Restaurant: Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
Location: 374A Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1S6
Price Range: $
I have came to a conclusion that any Asian stores or restaurants that open in Toronto will result into long lineups, just like the Uncle Tetsu phenomenon that took place earlier this year… Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (what a long and odd name for a chain) has arrived in Toronto and in less than a few weeks, a long line up have already formed outside and inside the shop.
There was already a long lineup around 1PM on the weekends when C and I arrived, but it didn’t get unreasonably busy. As you can see in the above picture, there are actually two lines, one for ordering and one for pickup. Thus the lineup time to order was likely under 15 minutes, however the wait was mostly for food preparation as everything is made fresh to order. Also, when I went they had a one per customer policy to speed up the line up as well, I’m not sure if they are still enforcing such policy.
We were quite disappointed to see that some of the items on the menu weren’t available at all, such as mushroom or popcorn chicken. I thought the $10 price for a fried chicken was on the pricier side and your meal can easily go up to $15 if you order a drink as well.
By the time you get to the counter for ordering, you will have to choose your choice of spicy level and seasoning options (seaweed, salt & pepper) but only the latter was available on that day. Since only the large fried chicken was available, both of us ordered the same thing with different spice level. Note that there are around 16 stools in the shop to dine-in, but most were pretty much occupied and since the shop is tiny, it can get a bit uncomfortable when there is a huge crowd.
I forgot to make a size comparison of the large fried chicken because it was humongous!! It was as big as my face (where did they find such a big chicken..breast LOL) and you could share it with a friend or save it for another meal. One can mistake this for a Schnitzel but this one has bones on the tail end of the chicken so be careful while eating. Though I ordered the medium spicy, both of us agreed that it wasn’t too spicy at all and I would ask for the extra spicy next time.
The batter wasn’t too thick and the chicken was tender and cooked perfectly! I liked how there wasn’t too much fat compared to meat and it wasn’t as oily as Popeye’s chicken. However at some point I noticed that the crispy skin was separated from the meat, so it felt like you were eating the meat and the skin separately. The chicken also got a little bit too salty toward the end and there was definitely MSG in the spice mix as my throat was craving for water.
Overall I thought the fried chicken at Hot Star Large Fried chicken was pretty darn good and worth a try! The staff was just ah okay but you can see their kitchen which was clean and all the staff wore surgical masks! Since it is a bit pricey, I don’t think I would come back anytime soon because well, it is still deep fried and it’s not good for my arteries lol. I would pay another visit to try other items in the menu after they settled for a couple of months.