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Chicago fried chicken Korean reviews

Crisp

Korean fried chicken (KFC) is a favorite topic of mine, as seen here, here, here, and here. But KFC was the last thing on my mind when I started planning this trip until I started reading about Crisp on various food blogs and Web sites. So on our second day in Chicago, having tackled White Castle and Greek food the night before, I skipped out on the city’s pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches and headed to Lakeview for some KFC.


Crisp

The essence of Korean fried chicken lies in its sauces and Crisp has three different offerings (Crisp BBQ, Seoul Sassy, and Bud’s Buffalo). We ordered two whole chickens and went for the Crisp BBQ and the Seoul Sassy.

The Crisp BBQ is a Korean sauce that’s got a mild heat, which was nice because other spicy KFC sauces I’ve had have totally blown out my taste buds. If you’re like us and like trying different flavors of KFC, then you’ll appreciate that even more. The heat does linger on your tongue, and I love that.


Crisp BBQ

As much as we liked the Crisp BBQ sauce, the Seoul Sassy was our favorite. The ginger, garlic, and soy-based sauce was excellent, one of my favorite KFC sauces ever. This basket of chicken disappeared faster than that Crisp BBQ.

Seoul Sassy

Sauces aside, the most important thing about this fried chicken is that it lives up to its name. The chicken skin is crispy, despite being drowned in sauce, and it’s juicy too. I’m pretty confident that most fried chicken fans could order the sauceless Plain Jane chicken and be very happy.

We got a chance to talk to Jae Lee, one of Crisp’s owners, and he was really cool. I told him that we don’t have Korean Fried Chicken like this in the SF Bay Area and that this rivaled the KFC we had in New York. Jae told us that he went to New York as part of his research and sampled pretty much everything they had to offer. Because of our conversation, our next New York trip is going to feature a trip to Unidentified Flying Chickens in Jackson Heights. But if you’re in Chicago, definitely check out Crisp if you’re looking for some excellent Korean fried chicken.

As their slogan says, “The bird is the word.”

INFORMATION
Crisp
2940 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
877.693.8653
Web site

Categories
chicken fried chicken Korean reviews Southern California

KyoChon

I’m not Korean, but I can definitely say that the KyoChon in L.A.’s Koreatown is another reason why it sucks to be Korean in the SF Bay Area.

All the Koreans I know in the Bay Area lament the dearth of good Korean Food and how all the good stuff is in L.A. This is good for me because I come home to SoCal pretty often and have access to some pretty amazing food. There’s some pretty good KFC joints in the Bay Area (99 Chicken, Oriental BBQ Chicken Town), but none are really as good as KyoChon, one of the most popular fried chicken chains in Korea.



KyoChon’s chicken is great. The texture of the chicken is perfect and crispy, just like my favorite KFC, Bon Chon in New York. However, Bon Chon’s better sauces, especially their Soy/Garlic, put it ahead of KyoChon.

There’s not much to the menu (their spicy chicken duk bok kee was pretty good, too), but it’s still a bit confusing with all the different combinations and the lack of explanations. There was a bit of a language barrier also, but despite this, our order was accurate and the chicken was delicious. Waiting for KFC is pretty standard since everything is cooked to order. I don’t know of any other KFC place that has them sitting under heat lamps, which is great because you know that you’re always going to get fresh fried chicken.

Again, almost as good as Bon Chon, but then again, it’s a lot closer than New York.

INFORMATION
KyoChon
3833 W 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90020 map
213.739.9292
Web site

Categories
chicken fried chicken Korean Northern California reviews

Oriental BBQ Chicken Town

Oriental BBQ Chicken Town serves up some amazing Korean fried chicken (KFC). KFC sets itself apart from other kinds of fried chicken by serving the chicken covered in a variety of sauces. The sweet/spicy sauce and the soy/garlic were in abundance within our party and were huge crowd pleasers. I think they also serve it up plain, and they also make a killer roasted chicken. But for the true experience, the sauces are really where it’s at. My favorite was the soy garlic because it had the best flavor and wasn’t completely drenched in sauce like the sweet/spicy chicken.


Sweet/Spicy (left) and Soy Garlic (right)
(picture courtesy of mia k.)

While the chicken is the star here, there’s actually a whole mess of other Korean dishes available. We ordered some duk bok kee (rice cake and fish cake in spicy sauce) that was really good. Towards the end of the meal, there was some bu dae chigae, a great noodle soup with SPAM and hot dogs in it that was also a winner.

A Korean meal wouldn’t be complete without soju and beer, and there was plenty to go around. The favorite of the night was the yogurt soju, which is basically soju mixed with Yakult, a sour yogurt-like beverage. Seriously, I think yogurt soju is now my favorite drink. We also tried a strawberry soju, but it tasted just like Robitussin. If you’re into Korean beers, there’s plenty of Hite and OB to go around.

INFORMATION
Oriental BBQ Chicken Town
6101 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609 map
510.595.5338
Oriental B.B.Q. Chicken Town on Urbanspoon

Categories
chicken fried chicken Korean New York reviews

Bon Chon

“Our Chicken uses none sticky sauce which helps you eat stylish.”

That’s a quote from the take out menu I picked up at Bon Chon as we were leaving…and it’s the truth. Actually, on the flip side of the menu, the pictures of its trendy, industrial interior makes Bon Chon look like it’s really a night club. Turn the lights off, put on some crappy K-Pop/gay techno/80s music, and you start understand the vibe at Bon Chon. It’s loud inside, which is normal when your walls and floor are concrete, but Korean hipster vibe aside, the fried chicken here is great.


“At Bon Chon, it’s all about eating healthy —
minimized fat, high in protein, and low in cholesterol.”

“Soy Garlic Sauce – Prevents cancer, cold, asthma and heart disease
Hot Sauce – Contains Vitamin A and C, which are good for you skin and body”

I find it amazing that Korean Fried Chicken is being marketed as health food, not just at Bon Chon. Hell, maybe they’re right. I’d love to be a true believer, but maybe I’ve been brainwashed by Western media to believe that fried foods are supposed to be bad for you.

We split a combination platter of drumsticks and wings between the five of us, half soy garlic/half hot sauce, so we’re super healthy now! The soy garlic sauce was great, subtle garlic flavor and there was a hint of sweetness to it. The hot sauce was even better and left my mouth sizzling for about 20 minutes after. The skin was crispy and true to form, not sticky, so I was not only healthy, beating cancer and getting a daily dose of vitamins, I was a stylin’ too.

If all the health food claims end up being true, then all hail Korean Fried Chicken and pass me a drumstick!

INFORMATION
Bon Chon
314 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001 map
212.221.2222
Web site

Categories
chicken fried chicken Korean Northern California reviews

99 Chicken

I’ve been wanting to eat some Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) for months after reading all about it on Yelp, so we went to 99 Chicken to pick up some food on our way to a party.

We ordered the plain and the Spicy Sauce fried chicken, and both were excellent. I was partial to the spicy chicken because it actually tastes sweet at first and then the spice kicks in makes your mouth happy…and I love it when the heat lingers in your mouth. The plain fried chicken was also great and it wasn’t greasy at all. The batter is much lighter than Southern fried chicken so it doesn’t weigh you down and make you feel totally gluttonous.

To “round out” our order we also got a beef fried rice dish and an omelette that was filled with what we ended up calling ketchup rice. The beef fried rice looked great when we opened the container, but it was inexplicably bland for something that had bulgogi in it. The only thing we could taste was the green peppers. The ketchup rice omelette was pretty good and reminded my friend of what her dad used to make her when she was a kid (she thought it was the only thing he knew how to make). And who doesn’t like ketchup on their eggs and rice?

Keep in mind that the KFC at 99 Chicken is cooked to order and takes about 20 minutes, so this is definitely not fast food. Also, KFC is supposed to be bar food, so they only offer the legs and wings, so an appreciation of the dark meat is a must!

INFORMATION
99 Chicken
2781 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
408.244.5599