Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken – where the name says it all

Sydney's fried chicken obsession would seem to be in its infancy still. The fried chicken game has been upped recently with the opening of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken just over three weeks ago in Liverpool Street in CBD south, shortly after the Taiwanese franchise’s first two Australian stores opened in Melbourne.

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken is a Taiwanese chain with more than 40 stores in its home country and an increasing presence in south-east Asia and now Australia, where expansion in Sydney is on the cards.

Large Fried Chicken "Original" from Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, Liverpool Street, Sydney
Famous in Taipei's Shilin Night Market where it originated, Hot Star's signature product is an opened up chicken breast, on the rib bone, deep fried with a flour coating then seasoned to desired spice levels.

The chicken is served piping hot out of the deep fryer in a paper bag, then plastic-bagged by the customer for their taking-away and eating enjoyment.

They're not kidding when they say it's "Large Fried Chicken" – the breast makes for a formidably-sized cutlet that's described as "oversized" and "larger than palm-sized". Each serving portion is 250 grams of chicken breast, approximately 30 centimetres in length.

Chicken in the deep fryer
The fresh, never frozen chicken breast is cooked for 4.5 minutes in a deep fryer that can hold 20 large pieces per fry. The canola oil in each fryer is changed three times a day; ensuring a clean deep fry that tends to range from pale to golden.

Marinating chicken breasts

Flour coating the chicken
The chicken is 100% breast sourced from local suppliers – real chicken with real bones – and is marinated for at least 12 hours before being coated in flour immediately ahead of deep frying to order.

Sydney store front
The Sydney store has been averaging sales of about 700 portions of large fried chicken a day since opening in early March, with the "Original" being the most popular with a "medium spice" seasoning.

The seasoning sprinkled on each cooked chicken breast is imported from Taiwan and comprises salt, pepper and a special chilli powder.

Large fried chicken coating
As the chicken and other vegetable sides are all cooked to order, a small wait for deep fried goodness is inevitable. For the uninitiated, it's hard not to smile when you receive your first Large Fried Chicken: it's golden, it's huge and it's hot. Really hot.

The flour coating is undoubtedly crispy when fresh out of the fryer, though it does soften in the hot, steamy confines of its paper bag. I found the medium spice to be quite mild and would definitely consider increasing that next time.

Insides of Large Fried Chicken "Original"
The insides are probably the juiciest chicken breast you'll come across – definitely in fried chicken land, and perhaps in the breast cut generally. At the top boneless section, you can take big, glorious bites out of it while towards the bottom, it's a case of nibbling off the outer side of the rib bones.

The combination of crunch, seasoning and juicy insides makes for a very happy fried chicken experience. Utterly satisfying for cravings or a large snack, the Large Fried Chicken is actually positioned as a substantial meal unto itself, perhaps embellished with a few side options.

Chicken bites
The chicken bites give my chicken nuggets compulsion a good run for its money. Small chunks of chicken breast, two or three bites each, are coated in the same flour and seasoning and are tossed with fresh sweet basil leaves upon removal from the deep fryer, as is common for fried chicken in Taiwanese cuisine.

The breast meat in the bites weren't nearly as moist and juicy as the Large Fried Chicken, but the basil addition added an additional flavour dimension that's fresh and fragrant.

Sweet potato fries
Hot Star's sweet potato chips are definitely contenders for the best of their breed. Cooked from a fresh, raw state, they were super crunchy in their flour coat, and soft and sweet on the inside; blissful with a light seasoning.

King brown mushrooms
One of the more unusual sides options are the deep fried chunks of fresh King Brown mushrooms. Beware, they're possibly the hottest thing to come out of a deep fryer in terms of heat, given their moisture content, and they go soggy before reaching a bearable eating temperature.

But, they're completely worthwhile, if only as a noble vegetable/fungus side that you probably won't see elsewhere.

Curly potato fries with spicy mayonnaise
Last but not least of the sides are the curly potato fries that would make any kid's eyes light up.

The only processed product on the menu, they are offered with a spicy mayonnaise that's made in-house and only for the apparently mayo-loving Australian market. With a soft crunch, the potato curls are relatively pedestrian but naughtily pleasing nonetheless.

The Hot Star Large Fried Chicken menu
It's all in the name – the star of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken is the Large Fried Chicken. Open till midnight most nights and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, I foresee Hot Star Large Fried Chicken becoming a lunch/snack/dinner/late night name that I'm going to get to know intimately.

Food, booze and shoes sampled products from Hot Star Large Fried Chicken as a guest, with thanks to Harvey Publicity.

Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon


missklicious said...

Saw this everywhere in HK, but never tried it - must give it a go now that we have a branch in Sydney! The sweet potato fries look really good.

Foodsaurus said...

That piece of chicken looks so good, I can't wait to try it!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I loved the curry seasoning! It was so moreish! :D

Tina said...

Hi missklicious - Definitely worth giving a go. I'm scared I might become a regular...

Hi Foodsaurus - Hope you like it too!

Hi Lorraine - I didn't see the curry option..! But really liked the chilli anyway

Milktea Eats said...

how good is the sweet potato chips?!?!

Unknown said...

That Big and Hot Star Large Fried Chicken seems great.. Wanna fly ton Liverpool Street in CBD south, to see and taste the difference.

Tina said...

Hi Amy - Certainly the best I've had!


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