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[Weekender] Fried chicken lovers, get your hands busy

Just the sound of it makes one’s mouth water. In every bite -- from the crisp chicken skin to the juicy meat inside -- come plenty of reasons for its nationwide popularity, regardless of age and gender.  

Either marinated or covered in batter, golden-brown fried chicken accompanied with cool beer, or “chi-maek,” is always well-suited for a picnic at the Hangang Park -- where you can get it delivered -- or an after-work get-together. 

(123RF)
(123RF)

It is not difficult to spot chicken restaurants full of youngsters and salarymen after sunset, with pieces of fried chicken in both hands.

Fried chicken is usually not a popular choice for lunch as its rich flavor and satisfaction are better suited to relaxing after work.

There are thousands of fried chicken eateries in Korea, from major franchises including Kyochon and BHC to small family-owned restaurants. However, to appreciate the full flavor of the all-time perennial favorite, there are some tips that should be followed. 

Many chicken restaurants serve the dish with two forks for each person. No knives are involved. Patrons should dexterously maneuver the two forks, with one holding down the piece of chicken and the other scraping steaming chunks of meat off the bone. Alternatively, do not be shy about using your hands to reach the moist morsels of chicken that lie beneath the crisp skin.

The Korean pickled radish that accompanies chicken orders has a purpose. This side dish helps ease the greasiness of the fried main dish. The amount served is often not sufficient, so remember to ration them out carefully so you have enough to last throughout your meal, or paying a small fee for an extra dish of pickled radish is also possible.

There is also often a wide variety of sauces that can be had with fried chicken, including honey mustard, lemon cream, garlic sauce and those that are sweet or mildly spicy. Such additions add multiple layers of taste to the already mouthwatering dish.

Recently, fried chicken has been making its way into posh restaurants at luxury hotels where it can even be paired with a good glass of wine. However, the most authentic experience remains at those rugged eateries where you can kick back at an outdoor terrace and enjoy pieces of fried chicken with a cool mug of beer.

By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com

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