Back when food writers had simpler things to worry about than an existential threat to the entire industry, chicken sandwiches were our raison d’etre. First, we had the furore around Popeyes crispy, Cajun-spiced newcomer on the scene. Next followed months of arguing over who exactly was king of the fillet. Finally, the hype became overblown to the point where chicken sandwiches were being duct-taped to art gallery walls. How we miss 2019.
Naturally, now that a pandemic has ruined all of our most carefully laid dinner plans, chicken sandwiches have fallen quite a long way down the food chain. However, in a bid to get us all thinking about the things that really matter once again, one popular London street food stand has created a truly game-changing chicken sandwich that deserves to have some respect on its name.
Best known for its fabulously flavourful shengjianbao soup dumplings and wontons, Dumpling Shack in Spitalfields has decided to use the pandemic to make some menu changes. Excitingly for all East London sandwich lovers, this includes adding a brand new Sichuan hot fried chicken sandwich to the menu. Put that in your Popeyes pipe and smoke it.
Check out Twisted's Giant Fried Chicken Donut Sandwich:
The dish, which comes with an optional side of spicy Chengdu fries, features a chilli mayo slaw and sharp pickles, as well as chicken drenched in a house mala chilli oil for a fierce kick. According to a post shared by the restaurant on Instagram:
“We brine the chicken in a spiced buttermilk for 24 hours and dredge it in a Sichuan spice mix, fried to order (it’s worth the extra couple of minutes wait I promise) and dipped in our mala chilli oil. One of the key components of the sandwich is the @paulrhodesbakery brioche roll that holds in the chicken, chilli mayo slaw and pickles.”
Popeyes vs Chick-Fil-A was undoubtedly one of the fast-food’s biggest-ever battles. But if you look beyond the big guns of the industry, it becomes obvious that there are plenty of other exciting twists on the chicken sandwich formula to try. We’ll see you in the East End.