Monthly Archive for February, 2007

Korean Fried Chicken

Long story short, chicken is fried to order (takes about 15-20 minutes) and the pieces are exclusively drumsticks and wings. A New York Times article describes how these pieces cook perfectly so the fat is entirely rendered and the meat very juicy. Korean fried chicken is served relatively unseasoned in the plain style, but then there are sauced varieties which are more similar to American buffalo wings dressed with a variety of sauces.

Now for the chicken- it was exactly as described in the article. We happily discovered a combination option for trying all the styles of chicken with the different sauces- this option is listed on the menu as something like (“Modeum chicken- 3 plain, 3 spicy, 2 sauce, 2 sweet”). We found out what those descriptions mean:

“3 pieces plain”: fried chicken, relatively unseasoned. However, each table was furnished with a shaker of seasoning mix that seemed like salt and pepper, but actually tasted like salt/pepper/msg. No bother for us, a light sprinkling of this mix on the plain chicken really accented the chicken, the main attributes of which were crispiness and juiciness. The peppery/savory seasoning was perfect.

“3 spicy”- 3 pieces liberally slathered in a spicy, savory, touch of sweetness, garlicky, red colored sauce. The way the chicken is sauced directly before serving means that there is still some crispness to the skin even though the chicken is covered by the sauce. This form of chicken is most similar to eating buffalo wings with a slightly different sauce and quite similar to a number of wing places [Spicy Pteradactyl in everything but color -Ed.] I have eaten that offer many types of sauce. The sauce is advertised as homemade and was a nice touch, but be warned this chicken is quite saucy, so be prepared to be licking fingers.

“2 sauce”- Same sauce as above but not spicy, still quite good, but I would skip this and get either more spicy or more plain.

“2 sweet”- the sweet sauce is more of a syrup or a glaze- a clear, sticky glaze lightly covering the plain fried chicken. I personally love honey on american style fried chicken, and this was close to that, although the glaze had no honey in it. For the “sweet” chicken to really shine, it needs either seasoning in the coating or some at-the-table sprinkling of the magic mix (and happily that was provided).

The chicken is also served with some pickled daikon radish that is sweet/tart and totally addictive. The Times article described that this food is kind of bar/drinking food in Korea and the savory/saucy chicken and pickled radish would be perfect for having with beer or a cocktail. The owner also brought some slightly sweetened bagged Korean popcorn over and this was a great snack too. Especially with some salt/pepper/Msg sprinkled on it. Read it and weep, UC. Next time you go to NYC you have to get this stuff.