The Best Fried Chicken From Fast Food Chains in Malaysia: Ranked

After over a month in isolation… I FINALLY. got. to. eat. Fried chicken. 

Ever since the start of the movement control order here in Malaysia due to the COVID pandemic, my diet has been nothing but healthy, homecooked meals that are either a) steamed, b) boiled or c) stir-fried. And bland, because less salt, less sugar, less oil, less everything. Of course, I’m not complaining – but a girl just misses her fried food sometimes. If this MCO continues, it’ll be good for my waistline; not so much my sanity.

After weeks of trying to convince my mother to let me order GrabFood (she has been insisting on cooking every meal because apparently e-hailing riders may carry the virus), she finally relented  – and I was able to place a sweet, sweet order for some Marrybrown fried chicken. My brother was laughing at the exaggerated way I opened my box, as if unveiling some treasure – but I told him it IS treasure. Golden, crispy fried treasure. 30 minutes later, I sat contentedly in the dining room chair, my eyes glazed over in a high of bliss; like a druggie who just got her fix, lmao.

If it isn’t’ already obvious… I love fried chicken. I love how simple it is to make, yet utterly delicious. I love how different cultures around the world all agree that fried chicken is a universal comfort food. Most of all, I love how good fried chicken tastes – the juiciness of the insides, the crisp flavourful exterior. Which is why I’m sharing with you my ranking of THE best fried chicken from fast food outlets in Malaysia. Note that this is my personal ranking – so you might disagree with me, which is totally fine: everyone has their own preferences.

1 ) A&W’s Golden Aroma Chicken / Spicy Golden Aroma Chicken 

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my 8th birthday party at the A&W in Taman Jaya. Back then (for an eight-year-old, at least) having a birthday party at a fast food joint was like throwing a grand banquet at the St Regis – and I gorged myself on coney dogs, curly fries, rootbeer float and waffles. Funnily enough, I can’t seem to recall eating fried chicken at A&W : I think it’s a relatively new item since I only have memories of trying it for the first time after joining the workforce.

I usually have A&W at the original outlet in Taman Jaya, or at IOI Mall in Puchong. The chicken is always super fresh; sometimes it takes time for your order to be served because they don’t fry a big batch in advance – but it’s worth the wait. The skin is perfectly breaded and fried to golden brown perfection, the insides are juicy, and the complex flavour of herbs permeates throughout the entire piece of chicken, not just on the skin. I think their spicy chicken is actually one of the hottest ones, in comparison to other fast-food chains.

2) Marrybrown 

Marrybrown is a homegrown fast-food chain that specialises in fried chicken, burgers and Asian fusion dishes, such as fried chicken with nasi lemak, rice, porridge and the like. While it may not be as popular as, say KFC and McDonalds, it is pretty well known throughout Malaysia especially in smaller towns, and has a strong presence in the Middle East.

For some reason, Malaysians are not big on gravy and sauces with their fried chicken, which is a big shame because gravy + fried chicken = killer combo (the reason why I love Jollibee). While Marrybrown chicken is good on its own, I like that they offer sauces to go with your meal. My favourite was the mushroom sauce, although this was later discontinued. They still have the black pepper sauce option though, which is very spicy and peppery – perfect for soaking up with the savoury, well-marinated chicken meat.

3) McDonalds Ayam Goreng McD 

I consider McDonalds to be an all-rounder when it comes to fast food – their burgers are good, but so are their other offerings, including the fried chicken. McD’s spicy fried chicken has a distinctive fiery orange colour and somewhat loose (?) breading. The meat has good flavour and is usually fresh. The popularity of the fried chicken soared after McDonalds Malaysia made this simple yet super effective ad which had no music, no narration – just the sound of people indulging in crunchy fried chicken.

4) KFC

You can’t mention fried chicken and not include KFC on the list. It’s a hit and miss in my books though – their quality control between outlets isn’t great. Case in point: the KFC near my house tastes pretty shitty (greasy, chicken isn’t fresh and has that been-in-the-freezer-too-long taste), but the one near my workplace makes excellent fried chicken. I prefer the original over the spicy.

5) Burger King

While they’re more popular for their burgers and whoppers, Burger King serves surprisingly good fried chicken, especially at their outlet at Sunway Pyramid. The chicken is crispy, breaded well and has moist, succulent meat.

6) Texas Chicken

Sorry, Texas fans. While the chicken is decent, it’s my least favourite as compared to the rest on this list because I’m not a big fan of the thick flour coating that Texas has, which also tastes pretty bland to me. Would eat it if I’m really craving fried chicken and there’s no other fast-food option around. I love their honey biscuit and sweet tea, though!

What are your favourite fast-food places to get fried chicken? Let me know if you agree with my ranking, or if you have a personal favourite!

Kitties at A&W Puchong Permai, Puchong

Why pay extravagant prices at a cat cafe when you can play with the furry kitties at your neighbourhood A&W? 

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This sweetie responds to ‘miming’. I suspect the A&W staff feed her because she is unafraid of humans and keeps popping into the air-conditioned area whenever someone opens the door (the staff carried her outside several times). She seems to be the resident cat, because the last couple of months I was here she was already walking around the place. She likes to sit in the decorative box dividing the petrol station outside with the restaurant’s outdoor patio, next to the plants.

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There was also a male tabby. It was hugeee. Didn’t pet it because it looked mean, like the kind filled with testosterone and wont hesitate to scratch your eyes out. It sat at the foot of my chair lol.

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Simon and I had our usual unhealthy dose of cheesy beef and chicken nachos.

Don’t judge, I don’t have them very often. 😛

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Nothing like an ice cold root beer in 32 degree Celcius weather.

February is one of the hottest months in Malaysia, so we’re all bracing ourselves for the scorching sun and prolonged periods without rain. Drink lots of water and don’t get dehydrated! 🙂

A&W & Vegetarian Food@Simple Life

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about the A&W Drive-In restaurant in PJ closing down in December to make way for a new building. The place has been around since 1965 and is an iconic landmark in Petaling Jaya, being one of the oldest fast food chains in Malaysia. Sadly, the franchise hasn’t been doing so good; trumped by stronger competitors like KFC and McDonalds.

Since the announcement, the old and tired restaurant has seen a boost in customers flocking for a last taste. Since I was in the neighbourhood the other day, I dropped by for lunch on Saturday. The place was full of customers, mostly families. Generations of Malaysians have dined in here, and it’s sad to see it go. My parents used to go on dates here, and I celebrated my 8th birthday with my primary school friends with the A&W bear, fries and fried chicken.

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Feeling all nostalgic, I sat at the bar countertop facing the parking area. The old coin slot ride machines have been there since forever, and as a kid I used to ride in them. The memories!

Ordered spicy fried chicken along with my all-time favourite curly fries androotbeer float. 

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It’s impossible to find curly fries like the ones at A&W. Seasoned just right without being too salty, crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft and mash-like on the inside.

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There are two versions of fried chicken – original and spicy. If you can’t take the heat, I wouldn’t recommend the spicy one (above) because they really are quite hot. My ear drums hurt after eating the crunchy skin, but it was oh-so-worth it. The meat is tender and juicy, unlike some other fast food joints where the meat is dry and flaky.

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It surprises me why people don’t come here more often before. The food is decent. I guess its the whole ambience of the restaurant, because they haven’t renovated for a long, long time. They’re still using the old tables and chairs, and the countertops, even though clean, had dark splotches built up over time that wouldn’t go away. The flourescent lighting also makes the whole place look much shabbier than it really is.

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Finished off my meal with a glass of cold Root Beer Float! Root beer float is… well… root beer float. Ice-cream ftw!

They used to serve these in large glass mugs, but I guess they did away with it for convenience.

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I went to IOI Mall later that night to get a Thai massage, but the staff there said it was full over the weekend. Ended up browsing through the bookstore and then eating at Simple Life Healthy Vegetarian restaurant, a new eatery on the third floor of the mall. The shoplot used to house an A&W but it shut down due to lack of business.

Anyway, Simple Life has a very cosy Zen-like interior, with lots of wooden accents and clean bright lights. I ordered assorted fried mushroom to go with my white rice. I haven’t eaten white rice for close to a month since I started cutting carbs, and after having my first bite…. ohmygod.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s something to do with being raised on a staple diet of rice – I crave for it after not having it for a long time. I know it’s tasteless, but there’s nothing better than to have a savoury dish to go along with white rice.. especially if there’s sauce.

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The mushrooms were good, albeit a little oily. There was needle mushroom, Oyster and Shiitake. For RM12++, the portion is reasonably big

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Last but not least for this food post… home made spirelli pasta!

Now I fail at most cooking, but even I can make a decent meal. How did you think I survived living alone in the UK?

I like stir-frying some garlic before adding in minced chicken and shrimp, (it really adds flavour to it!) then tomato sauce and water. I also like my pasta al-dente. The chicken and shrimp were marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper before sauteing.