Holy hen – this is the best chicken I’ve had.
Most of us have a weak spot for fried chicken. It’s the reason KFC had hundreds of people queued after lockdowns ended. We’re a nation of chicken lovers, especially when it’s had a quick dip in hot oil.
But not all fried chicken is created equal. I’ve long heard of a joint in Panmure with a cult following. It’s called Peach’s Hot Chicken. These people worship at the altar of PHC (Peach’s Hot Chicken). Could I be next?
PHC (not an official name, but one that I hope sticks) started in 2017. Alex and Olivia George began with a food truck, based on a family recipe of southern fried chicken. It snowballed. Demand quickly outgrew the food truck, which led them to open a shop in east Auckland.
The first challenge about PHC is finding a seat; the small peach-coloured outlet is almost always packed.
The menu is pretty simple – it has a selection of chicken dishes, and then you decide your level of spice. It ranges from “mild” to “holy cluck”, which is nuclear-grade.
The first thing that hit the table was a dish simply known as “chicken and waffles.” Not too long ago, chicken waffles were seen as a Frankenstein dish that would have insulted the Europeans who invented a primitive form of waffle back in the Stone Age.
But history has proved chicken and waffle are a little like watermelon and feta. Unusual on paper, but it works.
Ours arrived with the best-looking fried chicken I’ve ever seen. But the real magic happened when you combined the fluffy waffle, its savoury whipped garlic butter and chilli maple syrup with the perfectly cooked fry. It was a miracle in the mouth and one of the best things I’ve eaten on home soil.
Then, our attention turned to the ‘chicken and biscuit.’ I was half expecting a Squiggles biscuit dunked in chicken to turn up.
What arrived was something very different. The ‘biscuit’ was filled with an enormous piece of delicately cooked fried chicken, wedged between two considerable scones. Then it struck me: Americans commonly call scones, biscuits. God Bless America because I’m here for chicken scones.
It was crunchy, juicy and unlike anything I’ve tasted.
I still prefer the chicken waffle, but we’ve all had one of those at some point.
Instead, this chicken biscuit is probably the best thing you’ve never tried. Amen PHC; I’m one of your latest disciples.
Peach’s Hot Chicken, 100 Queens Road, Panmure. Chicken & Biscuit $15.50. More details at peachshotchicken.com
The author’s trip was supported by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited.