MAIN CHICK HOT CHICKEN

LOCATION: 626 Night Market (285 Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007)

WEBSITE: https://www.eatmainchick.com/

The second stop of the night turned out to be a vendor that is new to the 626 Night Market scene this year. Main Chick Hot Chicken already had a pretty impressive line stacked up by the time we got there. As the name suggests, they were in the business of serving up chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, and fries. Not much diversity on the menu, but if you can make a small set of food items very well, that’s all that matters in the end.

Three spice levels for the chicken were available to choose from: mild, medium, and spicy. I know better than to underestimate spiciness when it comes to hot chicken. My friend Kevin and I can handle spicy food relatively well, but I told him we should probably stick with the medium spice level just in case. The rookie mistake that I did make, however, was that I didn’t pick up a bottle of water before we started to dig into the hot chicken.

Even though there was a bit of a wait to get our order, it seemed like the staff was cranking things out at a pretty good pace. People in the back were dropping in baskets of the fried chicken into a heavy-duty looking fryer, and once they were done, they got sent out to the front where they were finished off to the appropriate spice levels. After that, the chicken was either constructed into a sandwich or left as tenders, placed onto a long basket with fries.

You can opt for doing tenders only, sandwiches only, or a mix of both. Kevin and I decided to get a sandwich / tender combo to split. With the chicken tenders, you’re taking the spice level head-on, where the sandwich looked like it had a pickle, shredded lettuce, and chipotle mayo to help diffuse the heat just a bit. Even though we only got the medium heat level, it still packed a good amount of burn.

The heat wasn’t something that immediately punched you in the face when you first took a bite. It was more of a slow burn, where the more that you ate, the more intense it got. But the flavor was still really spot-on, that nice blend of savory, spicy, and a hint of sweetness. The cut of chicken was a pretty decent thickness, and it remained relatively juicy the entire way through. This is the spiciness that I can appreciate: enough to make you sweat, but still tastes good that you want to keep going back for more.

Even if this was their first summer appearance at the 626 Night Market, I was pretty impressed with Main Chick and the quality of their food. Spicy food is something where you walk a delicate balance between flavor and heat, and they were able to find that sweet spot. If I get the opportunity to attend the festival again next year, I know another vendor I’ll be making a repeat visit to.

Let’s now take a look at the Main Chick Hot Chicken Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** Chicken Tender / Chicken Sandwich Combo **
Chicken sandwich topped with shredded lettuce, pickle slice, and chipotle mayo, paired with a hot chicken tender and fries.

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And finally, here are my rankings for Main Chick Hot Chicken:

Food: 4.5 / 5

I’m impressed by the balance between flavor and heat of the hot chicken, as it was definitely good enough that I kept going back for more bites. Even though I just tried the tenders, the sandwich looked just as good, paired with the lettuce, pickle, and chipotle mayo on top.

Atmosphere: N/A

The 626 Night Market definitely has a very different vibe than any other markets I’ve been to before. There’s food absolutely everywhere, with smells making you hungry as you wait on your food and people milling about, having a good time. The nighttime aspect also helps to make it more enjoyable, because the Sun isn’t beating down on you as you’re waiting in line.

Service: 4.25 / 5

The two women who helped to take our orders were nice to talk with, and helped answer some questions we had about the combos. Despite a slight backup of orders after we placed ours, we ended up waiting only about five minutes before we got our food.

Price: 4.75 / 5

$12 for a chicken sandwich, chicken tender, and small portion of fries is pretty good value, even at a normal sit-down. Not to mention there didn’t seem to be a “special event up-charge” that I was observing at some other vendors. The pricing across their other combo portions were very reasonable as well.

Overall:
13.5 / 15
(90%)

Categories: California, Restaurants

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