Dirt Cheap Eats 2007: El Pollo Campero – Columbia Heights

Chicken

Perfect fried chicken is the hallmark of this Guatemalan fast-food chain. Coated in seasoned flour—the 11 ingredients are top secret—and sizzled to a gorgeous saffron hue, the chicken ($6.99 for three pieces) comes out tender and juicy, with a perfect meat-to-crust ratio.

Just as good are the beans ($1.89 for a single serving) in a soupy stew studded with sausage and peppers. Spoon them over Spanish rice or into a corn tortilla with a dollop of smoked chipotle salsa. Authentic drinks such as tart tamarindo and milky almond horchata go well with the salty, spicy fare.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.