Why Vegans Shouldn't Hesitate To Use Chicken Salt

What is chicken salt, you might ask? Is it, like one Twitter user asked, "chicken juice infused into salt or no??" Nope. Is it like that other Australian staple, Vegemite? Not at all. And, weirdly enough, this Australian seasoned salt is usually fine for vegans, because it doesn't contain chicken — it's for chicken (via Thrillist). And, as it turns out, much, much more.

Maybe it's living on an isolated continent, or maybe it's the kangaroos and platypuses around every corner (kidding), but it turns out Australian food habits are just as quirky as some of ours. Chicken salt is shaken on everything from fries (or "chips," to Brits and Aussies), to fried fish, grilled meat, and popcorn (via Mitani). According to the Australian News.com site, there's even a chicken-salt flavored mayonnaise line, bewilderingly.

Chicken salt goes well with almost anything, as Australian twitter will tell you, adding that American stores are crazy for not carrying it. "just found out chicken salt isn't a thing outside of australia" Tweeted one shocked user, @AkulaSam83. Another, @van_egmonds, tweeted, "every day that country sounds more and more backwards and awful....... no chicken salt......... how are any of u alive......."

What is chicken salt and why does it exist?

Chicken salt is kind of like an Aussie version of adobo, or creole seasoning. Kinda-sorta. Their classic brand, Mitani, contains only sea salt, rice flour, spices (like paprika), onion and garlic powders, "natural flavor," yeast extract, and anticaking agent. No poultry to be seen. Other versions, like Edlyn's, contain soy, sugar, or other flavor enhancers. But the most popular brands are vegan, gluten free, and halal. Sadly for everyone in America, it's pretty much only available to order online (for instance, at Jada Spices) and at the Gelson's supermarket chain in Southern California. (Figures.)

Though more than one chicken salt brand claims to be the "original," in 2018 an article in The Guardian blew the lid off the chicken salt origin story, introducing the world to Peter Brinkworth, a former poultry farmer who said he invented the original mix. At a chicken shop attached to a wholesale food warehouse, Brinkworth sold roasted chicken with fries sprinkled with his special blend, but he later sold it to Mitani — and the rest is, well, chicken salt-y history.