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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

I love chicken sandwiches. As someone who doesn’t eat beef or pork, chicken sandwiches have been my go-to meal for nearly my entire life. I’ve lived on Carl Jr’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, McDonald’s McChicken, and my personal favorite, Chick-Fil-A’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich (idk what to tell you to excuse this behavior except this is my opinion!!! *cue GIF from Real Housewives*). 

A few years ago, I discovered the magic of Nashville Hot Chicken. This chicken is quite unlike any other chicken I’ve had before. It is brined for over 24 hours, dredged in a flavorful seasoning, and then fried to perfection. The ‘hot’ in the chicken comes from a hot oil concoction that is made from the frying oil and a blend of spices including cayenne pepper, paprika, brown sugar, and black pepper. Each piece of chicken is hand-dipped in this hot oil and then sprinkled with even more of the spice blend.

As a result, the chicken is juicy and wonderfully seasoned. If you’re not well acquainted with spice, don’t worry, as most places offer a “country” style that doesn’t use the spicy spice mix. I implore you all to try hot chicken whether or not you enjoy spicy foods, and luckily for you, I have the best hot chicken places in LA for all of you to try.

  1. Clyde’s Hot Chicken

I must admit, Clyde’s is a hit or miss. If you get it and it’s good, WONDERFUL, but know it’s never going to be that great again. Clyde’s has many locations, so you’re always sure to find hot chicken, but if there’s another spot available, I beg you to go there instead.

  1. Crimson Coward

Yum. Crimson Coward serves some of the best hot chicken I’ve had. They make everything fresh and in-house, so you’re guaranteed to have delicious chicken at all times. Further, Crimson Coward offers a variety of sides that most hot chicken places don’t offer, such as mac-n-cheese and collard greens. Even if you’re not that much of a chicken person, you’re bound to find something else to enjoy here.

  1. Dave’s Hot Chicken

Phew! This is a cult-classic hot chicken spot. Located in several spots in LA county, Dave’s Hot Chicken is easily accessible to nearly everyone! Unlike the other hot chicken places I’ve mentioned in this list, I would argue that Dave’s Hot Chicken is most unlike traditional Nashville Hot Chicken. The flavors are a bit more bold, while their slaw incorporates kale instead of standard cabbage, and their sauce has a sweeter taste than most spots.

By all means, this chicken is good, but if you head to Dave’s, be aware that it’s not the most authentic chicken.

  1. Howlin’ Rays

This was my first hot chicken spot so I might be a little biased, but this is my favorite place to get hot chicken. The chicken is always piping hot and flavorful, accentuated with the best coleslaw and pickles you might ever taste. Granted, there’s always a long line outside Howlin’ Rays, so if you’re in a rush, this might not be the best place to go, but if you have the time…Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

My name is Ashti (she/her), I am currently an undergraduate History of Asia and the Pacific major with an Education minor at UCSC.