The Comfort Food Guide to Vancouver: Nashville Hot Chicken Sando at Downlow

This series maps out our editors’ picks for Vancouver’s best and most legendary comfort foods. We encourage readers to steer us towards their favourites in the comments or by using the hashtag #ScoutYVR on social media.

The 2018 arrival of Downlow Chicken Shack and its properly prepared Nashville-style ‘hot chicken’ hit Vancouver like The Beatles, resulting in daily crowds, swoons and anticipatory sweats. The deliciously spicy stuff was first developed as a means of revenge in Depression-era Tennessee, but the victim liked it so much that he replicated it for sale. The marinated meat is well seasoned, floured, buttermilked and deep fried to toothsome extra crispy before being sauced (and thus softened some) with a signature spice paste. The electric heat typically comes from cayenne, but its Scoville levels can be upped to an insane, face-melting degree. Sweet and sour coleslaw, pickle coins and house sauce complete the comforting package, which is held together by a Livia bun. Note: they also do an Atlanta-style ‘Lemon Pepper’ variant that will knock your socks off.

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