is flavorful and juicy, encased in a spiky, golden sea urchin of batter—surprisingly light, uncommonly crispy. Fried chicken is one of the world’s great culinary syntheses, found in cultures and kitchens on every patch of the planet: bird, flour, fat. American fried chicken, whose recipe was cultivated by enslaved Africans in the South, is, at its best, a food of transcendent deliciousness, an object of near holiness. There is almost certainly better fried chicken in the world than the version found at Popeyes, but only marginally so—and, in most of the forty-nine states where Popeyes locations can be found, it’s unlikely that whatever’s better is more convenient or reliable. If you were going to try to pass off another restaurant’s fried chicken as your own, and you had a Popeyes nearby—well, you could do a whole lot worse.

This is a pretty dead on description of Popeyes. Unless you live in the South itself, you’d be hard pressed to find better chicken than theirs. That said, Popeyes is better in Mississippi than anywhere else I’ve had it, by my own observation. Popeyes is also the only place I’ll find the kind of sides I like, as I’ll prefer anything remotely cajun over even general Southern food, but especially the fake Cheez Wiz mac & cheese that suffices from most places.

chicken sandwich

As for the new chicken sandwich, this is the best southern chicken sandwich I’m going to find in Lincoln, Nebraska. Good choice on the buttery bread, the cayenne-laced mayo is a good touch, and there’s good pickle coverage. This chicken is a good bite, not dry anywhere with good breading. Well done! Much better than the trash po’ boy that used to be on the menu.