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Tropic Now's ultimate guide to the best fried chicken in Cairns

No-one – and we seriously mean no-one – loves fried chicken more than the Tropic Now crew.

We've tried all the varieties in all the places: fast food, Korean, Japanese, buttermilk, Nashville-style ... and we're not gonna lie – we pretty much adored them all. 

So, we feel particularly qualified to bring you this ultimate guide to the best fried chicken in Cairns.

We've listed the best of the best, in no particular order, but if we've missed your fave and you think it should be included, let us know by clicking here.

Grab plenty of napkins, bring a big appetite and enjoy! 


Underneath the word "Chicken" on the menu at Tasty Road reads a line: "Korean Crispy Battered Chicken. Popular. Never Go Wrong."

And with that, we agree. Because you can't go wrong at Tasty Road, where the decor is unassuming and the wings, regardless of menu choice, and are packed with crunch, flavour and that highly crave-able stickiness.

Also, the side dishes are awesome and there are a couple of great Korean beers to wash it all down with.

GO THERE: Shop 2/80 Sheridan St, Cairns City


If your tastebuds are craving Nashville but your wallet is craving ... enough cash to pay next week's rent, don't worry.

You won't need to hop on a plane to get a little taste of the American south.

Howlin' Jays has been serving up crispy, juicy, perfectly spiced fried chicken to the Cairns masses since 2017 and shows no sign of slowing down.

We're particularly fond of the fried chicken and waffle offerings during weekends, and the overall good times vibes. 

GO THERE: 1 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City


Would you like your karaage with hot chips or white rice?

That's just about the only thing you need to consider when ordering a serve of classic Japanese-style fried chicken from this iconic yellow food truck.

So Hangry is a regular at Tropic's foodie festival Meet Eat Repeat, and can be found at local markets, sporting events and other spots around town.

Ask for a little (actually a lot) of that Kewpie mayo drizzled over the top and you're sorted, full stop.

GO THERE: Check their Facebook page here for their weekly schedule.


Fried chicken isn't only a lunch and dinner food, apparently.

At the Chicken Shed (with locations at Rusty's and Grafton Street), diners can satiate their cravings as early as 6:30am.

The said chicken can be ordered in a variety of ways, but we're fans of the anytime crispy sandwich, which simple comes with kimchi mayo, tomato and cheese.

Also check out the chicken rice bowl, which is piled high with sticky rice, glass noodles kimchi and a delicious sauce. 

GO THERE: 43 Grafton Street, Cairns City


There's a lot more on the menu at this Korean-style eatery than just fried chicken, but it's hard to pass up a plate or three of the stuff when there's beer and soju in the mix.

Relatively traditional flavours vary from sweet chilli to cheese seasoning, but the creamy onion takes top prize for being the most unique and decadent of the bunch.

It's a bit of a hidden gem on Spence St – but probably not for long!

GO THERE: 1/59-61 Spence St, Cairns City


Yes the skin is super crispy (the secret is to double-fry), the spices are fragrant and the meat is juicy as can be, but what we love most about this funky addition to the Earlville dining scene is the variety.

Located inside Stockland Earlville Shopping Centre, diners can easily grab a basket of wings, and this Korean eatery also has a surprisingly stocked salad bar and lots of nibbles on offer.

Did we mention there's beer on tap? 'Chi mac' roughly translates as 'chicken and beer', and it's an understatement to say we're very happy about that combination.

Plus, it's open for dinner, including until 8.30pm on Thursdays.

GO THERE: Stocklands Shopping Centre, Earlville


Yes, we all know the BBQ and burgers at Yankee D's are next level, but have you tried the Top Secret Classi-fried Chicken?

If not, do yourself a favour and get yourself to this Mulgrave Rd joint to order any sized fried bird with fries and Alabama white sauce.

The chicken is perfectly juicy thanks to a 12-hour brine, and the Alabama white sauce adds the perfect amount of kick. Yum.

GO THERE: 314 Mulgrave Rd, Westcourt QLD


As you can tell from this list, Cairns obviously loves Korean fried chicken, and Bon Chicken & Beer doesn't stray far from the favourites.

We like that you can mix and match sauces like sweet chilli, soy garlic, or just plain "spicy".

The setting in this Shields St spot is great (we dig the booth seating), and the service is awesomely friendly.

If you still have room after your wings and beer, the kimchi nachos are a surprising delight.

GO THERE: Shop 2/64 Shields St, Cairns City