Southerners aren’t the only ones who can make great fried chicken. Who else knows how to do it? Koreans!!
For those of you familiar with Korean fried chicken, then just nod along. For those of you who are thinking, “What? Asian fried chicken? No…” then be prepared to think again.
According to Wikipedia, Korean fried chicken is different from the fried chicken you’re used to the in the States because it’s fried twice, resulting in a crunchier skin with less grease. Also, it often comes with smaller sized chicken pieces which are more along the lines of what you would think of when you order wings.
Truth be told, I had never had Korean fried chicken before coming to Bonchon and it was actually one of my friends who visited me from Texas who told me about the restaurant. Bonchon Chicken is a chain, in the U.S. and in certain parts of Asia, and there are three locations in New York City. I went to the one in Midtown.
I feel like I’m so used to tiny restaurants with limited seating or long wait times that I was delighted when my friend and I got seated immediately, we saw there were two stories, AND there was plenty of table seating. It’s so funny that these days I’ve become so unaccustomed to large restaurants that I constantly think, “Wow, it’s like I’m not even in New York City!”
You can either order wings, drumsticks, strips, or “half and half,” which is a combination of wings and drumsticks. Then you get to pick your size, small to XL, and sauce, either soy garlic or hot. Since I’m one of those people who wants to try as many things as possible at a restaurant (without completely pigging out and shelling out wads and wads of cash of course), I ordered a combination of wings and drums, size small, half soy garlic and half hot. It’s pretty nice that you can choose to get only wings or only drumsticks since I know quite a few people who prefer one over the other. The small size was plenty for a meal for me, especially because we also split a seafood scallion pancake.
I was VERY impressed with the quality of the chicken. It was just SO crunchy with the meat still being juicy. Like I’m seriously remembering the amazing crunch each bite had right now and drooling. While I liked both flavors, I think the soy garlic sauce edged out the hot by just a little bit in my book. It was tangy and savory, and basically I’m a huge fan of anything garlic. Of course, I recommend doing half and half to get a nice balance between sweet and spicy. The seafood pancake was also a lot bigger than I was expecting and was quite thick and filled with plump shrimp. And you might have noticed in the picture…everyone gets a bowl of pickled radishes with their order which they say helps cool down your mouth after eating the hot sauce.
So, next time you’re craving some fried chicken, give the Korean version a shot at Bonchon. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Small half & half and seafood scallion pancake
207 W 38th St
New York, NY 10018