Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The home-style fried chicken at Win Win Chick-N is well worth the drive to Steveston Village in Richmond, B.C., if you're coming from downtown Vancouver.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

This is the summer of fried chicken in Metro Vancouver. It’s burning up social media and spreading across special menus everywhere. There are new joints opening up – including three featured here – and established restaurants (Juke Fried Chicken, for one) moving into new neighbourhoods.

Downlow Chicken Shack

Side of Milk. It sounds so innocent, almost childlike. Don’t be fooled. This is the XX-hot version of Nashville fried chicken at Downlow Chicken Shack. And the first time you sink your teeth through its crispy, crackly, scarlet-stained crust is somewhat similar to an exhilarating roller-coaster drop.

Initially, nothing happens. All you feel is the moist, chalky layer of musty ground chili powders – habanero, Scotch bonnet, ghost and the deadly Carolina Reaper – grazing your lips.

Story continues below advertisement

After 30 seconds or so, a single tear rolls down your cheek.

Still nothing.

Then the burn hits and knocks you sideways. A tingly buzz spreads across your tongue to the back of the throat, building in intensity until it scorches your entire mouth cavity. Your vision goes blurry, your nose sniffles and you start gasping uncontrollably.

Meat? What meat? There must have been some juicy chicken thigh somewhere in that bite, but you don’t notice or even think about it until you emerge from the fog with numb taste buds and a giddy sense of euphoria.

Since it opened in June, there have been long lineups snaking outside this humble counter-service restaurant that features an open kitchen, outdoor picnic tables and blaring rap music. It specializes in Nashville hot chicken, which originated at a place called Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. It became the trendy food du jour three years ago, flapping its incendiary wings into every food truck and Instagram feed from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, N.Y.

But is it worth a 20-minute wait? (The lineups are moving much faster in recent weeks.)

If you start slowly – with the original fried chicken or mildly burning, medium-coated batter – you can actually taste the chicken. It’s extremely tender and juicy, having been brined for 24 hours and then rested in buttermilk for two additional hours.

Story continues below advertisement

The seasoned-flour crust is exceptionally craggy and crunchy. Owners Doug Stephen and Lindsay Mann (from Merchant’s Tavern) achieve this thick and deeply creviced texture by flicking buttermilk into the dry flour before dredging so it forms clumps. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately (depending on your preference), the crust doesn’t adhere well to the chicken and cracks off in flat shingles.

You can pick your desired heat level: medium (Mexican chili powder); hot (cayenne and smoked paprika); extra hot (habanero, Scotch bonnet and ghost); and the aforementioned Side of Milk (which gets an extra shake of Carolina Reaper). The spice blends give each heat level a slightly different flavour profile. And the coating is sludgy because the chicken is dunked in warm oil – post-frying – and then dusted in spice. Only the hot versions are fried in chili-infused oil.

Downlow is an impressive fried-chicken operation. And the sides – grainy corn bread, macaroni salad with melted pimento-cheese dressing and bright lashes of dill – are well done. But I honestly don’t think I’d line up for it again. And only a masochist would ever order the Side of Milk.

Frying Pan Food Truck

  • 505 Burrard St., Vancouver
  • Open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • @thefryingpan604

Need a fast hit of hot fried chicken on your lunch break? The Frying Pan Food Truck, opened last fall and stationed at the corner of Burrard and West Pender Streets, has got you covered.

A cross between Nashville and Korean fried chicken, the meat is brined for 48 hours (no buttermilk), dredged in seasoned flour, deep-fried twice and then coated in a hot chili oil blended with more than 10 types of spices.

The thick, craggy crust has a terrific crackle and crunch. And the hot coating has a bright tang. The “spicy” version is not overpoweringly hot. It leaves just a slight tingle on the sensitive skin above the lip. Unfortunately, they only offer breast meat, hand-pounded into cutlets. While extremely juicy for breast meat, it is breast meat and, thus, relatively tasteless.

Story continues below advertisement

It can be ordered in a teriyaki rice bowl ($13) or as a burger ($12) in a buttered, brioche bun layered with creamy slaw and sweet bread-and-butter pickles.

Win Win Chick-N

A three-piece fried chicken combo with fries, gravy and Filipino pasta salad at Win Win Chick-N. Except for the pasta, everything is cooked to order.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

If you’re coming from downtown, the drive to Steveston Village is a long one. But the home-style fried chicken at Win Win Chick-N is well worth going the distance.

Of the all fried chicken sampled for this column (there were more than three), this one satisfied most. There is nothing particularly special about this locally raised, but not free-run chicken. It’s simply brined overnight and battered with seasoned flour. The crust is thin and crisp. There isn’t any hot sauce in sight.

But it is chin-dribbling juicy, salty and – to use a hoary, old chestnut – finger-licking good. This is the kind of chicken you could eat day-in, day-out.

What’s the secret recipe? “It’s made with L.O.V.E.,” said co-owner Richard Roberto as he laughed, spelling out the word.

I actually think the secret is the pressure fryer. It locks in the juices, just like KFC.

Story continues below advertisement

Opened on Canada Day, this modest take-out shop is already generating lineups. It only offers chicken (thigh and drumstick, breast is $1 extra), fresh-cut fries, homemade gravy and Filipino spaghetti (a sweet pasta salad made with banana ketchup and tossed with thin coins of hot dog). Except for the pasta, it’s all cooked to order, so be prepared to wait about 10 to 15 minutes.

Mr. Roberto’s sister-in-law recently added homemade ube (purple yam) cakes to the menu. They’re frosted with purple icing, white florets and what looks like a whole lot more love.

Win Win Chick-N co-owner Richard Roberto breads chicken to be fried at the restaurant.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies