A few years back on a business trip to Seoul, our client and host met us at our hotel to welcome us for a few days of meetings. Without much fanfare, we simply walked across the wide boulevard from the hotel and into the undistinguished small retail plaza on the lower floors of an office building. We found a small table in the nearby Kkanbu Chicken, a local chimaek — chicken and beer — chain. With one jet-lagged bite, it dawned on me that Koreans had something special going on with fried chicken.
Two thoughts popped into mind. First, it was the very best fried chicken I had ever had. It had a distinctive crunchy, crisp skin that wasn’t heavy or greasy. It was seasoned with bold Asian flavors — garlicy, savory, sweet, and tangy. I washed down each bite with a refreshing, light Korean lager and contemplated my second thought. Should a culture that already ruled BBQ really own fried chicken too? Well, if that humble first meal off the plane was a sign, then the answer is yes. Koreans should very much control the world’s fried chicken.
If you have never had your own chicken epiphany, I invite you to check out the places below. If you have, the joy of sublime, satisfying KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) delivery is a few clicks away.
Temescal-based OBTOWN sports a full selection of Korean fare including a full range of chicken dishes, not just KFC. For their KFC, they offer the classic set of sauce options — sweet and spicy, Extra spicy and sweet, garlic soy or plain.
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Happy #tlishtacotuesday! Our new taco especial is made with locally made pastrami by Pete Timken of Pete’s Meats, plus a mustard-manzano aioli, caraway-cabbage slaw and a @lapalmasf flour tortilla. #tacolicious #tlish #tacotuesday
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Garlic & soy sauce fried chicken.
This international chain was one of the first to popularize the KFC style outside of Korea winning fans in Asia, the Middle East and the US. They offer KFC in traditional wings, boneless wings, drumsticks and chicken strips. You pick the chicken style, they KF it with their iconic sauces — Soy Garlic, Sweet Crunch and Spicy.
10 wings and five drumsticks with sides
Grand Lake’s Jong Ga House offers a full menu of Korean dishes. These boneless wings are appetizers on their menu.
Soy and Garlic sauce fried boneless chicken.
Sweet and spicy fried boneless chicken.
Located in Temescal’s Korean food district, Hancook offers wings for noshing as well as half or full fried chickens.
Eight pieces of Korean fried chicken with choice of house-made sauce — Green onion, Hot & Sweet Spicy, Plain, Snow (White Cheddar) and Soy Garlic.
Half or Whole. Boneless with choice of sauce.
Downtown Berkeley’s lively Berkeley Social Club offers a full range of Korean fare.
Korean fried chicken. Boneless. Served with rice and pickles.