Written By: Noah Houk
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a fan of fast food and you’ve probably noticed that there are quite a few fried chicken places around town. Now, although there are plenty of tasty menu options, they all typically have one thing in common: a chicken sandwich. As of late, there’s been quite a bit of buzz regarding the Popeye’s chicken sandwich in particular, so I decided to put it, and all of its competitors to the test.
To test each of these sandwiches, I devised five simple criteria to rate each sandwich: taste, texture, presentation, freshness, and proportions. I gave each sandwich between a 1 and a 5 in each category and tallied up the results to figure out the best (fast food) chicken sandwich in OC. Of course, price is a factor, but we’ll get to that later. (disclaimer: I did not eat all of these alone, I had some trusty friends alongside to help me give a fair rating to each of these)
Setting off on my quest of deep-fried goodness, I made my first stop at KFC, the poster boy of fried chicken in the US. Their sandwich, called the Crispy Colonel, was about as close as I could get to a baseline for the competition. Not a bad sandwich by any means, the colonel simply lacks anything very special, and to be quite honest, came off as a bit of a popeyes wannabe; it followed the same formula as most of the restaurants in the game: chicken, pickles, mayo, bun. However, the chicken itself was not nearly as crispy as I had hoped, and the bun seemed a bit too small for the size of the chicken. Overall, as I said before, not bad, but definitely not great either.
Next on the list was a local favorite that many of you are probably familiar with, Raising Cane’s. Now what sets Cane’s apart from the rest of the competition is that their “sandwich” is BIG, far bigger than the others. However the whole thing came off a bit awkward, rather than using a solid piece of chicken, the Cane’s sandwich is just three tenders on a bun with a piece of lettuce and their signature sauce. Now, while this sandwich wasn’t bad either, it certainly wasn’t the best. The sauce was distributed unevenly, and to be honest, the lettuce wasn’t the right move in my opinion.
The next sandwich was the one and only Popeye’s, and I have to be honest, it is not overhyped by any means. The proportions were nearly perfect, and the crunch and texture of the chicken was great as well. The only thing that Popeye’s suffered from was a poor presentation, however it more than made up for that in the flavor department. Overall, a fantastic sandwich, not to mention a great deal as well, being the cheapest sandwich on the list.
Finally, finishing this wild journey was the one and only Chick-Fil-A. And boy did they bring their A-game as well. With a very unique flavor to their signature sauce, perfectly toasted buns, and the most flavorful chicken on the list, they earned their place right up there with Popeye’s. The one thing I will note is that the sauce really makes the sandwich, but some people are not too crazy about it, like one of my friends. So, this rating really does depend on personal tastes.
Now the part I’m sure you have all been waiting for: the ratings. At the bottom of the list comes KFC, with a 15/25, followed by Raising Cane’s at a 18.5/25, and lastly a tie between Popeye’s and Chick-Fil-A at 20.5/25, which to be honest is solely dependent on personal preference. Also to be noted are the prices, which are as follows: Popeyes: 3.99, KFC: 4.29, Chick-Fil-A: 4.29, and Raising Cane’s: 4.99.
Now as a final thought, I would like to note that both of the sandwiches tied up for first place had 2 things the others didn’t: toasted buns, and seasoned breading; which arguably sets them beyond the competition. But, after all this is just my opinion, and of course mine is not the only one, so go try for yourself!