I ate a lot of McDonald's Filet-o-Fish sandwiches between the ages of 5 and 12. Part of me thought they were healthier than the burgers on the menu. I liked the squishy bun. I was fascinated by how the half slice of American cheese stuck to the top bun tighter than any super glue I'd used for a school project. And part of me thought I was fancy every time I ate fish, in any form.
Every Lenten season, fast food restaurants push their versions of a fried fish sandwich as an alternative to ground beef for those observing and abstaining from burgers. The origin story of the McDonald's Filet-o-Fish involves a Cincinnati franchise owner named Lou Groen, who created a fish sandwich in the ’60s after noticing a dip in burger sales during the 40-day period that starts on Ash Wednesday. The sandwiches were a hit and the rest is history.
This year, Popeyes entered the arena with the Cajun Flounder Sandwich. Just think of Popeyes as Penelope from "SNL," the Kristin Wiig character who continually tries to one-up everyone. Remember the Popeyes fried chicken sandwich released in 2019 that was very similar to the Chick-fil-A sandwich? If you're known for a signature dish, Popeyes is coming for you and they are going to claim to do it better.
With so many fast-food fried fish sandwiches on the market, there was only one thing to do: host a fried fish sandwich throw-down. I enlisted the help of my colleagues, cooking columnist Ben Mims and food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson, to help me try five fish sandwiches and choose the best. Included in the throw-down are the Popeyes Cajun Flounder Sandwich, the McDonald's Filet-o-Fish, the Wendy's Crispy Panko Fish sandwich, the Fish Sandwich from Jack in the Box and the Big Fish Sandwich from Burger King.
Which one did we like the best? You'll have to watch the video above to find out. And be sure to comment and let us know how wrong (or right) we are.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.