Andrew Zimmern Says These Cities Have The Best Chicken In The World

Andrew Zimmern is known for eating a lot of unusual, strange things — and enjoying them. He often takes to his blog, Andrew Zimmern's Spilled Milk, to talk about the different foods he's eaten and wants to try, and the joys of eating and traveling. Given his food knowledge and experience, it might be surprising to learn that he recently waxed poetic about one of the most common foods around: roasted chicken (per his blog).

He notes that he was inspired to write about it after Lowell George's song "Dixie Chicken" came on the radio, and he was transported back to all the times he's had amazing chicken over the years. One of the most inspiring, he writes, was in Medellin, Colombia in a little dive called Pollos Mario la América, where they serve one item: pollo a la brasa. The dish is generally cooked low and slow on a rotisserie over coals until the skin is super crispy and almost charred, which helps the chicken retain its juices and stay moist (via The Washington Post). Seasoned with lemon and salt, the charred coal flavor is the real standout, and is, in his words, "pure essence of poultry perfection."

Zimmern, unsurprisingly, likes a wide variety of chicken

It's not just one sleepy little Colombian chicken joint that gets a shout out from Chef Andrew Zimmern. Two other restaurants make his top list of places for a taste of the bird: Cuban restaurant El Aljibe in Havana and L'Ami Louis in Paris, France.

According to Fodors, El Aljibe is a lovely, surprisingly tasty restaurant in Cuba's capital. On a different post, Zimmern noted that it was a server at La Guardia airport that tipped him off to El Aljibe. First opened more than 90 years ago, Zimmern says what makes their chicken special is a "lemony-flavored pan sauce" that the chefs drizzle over the roasted chicken, which is traditionally served with rice and beans. As one commenter on Restaurant Guru noted, "If you haven't eat chicken before at El Aljibe [that means] you never eat a chicken in your life before."

Zimmern isn't the only one who loves chicken in Paris

Zimmern's other recommendation, Chez L'Ami Louis, is in the heart of Paris, just on the north end of the Marais district. It's known particularly for its roast chicken, which, according to one poster on Paris By Mouth, costs over $100, but is "worth every goose oil laced bite." A tiny bistro with only 12 seats, The World's 50 Best reports that it's hard to get a table, but if you do, you'll be treated to amazing chicken with an ambiance that can't be beat.

Phil Rosenthal of PBS' I'll Have What Phil's Having visited the restaurant to try their Poulet Roti on his search for the best chicken in the world. While there, Rosenthal learned some of the chef's secrets for how they make their spectacular chicken. As he learns, the trick to its incredible taste was that it gets basted in a mix of goose and duck fat — with no butter — and a sprinkling of salt. In addition, all the gizzards and other bits are stuffed back into the chicken before it's roasted to enhance its flavor. It's cooked breast side-down for 40 minutes in a wood-fired oven, a rarity in modern Parisian kitchens. After that, we have full confidence in Chef Zimmern's chicken picks.