If you take the 405 bus about three stops away, you will reach a little fried chicken shop. It is an unassuming narrow shop lot, with flickering neon lights, a few tables and chairs, walls bare save for some Quran verses.
But within, you’ll find an owner so passionate about his craft, so dedicated to perfecting the art of getting the crispiest chicken skin while keeping the meat flavorful and moist, one who takes pride in the fact that his chickens are halal; that though he is far away from his home country in Pakistan, he is happy to be able to freely practice his religious beliefs.
Every piece is fried to order. The concept of “fast food” is as foreign as I am here. This place demands that you sit and wait a good 45 minutes, be tortured by the smell of spices and the sight of someone else’s order.
The chicken is put into a Styrofoam box, a few holes to prevent condensation (fried food’s arch-enemy) with no sauce and no cutlery.
“Eat this while it’s hot. With your hands,” the owner implored.
My hotel is three stops away and takes about ten minutes on the 405.
I couldn’t wait that long. I took the cab.