clock menu more-arrow no yes

Is Chang Imitating Meyer? Fuku Thrashes Shake Shack With New Chicken Sandwich

Eater's senior critic samples the new creation from Momofuku's fried chicken sandwich restaurant

Weighing in at 7.9 oz — vs 5.8 oz for its Danny Meyer rival — David Chang’s new Sweet and Spicy Fuku Sandwich is far more substantial than Shake Shack’s Salt and Pepper Honey Chick’n. Hold it in your hand and it feels brick-like, with a couple of pickles peeping out and a timid ooze of mayo and vinegary hot sauce. But at $9, the Fuku production is also $2.69 more expensive. Is it worth it? I peddled up to the East Village Fuku recently to find out. I’d eaten Shake Shack’s new sandwich when it first appeared earlier in October, and found it superior to its precursor, now known as the Chick’n Shack.


The Fuku introduction occurred about two weeks after the honey-smeared sandwich arrived at three Brooklyn Shake Shacks. Coincidence? Probably not, since the Chang sandwich seems to consciously address several criticisms of the new Shake Shack sandwich; specifically, that the Salt and Pepper Honey Chick’n was too cloyingly sweet and needed some sort of vegetable product added to the sandwich, which, apart from the spongy bun and honey sauce, is entirely without toppings. (The original Shake Shack chicken sandwich, still available, sports shredded iceberg and pickle chips.)

Well, as if in response, the Sweet and Spicy Fuku also has pickle chips. These serve to cut the sweetness of the poultry glaze. While the honey glaze on the Shake Shack sandwich is simple (in a good way), the flavor of the Fuku glaze is more complicated and the glaze itself thicker. According to a recent piece in First We Feast, the Changian glaze contains soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, mirin, and Korean chile sauce. It doesn’t really taste that complicated, though the sauce is thick like raw sorghum. You could pour it on pancakes.

Well, the Fuku sandwich is better than Shake Shack’s, but mainly because of the composition of the chicken patty and its size. The Shake Shack patty is boring white meat, which the public seems to prefer if McDonald’s ads are to be believed. What is this American mania for skinless white chicken breast with the consistency of marshmallows? The patty at Fuku, by contrast, is supremely flavorful dark thigh meat, preferable to breast in every possible way, including a slightly gnarly composition that leaves Chang’s patty sinewy and almost rubbery — in a good way. Alas, neither the Fuku nor the Shake Shack sandwich is big enough to constitute an entire meal. Please make them a little bigger, guys, and keep the price at the same level!


Does In-n-Out or Shake Shack Make a Better Burger?

Fuku

110 Wall Street, Manhattan, NY 10005 (646) 790-8720 Visit Website
NYC Restaurant Openings

A New Thai-Leaning Spot Aims to Give Penn Station’s Sad Restaurant Options a Boost

NYC Restaurant Openings

A Standout Burmese Pop-Up at the Queens Night Market Finds a Permanent Home — and More Openings

A.M. Intel

The Oldest Gay Bar in Queens Secures Its Future in Jackson Heights

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world