As I line up to pay for my 100yen packet of mints, I see them staring at me from the heated display case they sit in, right next to the cash register. I ignore them…or try to anyway, but they have already gotten a hold of me by this point. “Next customer please!” the girl on register calls which takes me within 1 person of being served. I ruffle around in my pockets for the silver 100 yen coin I need to complete my purchase and inadvertently (possibly intentionally) pull out 300Yen.
Now, this really has turned into a dilemma as it means I DO have enough loose change to do it, the financial issue no longer exists. There are 5 hot, juicy, succulent pieces all lined up…..It’s 4pm “it won’t ruin my dinner, will it?” I ask myself, conveniently making use of the rhetorical question form. When I wake from my little daydream the girl at the counter is staring at me…”Next please” she says as if she’s been repeating the phrase for the last minute or so – The tutting sound from the sweating salesman standing behind me would suggest she had been. I put the mints on the counter, she scans them, she looks at me, I look at her, I look at the hot case, she does the same, I look at my 300 yen, she does the same…”Is that all sir?” She says sheepishly, in a tone suggesting I haven’t quite concluded my order.
Then it happens. The little red man with horns on my left shoulder pricks the angel like figure on right causing him to pop and vanish. It’s at that very moment I say the fateful words “Furaido chikin hitosu kudasai”. It was on “Fu..” that she knew what was coming and so bagged up the chicken before I had even finished my sentence. I leave the convenience store excited and guilty, “where are my mints?” I wonder, “whatever” I carelessly sigh. The truth is, I hadn’t gone in there with the intention of buying them anyway. I find a quiet spot off the main street, out of the way of people and cars, to enjoy my 20 seconds of fried heaven. I pull off the tape, open the bag and a little puff of steams greets me as to say “I’m all yours”. The rest they say, is history…….
Based on this little experience of mine, I decided to put 3 convenience stores to the “fried chicken” test. Seven Eleven’s “Fried Chicken”, Lawson’s “L-Chiki” (L-チキ） and Family-Mart’s “FamiChiki” (ファミチキ) donned their gloves attempted to win me over in a battle for the ‘deep fried heavyweight belt’.
First up to the plate at 340 calories and 165Yen Seven Eleven offer their originally named “fried chicken”. The highest calorie count and the most expensive of the 3 competing chicken pieces so taste expectations were high. We felt a little disappointed with this one - less succulent and seasoned with a slightly dry and tougher coating. What we liked about it was it less greasy than both Lawson and Family Mart’s offering…don’t know how they worked that magic with 340 calories, but they did. I wanted a little more from the coating, not only because it was a little tough but a little bland too. They consequently affected its overall score.
Verdict: With the highest calorie count and price tag it had to be the best, but it wasn’t. A slightly disappointing result.
Score: 3 / 5
Lawson’s L Chiki has become a convenience store hit as it sells for just 128Yen making it the cheapest of the competitors. Larger in size than both Seven Eleven and Family Mart, L-Chiki still rolls in lighter than Seven Eleven at 291 Calories. Honestly speaking, it’s pretty good, juicier than the Seven Eleven version and better seasoned. Sadly, like SE it stilled lacked that something in the coating to get the taste buds humming.
Verdict: A winner on price but lacked that x-factor. Recommended – A meeting with the colonel for coating advice.
Score: 3.5 / 5
At 242 calories ファミチキ (Famichiki) is lighter than both Lawsons Lチキ and Seven Elevens “Fried Chicken” and for 160 yen, the number 2 on price. The coating on Family Marts’ chicken is good , a crunchy mix of spice and seasoning, not too tough either. It also score points for being the juiciest of the 3 making it very succulent. A slight negative point was that we felt it was a little greasy (comparatively). This really was the only fault we could find.
Verdict: An all-round winner. lighter, tastier and juicer.
Score: 4.5 / 5