|Photo stolen from Rozanne Gold
I believe there was a craze for Korean fried chicken last winter. Chalk it up to laziness or lack of curiosity, but either way, I missed it, and I hadn't thought about it until a recent surfing excursion to Long Beach gave me an excuse to drive through Queens. After a day of failed attempts at hanging ten, Queens native DG and myself figured the best way to cure our "we suck at surfing" blues was a bucket of fried chicken. DG's a whiz at navigating the streets of Queens, so we decided to see how the Koreans stacked up against the Colonel.
I'm a big fan of seeing what I'm about to eat scroll across an LCD monitor. A picture's worth a thousand bites. For whatever reason, I had assumed that the fried chicken was going to be in buffalo wing form, tiny little drumsticks and all, but to my surprise, it was actually big parts and pieces of our poultry pal, just like the Colonel, and the pictures only made me hungrier. Instead of a breaded mess, the chicken has more of a glazed appearance, and when it arrived at our table, it looked like the picture (This is a rarity. See previous Angus post). In addition to the chicken, we ordered a side of cheese sticks, and while delicious, it was definitely nothing new and exotic. Think Applebee's or Friday's. The chicken was another story.
We opened the steaming boxes, one order of original, and one order of spicy, and the conversation ceased. Imagine the scene in Gremlins when Gizmo's spawn gets hold of the fried chicken. I guess it didn't matter what it looked like after all. The masses were correct. Korean fried chicken is addictive. The ginger and soy and spice gave way to a barely audible but extremely satisfying crunch. The meat itself was brined to perfection. If the zipcar wasn't due back at 7, we would have stayed for another round. But is it any different than its domestic counterpart? Honestly, fried chicken in any language is great. Fried anything is great, but there's something about a clucker breaded and cooked in 350 degree oil. I give the edge to KyoChon this time, but in great part to its novelty. The next time you're in a zipcar rolling around Queens, it's definitely worth a stop. Just make sure you have plenty of time to order a second box of chicken. Buen provecho.
156-50 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY, 11354
Me and DG, one beer: $35