The Unvegan

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Damn Near Perfection at Tokyo Fried Chicken

Bears and chicken.

You don’t really associate Japan with fried chicken. I mean, sure, if you’ve spent enough time in Japan or with Japanese food you have undoubtedly discovered karaage and more, but those aren’t exactly Earth-shattering compared to the fried chicken of the American South or even the fried chicken of Japan’s neighbor buddy (kind of), Korea. But Tokyo Fried Chicken in Monterey Park is doing its best to change that perception. So when it came down to choosing new restaurants or eating at old favorites before making the move to Phoenix, Tokyo Fried Chicken is where I found myself eating my last reviewable meal as a resident of Southern California (at least for now!).

So many pieces.

As there were three of us, we decided to order the Meal for 3. This included 9 pieces of chicken, 3 sides, rice and some sort of cabbage-y thingy that I wouldn’t need to have anything to do with. For the sides we got the curry creamed corn and upgraded the other two to mac and cheese and brussels sprouts. The last of these was obviously not my idea, but I was content just to eat the other two.

We swapped out a couple of the pieces of chicken for chicken breast because one of my companions was a white meat only racist, and unfortunately this made the food take a little longer to cook. But, soon enough it was ready with the sauces on the side to go with it (Ponzu, Spicy Ponzu and a taste of the Yuzu Pepper sauce just to see what it was like, which was pretty solid). Oh, we even got gloves to eat the chicken with so we wouldn’t get our hands dirty.

Anyway, the chicken was nothing short of incredible. The breading was all sort of crispy, while having no trouble clinging to the chicken. It was just thick enough and also flavorful in all the right ways. The chicken also managed to stay perfectly juicy – even the white meat that I ate at the end because there was extra. I was a fan of the Spicy Ponzu sauce, but really you couldn’t go wrong.

Mac and what?

As for the sides, the curry creamed corn was exactly what it sounds like. So, if you like corn and curry, this is your dish. If you are expecting something unique and different than creamed corn, this is your dish. But if you’re hoping for something life-changing as a lover of corn in curry, you may be disappointed. And as for the mac and cheese, I’m actually going to weirdly penalize it for trying too hard to be different. The flavor was unique, but it could also be described as “off.” This, of course, did not stop me from devouring every last bite of the stuff, but if I had to do it all over again I would have traded out the mac for more fried chicken.

And that was my overall feeling as I left. Tokyo Fried Chicken is simply amazing at making fried chicken. And all the while the sides are just along for the ride on the coattails of the chicken. Truth be told, that was just fine by me.