Everybody loves fried chicken. And in Manila, there are plenty of fried chicken options for the scintillating connoisseur. Thanks to 24-hour fast food staples like Jollibee and KFC, or dependable corner stores like Mini Stop and Family Mart, the average hungry Pinoy isn’t going to run out of that fried chicken fix at any hour of the day. And, you guessed it, the fat man is no exception.
But my love for fried chicken is only matched by my hatred for the utensils that these establishments provide. Aside from KFC, none of the places serving easily accessible fried chicken seem to care about the quality of the tools for eating said chicken. Sure, you could be eating the chicken by hand, but sometimes, that isn’t an option.
So in the spirit of gluttony and wrath, I came up with a list of my favorite fried chicken vendors, and I am reviewing the quality of their in-store utensils. Scores go from one to five, with five being the apex of flatware availability, and one being pond scum. Note that I’m not scoring the chicken, but the utensils that they use. Stores get plus points if their premises have a bathroom, or at least a wash area.
I mention KFC first, because they’re obviously the best. They do their chicken right, to paraphrase an old slogan, and they know that it’s really difficult digging into a piece of crispy fried chicken with plastic tools. So not only do they have proper cutlery for all of their dine-in customers, but they also have a wash area for the barbarians that decide to dig into their chix with their fingers.
Fat score: 5, naturally.
Jollibee can be a mixed bag. I think there are some branches that do have proper cutlery, but the fact is that generally, Jollibee provides their chicken eaters with plastic spoons and forks. That said, I’ve never known Jollibee plastic spoons and forks to snap while in use, but I’m not going to hold my breath thinking that they’re the one exception to this rule. Luckily, every Jollibee has at least a wash area in the premises. Granted, these are usually dirty, but at least you can wash away the chicken grease.
Fat score: 3, because fear of snapping = snapping
I used to hold Family Mart utensils in high regard, since they looked like the kind of plastic that can take on the job of digging into a piece of chicken with wanton abandon. I have since been proven wrong; while the plastic in Family Mart’s utensils don’t snap off, they do bend easily. Have you ever tried eating chicken with a fork whose spokes have been bent out of shape? It sucks. But the good thing about most Family Marts is that they usually do have a wash area. Not all of them do, though.
Fat Score: 2, because you were supposed to be the chosen one, Family Mart.
Ah Mini Stop. Not only are they a natural, potent challenger to 7-11’s top position as the nation’s leading convenience store, they are also home to what could be one of the best fried chickens in the Metro Manila area. But dude, their utensils suck so much. Whenever I buy chicken from a Mini Stop virtually anywhere, I always end up asking for two pairs of utensils since the first pair is always sure to snap on me. And they don’t even have a wash area, so your only solution for cleaning your hands post-chicken is to use the paper napkins they provide with the utensils—which are just as pathetic as their plastic counterparts.
Fat Score: 0.5, since really.