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Irish emigrants are sharing their own versions of chicken fillet rolls that they find abroad on Facebook

People will go as far as paying $8 for a chicken fillet roll in the US.

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THE CHICKEN FILLET roll is one of the most comforting Irish meals. In theory, it’s so simple: a bread roll with some chicken, butter or mayo, lettuce and whatever other ingredients your Spar has at its disposal.

Despite its simplicity, it’s pretty hard to recreate once you step over to the civilian side of the deli counter.

Maybe it’s because we don’t all have long knives to slather mayo from industrial-sized buckets over a freshly baked roll.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have access to perfectly shredded lettuce, evenly sliced tomatoes or a pile of breaded chicken fillets seasoned to varying degrees.

Maybe it’s because we skip the step where we bundle it up into a little parcel and label it with a price.

There’s no immediately clear explanation as to why homemade chicken fillet rolls are generally disappointing but it causes problems for any Irish people who have emigrated to Australia or the US who find themselves craving the distinct taste of a chicken fillet roll from a deli.

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The Chicken Fillet Roll Review, are a Facebook group that do two things.

Their primary goal is to review chicken fillet rolls (obviously) but for some added entertainment, they (in their own words) make dank memes.

For the past couple of months they have been collecting reviews of chicken fillet rolls from across Ireland and have even collated some of them to make a list of Ireland’s top chicken fillet roll spots.

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For those curious, SuperValu Ballinteer topped the list – and if you’ve had a SuperValu chicken fillet roll at any stage, you’ll probably agree that first place is well deserved.

Unfortunately, even in countries as close as Britain, Irish emigrants are being denied the simple pleasure of a chicken fillet roll.

Tweet by @Laura Whitmore Source: Laura Whitmore/Twitter

Even Laura Whitmore pines for them while living in London. Nobody is free from the suffering.

As of late, the good people at The Chicken Fillet Roll Review have been receiving submissions from Irish people abroad who are trying hard to recreate the chicken fillet roll experience.

They all agree that they haven’t come close to experiencing anything like a real Irish chicken fillet roll, but during desperate situations and hangovers, their creative attempts are close enough.

18620314_741845649328236_2378781204728328567_n Probably something Leo Varadkar would back. Source: CFRR/Facebook

A man called Gibey Power shared his attempt:

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Gibey obtained this roll from Papi’s Deli, Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York while suffering with an intense hangover. It cost him a shocking $7.25, but Irish people abroad are happy to go to these lengths to get their fix.

PastedImage-77190 Source: CFRR/Facebook

He lists the ingredients: white bread, mayo, lettuce, red onion, cheese and spicy chicken. It actually looks pretty appealing, but how does he rate it?

The bread was toasted on the grill behind [the deli technician] along with the chicken fillets. That’s right. Fillets. There were two of them.

Two chicken fillets? You would never see anyone carrying on like that here. Americans always insist on doing everything bigger and better. Surely that will affect the finished result.

He then cut the fillets down the side and loaded them up with cheese and let it sit on the grill melting the cheese to an almost lava like state.

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Spar anymore. The overall result? 7.1/10

Safe to say the roll was absolutely delicious but could have been improved with a bigger selection of sauces [...] they get the extra .1 for calling me ‘papi’ so much and if you know the guys they sell you cheap smokes that fell off the back of a truck.

Sounds like a pretty decent experience.

Another one of their international reviews was from Neil McEnaney in Boston.

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This lettuce heavy little number was bought in Kiki’s, Boston for $8.18. Yes, that’s the guts of a tenner, but it shows just how bad these people need their chicken fillet rolls. Once again, the roll was a self prescribed hangover cure.

The ingredients were: white bread, butter, grilled chicken, lettuce, onion and BBQ sauce. Neil describes his experience:

Finding a CFR in Boston has not been an easy task. Even ordering one didn’t come without its own challenges. Firstly, it’s not advertised as a chicken fillet roll and asking for one left the cashier with a bewildered look on his face.

There’s now a simple test to find out how genuine those Americans who claim to be Irish are. Just ask them what a chicken fillet roll is. If they stare blankly, you have your answer.

Neil goes on to describe the total inefficiency of the deli set up. This place was not built for chicken fillet rolls.

The cashier takes the order which is sent to the technician no more than 5 feet away. This extra step seemed pointless to me but I wasn’t about to start an agrument about the cultural difference of ordering food when they held the fate of my CFR in their hands.

He began to get a bit nervous.

Untitled Source: CFRR/Review

The review then gets increasingly dramatic as Neil recounts the deli technicians skills.

“Would you like more butter?” he asked. Never in all my years of ordering CFRs have I been asked this question. Taken aback, I stuttered, “Yes please” and he happily obliged.

The tale reaches its dramatic climax when the deli technician squirted on too much BBQ sauce.

He must have realized it too as he saw my look of apprehension. However, what he did next completely blew my mind. He folded the roll over so the sauce spread evenly on both sides. An amazing recovery just when all seemed lost. They talk about Liverpool’s great recovery in the Champions League final of 2005, but this was on another level entirely.

Luckily for Neil, Kiki’s is one of the few Irish shops in Boston where they import Irish goods. That explains the box of Lyons tea and the dark chocolate Digestives that accompanied his roll. He made his way home with the roll and was happy with the finished result.

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The roll’s greatest downfall was the limited options outside of Ireland which forced him to order grilled chicken rather than a breaded fillet.

Of course the hefty price tag also pained him greatly, after spending his life in a country where chicken fillet rolls go for as low as €2. He finally rated it as a 7.1, the exact figure Gibey gave the New York roll and ended his review with one simple piece of advice.

Worth getting if you are in Boston, but definitely not worth a flight over.

It’s obvious from the start that this is a sandwich that cannot be duplicated beyond the Irish border.

RTÉ have launched a new TV show about Irish emigrants Skyping home, but maybe they should have directed their budget towards documenting Irish people trying to find their perfect chicken fillet roll abroad. It could possibly be a more heartwarming and noble cause.

18622549_743273205852147_8264013558200498808_n Source: CFRR/Facebook

If you’re abroad and you think you found a chicken fillet roll worth sharing, or maybe if you’re here in Ireland and simply want to see some chicken fillet roll memes, head over to The Chicken Fillet Roll Review.

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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