KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) Tops Fried Chicken Rankings in San Francisco

Albert Poon
Photo by Albert Poon

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.

Kkanbu Chicken, Potato Fries, and Crisp Beers

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.

Aria Korean Street Food

Family-run, literal TL hole in the wall serving chicken and Korean street food

No items found.

10pcs Gangjung Fried Chicken (닭강정) - Sauce on Top

Boneless and skinless non-gmo Korean fried chicken thighs with mama's secret sauce on top.

10pcs Korean Fried Chicken (치킨) - Sauce on the Side

Boneless and skinless non-gmo chicken thighs. Sauce on the side.

Garlic soy or Sweet spicy

Jin Mi Korean Cuisine

Local Civic Center/TL establishment. Pre-order for lunch or early dinner.


Chicken wings with our own sweet and sour sauce.

Soy Sauce Chicken Wings

Chicken wings with our own soy sauce.

Red Chicken Wings

Chicken wings our own tangy sweet a spicy sauce.

No items found.

K & D Market

The world has finally caught up with this long-standing neighborhood favorite. Available from 5:30pm to 10:30pm.

Korean Fried Chicken

Honey Garlic Korean Fried Chicken

Sauce on the side

Chili Sauce Korean Fried Chicken

Sauce on the Side

No items found.

Shin Toe Bul Yi

You can get a fix of KFC from this homey, longtime (20+ years) Parkside family operation. But, they also have a wide range of Korean favorites.

Yangnyeom Tongdak

Deep-fried chicken with house special sauce.

No items found.
No items found.
The list of restaurants highlighted in the story. Order delivery or grab pick-up from any of the places near you.


A World of International Flavors in the Inner Sunset

Contrasts and Constant Change Made the Mission We Love

Dinner for Every Palate in San Francisco