The return of Fried Chicken Friday at Foo Foo Tei

The best fried chicken is the one that no one knows exists. You find it like discovering Wong Kar-Wai for the first time, reaching for the Chungking Express video tape because you’re intrigued by pixie-haired Faye Wong staring out the window with the bowl of ramen in her hand. And you don’t want to tell anyone but it so damn good–both the chicken and the movie.

Foo Foo Tei is a small Japanese noodle shop that has expanded from a cozy neighborhood location in Hacienda Heights to adding a location next to a busy Alhambra movie theater.┬áThe menu is pretty expansive with over 30 types of noodle soups and just as many side dishes, or “tapas” if you want to be fancy.

I seem to always gravitate back to the tanmen with its light pork broth with “lots of vegetables.” I always wonder why vegetables are so expensive at restaurants when they’re so cheap at grocery stores. Well, the tanmen bowl of deliciousness is loaded with lettuce, bean sprouts, and mushrooms for a reasonable $9.30.

But my guilty pleasure is the fried chicken. It’s not the typical Japanese karage style where the tiny morsels are no more than a peck on the cheek. Their fried chicken is four big baby fists of lightly salted, battered, and crispy chicken legs that are moist but don’t squirt oil when you bite down and make a mess on the table. It might be the perfect fried chicken, and their secret technique seems to be applied to their gizzards, as well.

There are are always “best fried chicken” lists, and I’ve never seen Foo Foo Tei on one. I guess if I ever make a list, it would be right on top. But until than, the fried chicken will remain my secret like Faye Wong’s unrequited love for Tony Leung.

Foo Foo Tei
15018 Clark Ave
Hacienda Heights


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