This article got its start, as food-related articles often do, from an argument. My dining partner and I were discussing the different chicken sandwiches that you could get from the fast-food restaurant chains. My dining partner suggested I test a selection of the popular fast-food-style chicken sandwiches and inform you, dear readers, of just what your purchase will cost you, both in your pocket and your digestion.
I chose five chicken sandwiches, one each from five different fast food-style restaurants. Each sandwich had breast meat of chicken as the main protein source. Each chicken piece was breaded, fried, assembled, bagged and served to me via the restaurant’s drive-thru.
The nutrition values listed with each tested chicken sandwich are listed at the restaurant itself, and also on the company’s website. Oh, and 1,150 mg sodium equals half a teaspoon of table salt.
Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich 440 calories, 19 g. fat, 1,350 mg sodium, 28 g. protein. $3.99
The Chick-fil-A sandwich is simple to make: a trimmed chicken breast, dipped in an egg and milk wash, tossed in seasoned breading and then pressure-cooked. This particular chicken breast seemed smaller than I remembered from previous encounters. The meat was dense, appropriately seasoned, its dill pickle providing a biting crunchy finishing note.
Hardee’s Big Chicken Sandwich 590 calories, 29 g. fat, 1,060 mg sodium, 21 g. protein. $5.19
The fried chicken breast used in Hardee’s Big Chicken sandwich overlaps its buttery bun by a good inch or more, and it does look appetizing with its lettuce and tomato. (It should be, for $5.19.) Looks aren’t everything, though. The meat seemed rubbery, while its taste was good, but not great.
McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich 400 calories, 21 g. fat, 1,040 mg. sodium, 25 g. protein. $3.63
McDonald’s has come up with a tasty and nutritious chicken sandwich. The McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich has just 400 calories, a low 21 grams of fat and the least amount of sodium per serving than the other four entries. The McChicken has a blend of spices that subtly enhances the overall flavor, and is finished with a dill pickle slice and split-top bun. The McChicken Sandwich is excellent, and a bargain at $3.63.
Popeye’s Classic Chicken Sandwich 690 calories, 42 g. fat, 1,443 mg sodium, 28 g. protein. $3.99
Popeye’s Classic Chicken Sandwich is marketed as being more of a chicken sandwich than those of the competition. You do get a lot for your $3.99. There is more sandwich here, of course. There is also more protein, more fat, more calories and more sodium. Sadly, every bite I took had more flavor of fry oil, and less flavor of sandwich.
Wendy’s Classic Chicken Sandwich 490 calories, 21 g. fat, 1,450 mg sodium, 28 g protein. $4.89
Wendy’s version of the chicken sandwich has a good-sized chicken breast fried in lightly-seasoned breading, and assembled with fresh lettuce and tomato on a tasty bun. Folks, my Wendy’s Classic Chicken Sandwich tasted nearest to what my mom’s fried chicken tasted like.
These results are, of course, arbitrary. You may not agree with the restaurants I chose. The kind of chicken sandwich I reviewed may not be the one you’d order from that restaurant’s menu.
So, the next time you pull into that restaurant’s drive-thru lane and search their menu for a chicken sandwich, I encourage you to conduct your own on-the-spot test; use your taste buds to find your own favorite chicken sandwich.