Deep-fried whole chickens are the main draw at this Shanghai-based chain, customizable with your choice of flavorings and sauces. More than just crisp, the chicken here is downright crunchy, with a thick coating and succulent, juicy meat. Flavorings include mala (spicy numbing Szechuan peppercorns with chili), garlic, cumin, black pepper, sweet plum, and barbecue. You can choose one or two extra flavorings when you place your order along with optional sauces like sweet chili and honey mustard.
There's also a blackened version of the fried chicken that's colored with squid ink, in case you're throwing a themed party of some kind. If you don't want a whole bird, chicken is available by the half-bird, by the piece, or in the form of chicken burgers. Side dishes include "super cheese balls", which have a chewy mochi-like texture, and miniature spicy red sausages. Drinks include various flavors of tapioca milk tea and other soft drinks.
You can eat here or get your order to go, or use a third-party delivery service like Demae-can. The shop's self-service order station is (mostly) bilingual and easy to navigate. After you've ordered it will take around 15-20 minutes for your bird to be prepared, but you can stroll around Ueno while you're waiting. Each order comes with a few pairs of thin plastic gloves to use when you're eating.
Whole chickens are Y1,980 each if you order at the shop. J.Chicken also has branches in Koenji, Takadanobaba, Yokohama and Osaka.
by Robb Satterwhite