Hot Chook: Fast Food with Soul

Mar 15 2023.

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Food Studio at Colombo City Centre has firmly cemented itself as a food court to be reckoned with - from constantly aiming to maintain high standards to evaluating the outlets under its belt, ensuring that diners enjoy good food when they dine there. Hot Chook is by no means a new addition to the Food Studio’s lineup, and they’ve made quite a name for themselves over the past 2 years among foodies for their yummy food and their fun challenges - the Monster Burger Challenge and Hot Sauce Challenge. One of FS’s more popular outlets - after all, Sri Lankans’ love for fried food trumps all - Hot Chook continues to be loved. I recently checked them out to learn if they lived up to the hype. Here’s what I thought. 

Hot Chook (Chook is a word that originated as an Australian slang term for chicken, in case you’re wondering) - is located right at the entrance of Food Studio and has a good lineup of perennial fast food favourites - burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and fries. They also had a variety of pasta on offer, which was a tad confusing since it deviated from the typical fast food menu, as well as Nai Miris Rice. But that’s something I’ve found to be very common among restaurants in Sri Lanka. They claim to serve a specific cuisine, but they will ALWAYS find a way to include other items on their menu. Some might like this, but considering Hot Chook is located at a food court, I didn’t see the need for them to deviate from their offerings. But on to the actual food…

I had a chat with the Co-Owner of Hot Chook, Umal Perera, who shared that they only use fresh ingredients, and all their sauces are made from scratch. This is always a good sign because fresh ingredients make a world of difference in how food tastes. I got a sneak peek of 2 items Hot Chook was planning on adding to their menu soon - Hail Caesar and Dynamite Seafood Popcorn.

The Dynamite Seafood Popcorn coated in a dynamite sauce comprising a combination of Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Soy sauce and chillies was a great start to the proceedings. The calamari and prawns were perfectly fried in a batter and the dynamite sauce was delicious! Considering that it was a “dynamite sauce”, I thought it could have been spicier.  Hot Chook’s take on Ceasar Salad - Hail Caesar -  didn’t fall short in terms of taste. 

The sauce was perfectly complementary, and the chillies added a bit of heat, which I loved. You have chicken and prawn options to pick from. The prawns in the salad I tasted were perfectly cooked and tasted fresh. While it isn’t your classic Caesar Salad, don’t write it off entirely. It was surprisingly good! The  Loaded Hotties - Loaded Sweet Potatoes - topped with homemade Sriracha were the bomb! The sriracha was spicy with a tangy, sweet flavour profile and so I thought it paired perfectly with the sweet potatoes. 

Their OG Chook Burger, I was told, is one of their Signature burgers and also a bestseller. It featured batter fried chicken dipped in Nashville hot oil, slaw salad and pickle with New Orleans remoulade. The spicy and well-fried chicken was without a doubt the star of the show. The slaw complemented the spicy chicken perfectly, while also adding textural variation. I also tried the Prawn-O Burger which is a relatively new entrant to their menu, introduced only in December last year. Prepare to get your hands dirty with this burger; the crispy prawn patty is slathered with a delicious tartar sauce, so it makes for messy eating. Is it worth the mess? Certainly.

Since chicken is the star at Hot Chook - or so I assumed since the name itself implies as much - I expected that the Chook served with peppercorn dipping sauce would be the pièce de résistance. However, the crispy exterior and not-so-succulent interior that comprised each piece of fried chicken was certainly no match made in culinary heaven. You can’t derive a holistic soul food experience with fried chicken if it’s ultimately not juicy or succulent. Good flavour can only take it so far.

So all in all, I definitely see why Hot Chook is popular. Their food is good, the fresh ingredients definitely make a difference and their homemade sauces are actually quite good! While the fried chicken didn’t get any brownie points from me, I did love their starters and their burgers and I’m looking forward to exploring more of their menu. Hail Caesar and Dynamite Seafood Popcorn will be available to the general public soon. Follow their social media pages to see when you can try them out! So if you’re a fan of fast food with soul, then definitely give Hot Chook a try.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rihaab Mowlana

Rihaab Mowlana is the Deputy Features Editor of Life Plus and a journalist with a passion for crafting captivating narratives. Her expertise lies in feature writing, where she brings a commitment to authenticity and a keen eye for unique perspectives. Follow Rihaab on Twitter & Instagram: @rihaabmowlana


1 Comments

  1. Shiran says:

    Nice to see journalists who give honest feedback without praising places ad nauseam. Gives more credibility to your publication. Well done Rihaab. Please continue your honest style of restaurant reviews. Will be keeping an eye on your reviews going forward!

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