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Best Fried Food San Francisco 2009 - Fried Chicken at Magnolia Pub and Brewery|Salt-and-Pepper Frog at Taishan Cafe|Shrimp Kushi Katsu at Halu

Fried Chickenat Magnolia Puband Brewery
1398 Haight (at Masonic), 864-7468
Would Magnolia's peppery fried chicken taste as good if it were available every night of the week, instead of only on Thursdays? It's something to ponder as you address your crisp, golden half-bird, served with two different sides every week (they could be grits, gravy, and spinach, or perhaps mashed potatoes and braised carrots). The special is available from 5 p.m. "until we run out." This is one of the rare boneless fried chickens that still beguiles.

Salt-and-Pepper Frog at Taishan Cafe
Clement (at Funston), 668-0838; 4401 Cabrillo (at 45th Ave.), 668-1888
Under a thin, crisp, lightly fried crust, you'll find fragile, snowy-white flesh with an elusive, sweet, mildly fishy flavor. It's as addictive to eat as potato chips.

Shrimp Kushi Katsu at Halu
312 Eighth Ave. (at Clement), 221-9165
Everything is expertly fried at this tiny, adorable family-run yakitori joint — and served with a pop soundtrack that frequently features the Beatles. Deep-fried skewered yakitori are called kushi katsu, and the shrimp version (two to an order) is the best shrimp tempura imaginable.

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