Chantecler. Sure, they had me at cold fried chicken. But then they had me (and then some) with spicy popcorn chicken ($10), an appetizer for the restaurant’s lettuce wrap meal. This isn’t anything like the chicken nuggets of KFC fame. No, sir. This popcorn chicken, brilliantly enough, actually has popcorn in it.">

Cheap Eat of the Week: Chantecler’s popcorn chicken


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Popcorn chicken, Chantecler-style (Image: Gizelle Lau)

I’ve got a love affair with Chantecler. Sure, they had me at cold fried chicken. But then they had me (and then some) with spicy popcorn chicken ($10), an appetizer for the restaurant’s lettuce wrap meal. This isn’t anything like the chicken nuggets of KFC fame. No, sir. This popcorn chicken, brilliantly enough, actually has popcorn in it.

It starts with chicken thigh that’s brined overnight, followed by a buttermilk brine the next night. The chicken is tossed in a spice mix of black pepper, cinnamon, morita pepper and garlic powder; it’s then dredged in a tempura batter, covered in popcorn and then fried. It’s finished with a seasoning of salt, sugar, chillies and Szechuan peppercorn.

The result? Crispy, crunchy, airy, spicy and salty; sweet on the outside and juicy-tender on the inside. The stuff of legends.

Chantecler, 1320 Queen St. W., 416-628-3586

Gizelle Lau is a food/travel writer and photographer in Toronto who lives from one meal to the next. Her column, Cheap Eat of the Week, highlights dishes that costs $10 or less. Follow her on Twitter for your daily dose of food from in/around the city.

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