Fried, Grilled, or Roasted: Chicken Dishes Take Culinary Inspiration from Around the World

By Spencer Reynolds

When it comes to takeout, one protein rules the roost. We’re talking about chicken! There are so many takeout chicken favourites it’s hard to include them all in one round-up: fried chicken, chicken wings, chicken “tendies” have been making the rounds on social media… the list goes on and on. Let’s start with perhaps the simplest and most iconic of all chicken interpretations: the humble wing.

What’s the secret behind the hypnotic hold chicken wings have on us? Is it the way they effortlessly combine crispiness and tenderness? Or perhaps it’s the kaleidoscope of sauces for these bite-sized finger food favorites? Whatever it is, there’s no denying that chicken wings are the quintessential companion to any game night, movie marathon, or pub crawl. 

The Buffalo wing, coated in that iconic spicy sauce, has its origins in—you guessed it—Buffalo, New York. But fret not, Canadian friends, for the love of wings transcends borders! With local spots like St. Louis Bar & Grill and Wild Wing offering up an array of flavours, there’s no shortage of wing-spiration to explore right at your fingertips.

Prefer things extra crispy? If there’s one thing that can make a picnic, a road trip, or even a mundane Monday instantly better, it’s the aroma of freshly fried chicken. Crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside, this Southern comfort food has made its way into the hearts and stomachs of people around the world from Karaage in Japan to Filipino Jollibee. 

Although the Canadian fried chicken scene includes fan favourites like KFC, there’s a local hero in the mix too. Mary Brown’s has managed to capture the essence of Newfoundland and Labrador in their succulent chicken offerings. The brand expanded beyond the Atlantic provinces in the 1970s and has grown to encompass over 200 stores serving its 100% Canadian-owned signature fried chicken and iconic fried chicken sandwiches, from coast to coast. 

When it’s time to take the flavour up a notch, there’s no better way than to indulge in the art of rotisserie chicken. With its tantalizing aroma wafting through the air, rotisserie chicken promises a hearty and wholesome meal. Swiss Chalet has perfected the art of rotisserie, offering Canadians slow-roasted excellence that has stood the test of time. This iconic Canadian fare not only satisfies cravings but also warms the soul. Just don’t forget the Chalet sauce! 

As diverse as Canada itself, our culinary landscape boasts a bounty of flavours and influences that make every meal an adventure. Enter the world of shawarma, where succulent strips of seasoned chicken are wrapped in a pillowy pita, or laffa bread, accompanied by mouthwatering toppings like toum, a whipped garlic condiment. Originating from the Middle East, shawarma has become a staple in Canadian takeout, especially in the late-night scene, providing a fusion of tastes that tickle our taste buds and evoke a sense of wanderlust.

Local gems like Shawarma Palace, Osmow’s, and Paramount Fine Foods have been perfecting the art of shawarma. Whether you’re craving a quick lunch or a late-night bite, shawarma is always there to transport your taste buds beyond the standard North American chicken fare.

From family picnics in the park to game day gatherings with friends, chicken has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of Canadian culture, creating cherished moments and unforgettable flavours. So, as we celebrate National Chicken Month, let’s raise a saucy wing, a crispy drumstick, or a tender shawarma wrap to the culinary marvel that is chicken.