Once upon a time, my parents would drive all the way to Tagaytay once a week for Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken. There I was in the backseat, wondering why the hell they would drive so far just for some freaking fried chicken and why we couldn’t just get a bucket of KFC. When you’re 6 years old, everything that makes a shattering, crunchy sound is deemed delicious. Anything fatty and oily is instantly approved by juvenile taste buds. That—and all things sweet.
Forgive me if my memory fails as I recall how Tom Sawyer’s fried chicken tasted like back in the day, but my parents can go on and on and on about how much they loved it. The story will start with the numerous dates they’ve had in a red-and-white-clad Tom Sawyer’s store, how they would forget their fights as they tore through the chicken, and how they eventually brought me, their tiny bundle of pride and joy, where I threw a tantrum (according to my mum) because I thought my chicken didn’t have enough skin.
Fast forward to now when Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken has reopened at Tiendesitas. My mother tipped me off and told me to check if it was real. Being the good daughter I was, I headed over to Tiendesitas—and voila! There it was. Red and white with that fried chicken smell leading us to its doors. You know this stuff is bad for you but very irresistible—the familiar, maddening lard-laced aroma wrapping you up in a fried chicken bubble. It drove me crazy.
I ordered a one-piece chicken with Hickory rice and some cornbread. I understand why anyone would throw a fit if their serving of chicken skin didn’t do them justice. Crisp—deafeningly crisp—with a thin layer of silky fat lining the interior of the chicken. Salty and slightly peppery, it’s the one I would reserve my cheat days for. The interior is incredibly moist and tasty. I’m better off not knowing how they cook this (and how much fat they use). The Hickory rice tastes sweet and ketchupy, a good complement to the chicken. Cornbread is served thick, heavy, and dense, with big kernels bursting upon every bite; when dipped in the gravy, it is spectacular.
I end up mopping the remains of gravy and fried chicken drippings with my remaining cornbread. Not a bad meal for PHP 135. Yup, looks like the Aurelios are back all right. And I doubt they’re going anywhere anytime soon.
Originally from Pepper: https://pepper.ph/tom-sawyers-old-fashioned-krispy-chicken-back/