The Origin of the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy fried chicken has been a part of African-American communities in Nashville for generations, with evidence of its existence as early as the 1930s. However, the current style of spice paste can only be traced back to the mid-1970s. Contrary to popular belief, General Tso's chicken did not originate in the Chinese province of Hunan, but was actually created by Taiwanese chefs in New York in the 1970s. In Korea, fried chicken is double-fried and then topped with a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce.

Central American fried chicken is marinated in citrus juices before frying, while Austrians bread their chicken escalope with a mixture of lightly seasoned flour and breadcrumbs before frying it until golden brown and serving it with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Indian Kerala fried chicken features intense flavors of chili, coriander, garam masala, garlic, ginger and turmeric. In the mid-20th century, Truett Cathy put breaded chicken breasts on hamburger buns to create the modern fried chicken sandwich (FCS). This was followed by the evolution of premium chicken burgers around the world with intercultural influences along with high-end dining techniques that have become staples in American cuisine.

In Alabama, Morgan opened Lorrie Morgan's Hot Chicken Cafe inside a gambling center. Meanwhile, The Commodore introduced Brooklyn to Hot Breast, its addictive spicy sandwich from the venerable Nashville hot chicken. The Scots used to fry their breaded chicken in fat, which made a very soft but crispy piece of chicken. Every chain from McDonald's to Outback restaurants introduced their own premium chicken burger set.

The web was full of photographs of fried chicken smeared with a hot sauce that somehow kept it crispy, served on a bed of white bread and covered by a pickle. Food reviewers warn hot chicken novices to wash their hands before going to the bathroom or touching any other sensitive part of the body. The spicy fried chicken sandwich has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Nashville's African-American communities. It has evolved into an international phenomenon that has been embraced by cultures around the world and is now a staple in American cuisine.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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