Fried chicken is popular in Korea. Apparently, it was introduced during the war and has caught on since. Here is a bit about the history and variations. To me, the Korean version is crunchier than its Western counterpart. The sauce is almost candied. I tried it in four different places while in Korea, and here they are from best to worst in my opinion.
- Shinsegae Food Hall (Gangnam)
My favorite was at the food hall in the bottom of the Shinsegae department store in Gangnam (the one connected to the JW Marriott Hotel). On a side note, many department stores in Korea have food halls in the basements just like in Japan or many places in Europe. I will do a separate post about these later, but they are one of the most exciting places to eat. I would say that Korean department store food halls are my favorite in the world. Truly a food lover’s heaven.
Back to the fried chicken. This stall had 3 to choose from including spicy, not spicy and honey garlic.
You choose how much you want and pay by weight.
Kyochon is a restaurant chain in Korea. They specialize in fried chicken. They have a self serve station for sauces and pickled vegetables to go with the chicken. If I had to judge purely on taste, #1 above was more flavorful.
3. From a street vendor in Myeongdong
Note that this version included rice cakes.
4. From a street vendor in Busan
This was by far the worst one. As you can see in the picture below, the chicken was pre portioned and sitting out with no hot holding. The lady gave me a bucket of ice cold chicken! When I asked for a warm one, she tossed it in the microwave. In order to avoid this, I would suggest you only purchase from a vendor that is portioning from a freshly cooked batch or one that is being held warm.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. KFC is sold everywhere in Korea. You will see signs with chicken and beer which is usually how it is consumed. I wanted to try more KFC, but part of the problem in Korea is there is so much yummy stuff everywhere, so it is difficult to focus on just one food type.