For someone raised in the Philippines, when asked about what the best fried chicken is, the most probable answer would be Max’s fried chicken because Max’s is the house that chicken built, right? 🙂 Of course, we also do have loyal followers for Jollibee’s Chicken Joy or KFC. But if you ask the same question to people from Singapore, they most probably will tell you that the best fried chicken is Arnold’s. I’m not in search for the best fried chicken like I’m searching for the best chocolate cake ever. But I got really curious when I heard about Arnold’s.
You can’t find Arnold’s in places where most tourists go. To eat at Arnold’s, you have to travel all the way to Paya Lebar Station and walk for about 15 minutes or so until you reach this mall called City Plaza. Walking wasn’t a breeze because it was scorching hot in Singapore and it was very humid too. We were having second thoughts about pursuing Arnold’s because as you see, City Plaza is a mall that looks like it’s stuck in the 70’s or something.
Paya Lebar is not a busy neighborhood and it’s quite intimidating for tourists to see an empty road. As proof, we were able to take a good shot of a wide intersection clear of traffic 🙂 The neighborhood is in Geylang and after a research about the area, I was asking myself why did we even bother. A section of Geylang is the red light district of Singapore where thousands of Asian prostitutes work. It is also home to hundreds of brothels with some being regulated, while others operate behind the scenes illegally.
But for the love of fried chicken, we went there hoping that it will all be worth it. As soon as we stepped inside City Plaza, we were reminded of Greenhills Shopping Centre, minus the people. Except for the sales clerks manning the racks of clothes on display, we didn’t find any person who went there just to look around. It could have been empty with customers were it not for this brave soul who decided to get her nails done there 🙂
And so we went to the second floor which was when we felt a streak of hope that we weren’t alone. We saw lots of people at the second floor and to our surprise, they were also headed to our destination.
It was lunchtime when we arrived and Arnol’ds was already full. There were so many customers waiting for their seats and I thought it was a good sign.
We placed our orders while waiting for our seat. Soon enough, I was ushered to our table while hubby proceeded to the cashier to pay.
I really found it weird that we didn’t see a lot of people from the Paya Lebar MRT station going to City Plaza yet there’s a swarm of people in Arnold’s eager to devour what is claimed to be Singapore’s best fried chicken. Amazing actually 🙂 Let’s see what we got ~
We wanted to get the fried spring chicken but we feared that we can’t consume it all so we settled for a two-piece chicken set with coleslaw and French fries, and fish ‘n chips. Bad news first.
We didn’t like the fish ‘n chips because, well, it was fishy. It has this bad fishy taste and I can tell that the fish wasn’t fresh. I couldn’t find out exactly what kind of fish it was but it definitely was a wrong choice for the dish. However, I don’t think I can fault Arnold’s entirely for that. Arnold’s is fried chicken, not fish ‘n chips.
So, let’s get to the meat of the matter, the fried chicken. Was it good? Was it worth the trip?
It definitely is a big YES. It was crispy and juicy and really really flavorful. They don’t serve gravy or tomato ketchup like here in Manila. There, they serve fried chicken with chili sauce and every table has to have that red bottle.
Is it the best fried chicken in Singapore? I wouldn’t know but if Singapore says so, I have to agree that they have a very good basis.
As for my own judgment, I would say that Arnold’s trumps Jollibee’s Chicken Joy or even KFC. I can’t say though whether it is better than Max’s. Technique-wise, they have their own cooking style. Max’s doesn’t come with a breading and it goes well with its signature ketchup. On the other hand, Arnold’s is like Southern-style but with a different spicy kind of breading. They’re both good I can’t tell which one is better than the other.
If you’d ask me whether it’s worth the trip, I think it would be best if I explain a bit further 🙂 Paya Lebar is far from the center of the city and it’s on that direction going to Changi Airport. The Singapore MRT system is efficient but just to let you know, you have to make a couple of transfers to get to Paya Lebar unless you’re already on the Green Line. We planned our itinerary that day and since we were already in Bugis which is on the Green Line, going to Paya Lebar wasn’t really much of a hassle. It would have been burdensome if we started from Somerset or Orchard Road station near our hotel which are in the Red Line.
I guess what I’m just trying to say is that City Plaza in Paya Lebar is out of the way for most tourists. If you have considered that aspect and it’s okay with you, then by all means go for it and taste the best fried chicken in Singapore. Otherwise, I would have to say that it’s still alright. Arnold’s fried chicken is delicious and one of a kind but it’s not way above the other types of fried chicken by metes and bounds. I bet you can grab something from KFC and still enjoy your lunch 🙂 But in case you decide to go all the way to Paya Lebar, may I suggest that you get the spring chicken with rolls and criss-cut fries. That will make your trip really worth it.
Til my next Singapore post, buy-bye 🙂