Pack Super Market: Crispy, Crunchy Fried Chicken in Little Haiti
The fried chicken at Pack Super Market in Little Haiti isn't something you'd find easily on the island.
Photos by Zachary Fagenson Fried chicken, rice and peas, and fried plantains at Pack.
Kernizan Philias, who with his family opened the bare-bones market and counter-only eatery on NW 2nd Avenue 16 years ago, said the recipe is based on griot -- fried chunks of pork shoulder.
"It was a family recipe, and we just tried it out before we put it in the market when we opened," says Philias, who goes by the nickname "Kiki."
At Pack, a paltry $7 gets you a heaping container of peas and rice, fried plantains, and three (or maybe four if you ask in French or Kreyol) crisp, juicy fried drumsticks.
If you're the person who shies away from drumsticks at a sports bar, this isn't the place for you. But if you find yourself on the business end of pissed-off glares after picking all of them out of the basket, you're in the right place. The same for whoever rips the drumsticks off the holiday turkey and then cackles and scampers away with your booty.
The snapping and cracking that comes with the first bite into each leg sets off a cascade of fear. Did I just break a tooth? you wonder. No, my friend, you did not.
The "market" portion of Pack. Don't be dismayed by the rotting drop ceiling.
That's just what happens when you bite into properly-breaded and fried chicken skin. You've been eating tenders, which are only a small step above a McNugget, for far too long.
The crunch is followed by the searing pain of hot oil and chicken fat oozing from the meat and onto your tender lips. It's OK. You can do it.
You could even skip the sides at Pack and just order a second helping of drumsticks. Don't feel bad. It's all they serve, and they do it to keep it cheap.
This is what you're looking for.
"We don't even use wings," Kiki says. "It's too expensive, and we're frying for the people."
However, trying to draw out the source of the chicken and the name of the company that sells only drumsticks proved precarious.
"There's only one company we can get that chicken from, and they're located in Opa-locka," he says.
Kiki is dodgy when it comes to more detail, which makes you wonder about what exactly you're eating from this Opa-locka company that sells only chicken legs. What do they do with the rest of the bird?
These are all good questions to ponder as you loudly bite into another crunchy drumstick.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.