I was brought up under the assumption that fried chicken was fried chicken. Well, I was brought up wrong. I mean, yes, technically it’s chicken dredged and dropped into scorching hot oil. But some of the stuff that comes out of that fryer isn’t worthy of the name. Lucky for you, this post isn’t about that. This post is about the stuff that transcends the category: Korean fried chicken.
Let’s rewind. It’s 20-some years ago in South Korea, and corner bars all over the country are looking for a snack to serve with cold beer. Enter the humble chicken. The bird (always fresh, natural and prepared to order) gets treated to a splash of flour and, otherwise unseasoned, is plopped into the fryer. After 10 minutes, the little dude gets removed, cleared of his fried lumps and crispy bits, and then it’s back into the oil. Ten more minutes and he’s chopped into bits and put on a platter with some pickled radish as a side.
The two session frying technique coupled with a relatively low oil temperature leaves the chicken with a paper-thin, nearly transparent crust. Seasonings are either served off to the side, in the case of salt and pepper, or in the form of thinly applied sauces made from garlic, soy sauce and Korean red pepper. Another perk of the double-frying maneuver is a skin that never gets soggy.
With that unflappable crust and always moist, tender meat, it’s not a shock that these Korean-style birds eventually landed on American tables. In 2007, KyoChon, the most popular purveyor of this style of fried chicken in Korea, set up shop in Los Angeles, giving Californians the chance to sample the world’s best fried chicken. And if there are any meat-eating holdouts in L.A., there’s no longer any excuse. KyoChon delivers.
KyoChon Chicken (Mid Wilshire)
3833 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA
KyoChon Chicken (Cerritos)
123 Los Cerritos Mall, Cerritos, CA
KyoChon Chicken (Glendale)
1140 Glendale Galleria, Glendale, CA
KyoChon (Culver City)
6000 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA