Probably every Londoner knows the appeal of the cheap takeaway for a weekend snack. Kebabs, fried chicken and fish and chips are staples in the diet of students and lazy office workers, and connoisseurs of delicious yet disgustingly unhealthy food quickly learn which venues offer the highest ratio of battered treats to cost. A classic example of this kind of takeaway done well is Chicken Planet, located on Canterbury Road in West Croydon.
Located in the centre of the avenue, Chicken Planet has an unprepossessing appearance, as all such places do. Yet concealed within its plastic interior are all manner of unhealthy treats not commonly found in the high class restaurants of London, such as microwaved lamb spare ribs in barbeque sauce, deep fried potato wedges and huge bags of chicken and chips for £2.50.
The best, which is to say the biggest, bargains are probably the double burgers and double chips for £2.00 and the two ribs, two spicy wings, one piece of chicken and chips for £2.50, which is my meal du jour when I've had a tough week. I don't care if it will kill me one day, I'm sure I'll die happy.
This evening, I choose that classic meal, which I also washed down with a can of real, full-sugar Coke. Looking at my bag of chicken and ribs, I realised that there wasn't a single thing which Jamie Oliver would approve of in the whole feast, which was clearly created by someone who couldn't even spell "vitamins", "nutrition" or "balanced diet." Lovely.
Nowadays, KFC have spoiled things a bit by putting up nutrition information about all their food so that you can see that two pieces of chicken and chips are 1,000 calories per meal (I'm not joking; that's literally how much it is). In a small chain like this though- blissful ignorance. As a rule of thumb, it's best to spend at least half an hour jogging for every meal you eat from one of these places. It won't help much, but it takes some of the guilt away and might bounce some of the fat around so it doesn't touch the bottom of your stomach and get absorbed so fast.
Picking up a rib, I was struck once again by how much the sticky barbeque sauce makes up for. Without it, no-one would even consider eating a lamb spare rib- too tough and stringy. With it, it's practically a sweet-tasting slice of heaven. It's also halal as well, so helpful for your Muslim friends.
In about 5 minutes, I finished most of the ribs, the wings and half of the chips (some of which were deviously stolen from me). My favourite thing about this order is that just when you would have finished normally, you still have practically a whole other meal to go. Everything was covered with barbeque sauce, including my hands. It was practically a whole other course in itself just to clean it off, then I had another pseudo-meal to eat once I did. It was great.
Finishing the meal, I felt like a million bucks, but I'd only spent £2.50. Quite a bargain, I think you'll agree. The only possible way this situation could have been better was if I had several cans of beer and the Olympics was on TV. Oh wait, I did, and it was! Goodnight, folks.