Yes, the Nando’s International Griller’s Challenge is a thing and it was first launched in 2012 in South Africa (the home of Nando’s). There have been 9 competitions since then and grillers from around the world converge to compete for grilling glory.

nando internatinoal grillers challenge

Competitions have been held in Australia, London, Canada, Ireland, and Malaysia and we were delighted to hear that Malaysian grillers have won third place four times—not bad considering there were 18 countries competing and 28 contenders at the 2023 competition.

International Griller’s Challenge Winner 2023

Nando’s Citta Mall’s own Muhammad Nazib bin Juhari won 3rd place at the recent competition held at Pavilion Bukit Jalil. Katie Connolly from Australia was named the champion, with Kelvin Dube from South Africa coming in second place—so now you know where you can find the best Nando’s chicken.

Nando’s judging process

We were quite surprised to learn the amount of things that are considered towards the final score for the competition. The first point of judging is actually how quickly you can wash your hands and do so correctly while hitting all the right points.

From proper hand cleaning technique to remembering to use the tissue to turn off the tap, washing hands is as important as the actual prep for the chicken.

Speaking of prep, each griller must pre-cook their chicken to get it to a satisfying state to start grilling. Cook it too much and you lose moisture, not enough and you won’t get that satisfying browning people look for on their chicken.

So in terms of actual cooking, the first step to grilling chicken at Nando’s is choosing a nicely browned chicken from the drawer.

Then grillers need to know how to poke the chicken and carry them to the right spot on the grill. Poke too deep and you’ll lose moisture and it leaves marks on the chicken, and poke in the wrong place and you’ll risk tearing the chicken in half while you’re transporting it.

Once firmly in your grip, you need to look for a spot on the grill with the right heat to get a good sear on. You can only flip the chicken once otherwise you’ll get criss-crossed marks on your chicken and you need to find a place with even heat otherwise you’ll burn random parts of your chicken.

The next part is cutting the chicken in one clean cut and making sure its perfectly portioned. The sharpness of the knife helps you cut it evenly and there’s a specific way that Nando’s chicken needs to be cut. Then you need to carry the chicken back on the grill to dab it with the correct amount of sauce.

Finally, grillers will need to plate the chicken correctly and stick the matching flag from extra mild to extra hot.

How to spot a good plate of chicken in 6 steps according to Nando’s

So if you’re eating at Nando's, use this guide to see if you’ve gotten a good plate of chicken or if you should just send it back to the kitchen.

Step 1: Browning of the skin

So you want to look for overall browning. Places to lookout for include the chicken breast which usually doesn’t get a lot of browning.

Step 2: Grill marks

There needs to be even char on the skin and no overlapping lines. Lookout for burns here especially on the tip of your chicken wings. If it’s burnt, you know the griller made a mistake.

Step 3: Portion of the chicken

It should be evenly cut and portioned. Lookout for the cut on the chicken’s spine and make sure it’s cut in one straight line. You can also look for points or holes where the griller poked. If you can see a gaping hole in your chicken, the griller has messed up.

Step 4: Sos cukup

The thing to look for is the pooling of sauce on the chicken. If it’s pooling, it’s too much. You want the sauce to be all over without overflowing.

Step 5: Crispy skin

Run your fork over the skin around the breast and the thighs to hear its crispiness and turn the skin over to see if the fat has been burned off. This is a little hard to do and some of us like that fat under the skin, so you do you.

Step 6: Meat tenderness and juiciness

Well, this is self-explanatory, but you don’t want dry or stringy chicken. Check the chicken breast for this. You also want to cut into the chicken and see smoke coming out of it and some juice flowing still.

There's actually 8 steps in total for Nando's judges to judge the chicken but for civilian chicken enjoyers like us, these 6 steps are the easiest. So the next time you're munching on some chicken at Nando's give this list a look and see if your griller has delivered the best chicken you can get.