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.