DOMO ARIGATO, MR. ROBOTO. Chicken Chicken! I have a chicken!

Past the foodie thoroughfare of Taft, this old hidden gem-that has made patrons out of college students and employees alike-will surely make you sing (or maybe just me). Chicken Chicken is no longer a secret secret. Before numerous holes-in-the-wall and small eateries started creeping farther from the Archers’ turf, there existed this original outlier most known for, you guessed it, fried chicken.

Being first-timers, we almost lost hope hunting up the place. It would be easier to take a pedicab from Taft than trekking the length of Estrada St. since it’s familiar to most padyak drivers there anyway. The establishment blends too well among the suburbia. We spotted it hidden behind parked vehicles at the block after Bautista St. Outside no signage will greet you, only sunny yellow gates framing the picture of a small diner.

Walking in, a big tarp will confirm that you’ve arrived at the right place. Chicken Chicken is essentially a house garage turned eatery that can seat some 30 people. Behind the counter, I got a peek of their rustic kitchen and found two lolas working the old school woks. I found this terribly endearing and before I make a full-blown telenovela story of a family secret recipe in my head, I browsed their lone menu found at the counter.

The browsing took about three seconds. Other than the obvious selection of fried chicken, I was also hoping to try out their sisig. But it was out of stock then so we settled for the pork chop instead.

Most fried chicken joints usually offer up to two portions of meat in their meals. But I guess the repetitive name should be suggestive enough of the doubled ration you’ll get in Chicken Chicken. For below P200, we got four pieces of fried chicken and about three (cut up) pork chops- with rice. A single serving is hefty enough to be split for two. Just order extra rice and that would set you back to around P50.

Another pleasant surprise was the use of chicken breast instead of the usual red meat. I’m a loyal fan of the guilty juiciness of meat from the bone but this chicken’s tenderness won me over, adding to its merits is the skin’s crispiness and its nice hint of garlic.

The pork chops tasted pretty much the same since they use the same breading. Only it’s too salty because it has thinner meat to temper the seasoning. I remedied this by dousing the pork with their popular special sauce- a sweet sticky concoction spiced heavily with anise. The result of the garlic and anise combo is reminiscent of Chinese flavors to me.

Judging from their taped-over menu, Chicken Chicken is not saved from inflation, yet even with the price increase it definitely still gives much bang for your buck. Despite the saltiness, it’s still a cheaper and healthier alternative to most fast food chicken. I’d say better than Mcdonald’s but maybe not Jollibee’s Chickenjoy, it still lacks depth to contend with that favorite.

Hopefully when they do add more branches, as advertised on their sign, they retain the same taste and cheap prices. But for now, Chicken Chicken is worth getting lost for especially on an empty stomach.

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