Lawson throws its hat into the ring with a new fried chicken, but how does it fare against the offerings from Family Mart and 7-Eleven?

On 26 October, Japanese convenience store Lawson began selling a new hot snack called Parichiki, with “pari” meaning “crunchy” and “chiki” meaning chicken.

This was pretty big news for our fried-chicken-loving reporter Mr Sato, who’s already a big fan of the Famichiki fried chicken from Family Mart, and the Seven Chicken from rival chain 7-Eleven. 

So he headed out to give the new convenience store fried chicken a try, and while he was at it, he decided to pick up a Famichiki and Seven Chicken so he could compare all three in a head-to-head showdown.

▼ Lawson’s new Pari Chiki is priced at 180 yen (US$1.59) each.

After stopping by Lawson, Mr Sato headed out to Family Mart, where he picked up a Famichiki, and then he made his way to 7-Eleven, where he encountered a bit of a problem. You see, no matter how many branches of 7-Eleven he visited, he couldn’t find their Seven Chicken in stock anywhere.

▼ Despite visiting all six of these branches in Shinjuku, there was no fried chicken to be found.

Being the roving reporter he is, Mr Sato decided to phone the head office to find out what the heck was going on with their fried chicken. When he got through to their PR department, this is what they had to say:

“Our production of fried chicken is currently delayed due to the coronavirus. There is currently no way to resume sales.”

Mr Sato had heard that poultry supply chains around the world were under strain due to the pandemic, but he had no idea that the problem was affecting his local 7-Eleven. Still, Mr Sato is never one to be defeated, so after hearing the sad news he decided to do the next best thing and purchase a 7-Eleven karaage stick for 128 yen.

▼ The three contenders in today’s fried chicken showdown.

Mr Sato decided to start with the Famichiki from Family Mart, which has been the poster child for great convenience store chicken in Japan for a number of years now. Famichiki is often considered to be the bar by which all convenience store fried chicken should be measured, and it’s the one that Mr Sato always eats most of out of all three.

Mmmmmm. Famichiki is a downright delicious and satisfying piece of fried chicken, with a slight crunch on the outside and a juicy, soft centre.

▼ A mixture of herbs and spices in the batter make it taste somewhat similar to KFC fried chicken.

The one drawback to the Famichiki is that if you leave it for a while, the crispy texture becomes a little soggy. However, that crunch can be retrieved with a little heating in a microwave or an oven toaster at home.

▼ Next up to the tasting plate is Lawson’s new Pari Chiki. Will the Pari Chiki beat the Famichiki?

Having made his convenience store fried chicken purchases at around the same time, to reheat at home later on during the taste test, Mr Sato was able to assess not just their flavour but their ability to withstand a little time outside of the heated display case.

Surprisingly, Lawson’s Pari Chiki won out over the Famichiki in terms of retaining its crisp exterior, as it still had a nice crunch to it before being reheated.

▼ No wonder they call this the Pari Chiki.

Still, despite the crunch, Mr Sato says he prefers the Famichiki for its great flavour. You just can’t beat the seasoned skin and juicy chicken of the Famichiki, but if you could combine the two to ensure the exterior stayed crispy for longer, you’d have the perfect piece of fried chicken.

▼ Next up for a tasting was the fried chicken from 7-Eleven.

Sure, it wasn’t ideal that the Seven Chicken was unavailable, but Mr Sato has tried it before and he can safely say it does have a similar flavour and texture to the karaage fried chicken balls he purchased as the next best thing.

In terms of crunch, this was the best of the bunch, as the crispy exterior was still present even after being cooled to room temperature during the journey home. In fact, this fried chicken seemed to be even crispier when cold than it usually is while hot.

Using his memory to recall the enjoyment level of eating a Seven Chicken, Mr Sato can confidently say it ranks in at number three in terms of flavour and texture. The Famichiki is still at the top of the ranking for Mr Sato, but he’s now a little concerned that the new Pari Chiki from Lawson might give it a run for its money.

▼ According to Lawson, over a million Pari Chiki were sold in its first two days of being on sale.

The Pari Chiki was juicy and tasty, and retained its great crunch for longer than the Famichiki during the journey home. And for Lawson to be able to release a new fried chicken while 7-Eleven isn’t even able to sell theirs speaks volumes for the company.

The Pari Chiki has only been on the market for a few days, though, so it’ll be interesting to see if demand for the new fried chicken remains strong. If it becomes anywhere near as popular as Lawson’s Karaage-kun chicken nuggets, which are loved by international celebrities like Katy Perry, then the competition will really start to heat up between Japan’s top three convenience store chains!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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