Even if you're addicted to American-style fried chicken, Taiwanese fried chicken bites — AKA "popcorn chicken," "salted crispy chicken," or "salt and pepper chicken" — will fill a craving you didn't know you had. This iconic street snack comes with its own signature blend of herbs and spices, so it's no surprise that its origins involve good old Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Taiwanese fried chicken was created in 1979, when the matriarch of the Yeh family opened a KFC-style chicken stand in Tainan. Yeh enjoyed the taste of KFC's chicken, but found the portion sizes too large, so she cut her chicken up into bite-sized chunks and marinated them before deep-frying them; now, fried chicken skewers are a tasty and convenient Taiwanese icon.
KFC's 11 herbs and spices may be a trade secret, but the same can't be said for Taiwanese fried chicken; most recipes involve a marinade of soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, five-spice powder, and white pepper, and the chicken is often deep-fried with basil leaves. A gluten-free version, in which the chicken is coated in tapioca flour, is also popular.