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August 24th, 2013August 15th, 2014

William Sitwell, author of A History of Food in 100 Recipes, joins us, we look at the Indian tradition of chutneys with chef Vikas Khanna and check in with film director Wayne Wang about his latest project, a documentary on the life of legendary Chinese restaurateur Cecilia Chiang.

Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood

At Keaton's Barbecue, an informal chicken shack that's one of Jane's top five road food favorites, the outrageous fried chicken defies science. After deep frying, the chicken is dipped in a vat of boiling barbecue sauce and served under a blanket of waxed paper. Lift off the paper and the aroma could be intoxicating. Don't pass up the Southern-style sides like baked beans, mac 'n cheese, slaw, and red velvet cake.

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As the name says, Prince's is all about fried chicken. But not fried chicken as usual. Here it's all about heat and lots of it. You might want to start with the mild (it still packs a punch) and work your way up to extra-hot if you dare. The chicken is marinated before it's fried so the flavor goes all the way through the meat. Jane says there should be a 12-step program for this chicken; it's that addictive. Prince's is a very casual place. Everything is cooked to order and comes out in a brown paper bag.

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Stroud's chicken is fried in a heavy iron skillet and arrives at the table a shade of gold that is breathtakingly beautiful. Each piece is audibly crusty, but not the least bit bready; there is just enough of an envelope of crust to shore in all the chicken juices. The crust itself is thin, brittle, and as flavor-packed as bacon, but in this case, with essence of chicken and spice. Once you crunch through it, juices flow down your chin and fingers and forearm: you are an unsightly mess, but you don't care because the juices are ambrosia.

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Rip's is the #1 fried-chicken destination in the Illinois River Valley, where fried chicken is a passion. It is enrobed in a crust that is just-right salty, and even white-meat breasts are insanely moist and full-flavored. Pieces where the batter has clumped, absorbing chicken fat flavor as well as frying fat, are some of the most sumptuous bites imaginable.

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Pepperfire is a relative newcomer to the Nashville hot chicken scene, but it is among the very best places to taste a glorious and unique regional specialty. Dining is al fresco at picnic tables.

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400 Degrees offers a unique take on Nashville hot chicken, each piece thickly painted with hot sauce that forms a tremendously savory crust.