PEOPLE of all ages enjoy chicken tenders, otherwise referred to as chicken fingers, or chicken strips. They are small, boneless, skinless pieces of chicken breast that are usually breaded, fried, and served with a selection of dipping sauces. There is no denying the adaptability and taste of this popular dish, regardless of whether you choose the healthy grilled version, or the typical breaded chicken tenders.
We recently visited a restaurant called L.A. Chicken that focuses more on selling chicken tenders than regular fried chicken. theSun chatted with Lee Henyi, the owner of L.A. Chicken, about his experience running the business and how it became everyone’s favourite in such a short space of time.
Henyi, who hails from Penang, is a second-generation fried chicken business owner. Henyi claims that he has over 10 different outlets in Penang and that, after earning his accounting degree from a nearby institution, he decided to keep growing the family business.
Since the pandemic, the entire concept of L.A. Chicken has evolved. He remarked: “I discovered that there is a bigger demand for chicken tenders [compared to fried chicken].”
Henyi realised that few local-based fast food restaurants actually sell real chicken tenders. Consequently, L.A. Chicken was formed. Chicken tenders may be unfamiliar to Penangites, but Henyi explained: “I wanted to try this business in KL.”
In September 2021, L.A. Chicken started as a food trailer business in the IPC shopping centre. “Finding the ideal location for a chicken tender shop was difficult,” said Henyi. “Potential clients may believe that chicken tenders are not worth the price since they are accustomed to comparing the sizes of chicken tenders to those of regular fried chicken.
“We tried relocating to several malls and changing the recipe numerous times because we needed a change, but none of them were successful, until we switched to a kiosk-style business model.”
At the time the business was known as Wishbone Fried Chicken, before being changed to its current name. L. A. Chicken, which is an acronym for Lee and Alan’s Chicken and, in Malay, it also stands for “delicious chicken” (Lazat Ayam).
“We were able to build a restaurant here in PJ because of the great business here,” said Henyi.
Since chicken tender are also relatively easy to eat (unlike chicken wings), you do not have to worry about getting your hands too dirty when eating at L.A. Chicken.
We tried some of their bestselling meals. Their mukbang set served as our opening act. Three pieces of chicken tenders, three baby burgers, one chicken skin, eight onion rings, and three different types of sauces are included in their sharing plate (RM48.90).
Five different sauces are available for you to choose from at L.A. Chicken: buttermilk, tartar sauce, sweet chilli, L.A. sauce, and garlic mayo. The buttermilk is probably my favourite since it’s so thick and creamy!
There are three ‘spiciness’ degrees for the chicken: original, hot and ‘don’t chicken out’, which is the spiciest of them all.
The chicken tenders surprised me because I initially assumed they wouldn’t be too different from the norm. However, I really liked them.
The meat on these chicken tenders is soft and delightfully moist, which is what makes them so appealing.
A delicious, somewhat spicy crisp without any gristle surrounds chicken, that is very easy to bite in half. The inside flesh was quite juicy and crisp. The spiciness of the chicken tenders blended beautifully with the dipping sauce as well as on their own.
Additionally, we tasted their original 3-piece chicken tenders (RM15.90). In light of how large each tender is, it is really affordable. Actually, the tender effortlessly breaks in half when you pull it apart with your hands. It was crisp, golden brown, and well-seasoned.
A mini chicken patty, lettuce, a freshly baked bread, cheese, and tartar sauce are all included in the baby burgers. Despite being small, it was quite filling. Of course, I also really loved eating the chicken skin and onion rings.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s best to consume these foods while they’re still hot, since they won’t taste as good once they cool down.
After that, I tried their Nasi Lemak (RM12.90). Henyi claimed that since they didn’t use coconut milk in their Nasi Lemak, the flavour was much richer and more unique.
I was also impressed by their blockbuster burger (RM18.90). A sizable portion of their XXXL chicken patties, chicken skin, caramelised onions, a freshly baked bread, cheese, lettuce, L.A. truffle sauce, and tartar sauce are all included in the burger. Except for the onions, I loved everything about it. Every mouthful is obscenely soft and drenched in clear, non-greasy juices.
But the flavour of the burger was easily defeated by the aftertaste of caramelised onions. It’s also most likely because the burger was already cold by the time I ate it. However, overall it is still among my favourite hamburgers.
Henyi added that the business has just established its central kitchen, therefore they intend to increase their visibility by opening a few more locations across the Klang Valley.
“As long as there is a balance between supply and demand, there is a market for everything. We think there is a market for boneless chicken tenders; but, no establishment has the guts to offer them as a main dish.”
Henyi says that in the modern day restaurant business, boneless chicken is the best option. “The fried chicken industry is competitive, but demand has been rising steadily over time.
“All we have to do is gain momentum and keep going till more people are aware of us. L.A. Chicken is still a long way from success, but it is no secret that we need to be reliable and skilled workers if we want to succeed.
“Therefore, we take pride in preparing our meals.”
I can guarantee you that if you enjoy eating all forms of fried chicken, you will love this restaurant. L.A. Chicken’s stunning atmosphere and decor makes it a very Instagrammable spot as well.
Most notably, they provide a weekday lunch special of buttermilk spaghetti for two for RM29.90. So, make sure to visit L.A. Chicken for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Address: 52G, Jalan SS 15/4B, SS 15, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Operating Hours: 12pm-10pm