Feb 12, 2007  •  In Food, NYC, Reviews

BonChon Chicken

Last Wednesday, the NYTimes had an article about Korean-style friend chicken. The word soon spread and I read about it again and again on the Gothamist, Curbed, and other blogs I read regularly.

I started salivating as soon as I read the article. See, my parents used to run a friend chicken place back when we were still living in Korea. My sister and I used to walk there every day and pig out, probably making a big cut in their profits. Since then, we’ve always craved Korean-style chicken – our mother’s garlic sauce slathered on the hot, crisp chicken, with a side of cool, refreshing moo (pickled radish) was just unbeatable.

Needless to say, I had to check out these chicken establishments. So J and I stopped by BonChon Chicken on 5th Ave and 32nd St on Saturday.

The decor was very modern and trendy, suited more for a bar/lounge than a fried chicken establishment (I later found out that the space had been used as a Korean bar before BonChon). We arrived around 4-ish, and were very lucky to have beaten the crowd. Soon after we sat down, a line started to form and the crowd became agitated.

Because they make the chicken after you order, it usually takes 20 minutes for your chicken to arrive. However, the NYTimes article brought a lot of extra publicity and so they were short-staffed and unprepared. To put it bluntly, the service was pretty bad. Luckily, J and I got our order in less than 30 minutes, but most people were waiting a lot longer than that. Several just left, complaining that it was taking too long.

But the chicken? Mmmmm….


(image via the BonChon website)

Delicious! It was crisp, light, and the seasoning was perfect. I made sure to ask for extra moo, and maybe I asked for too much, because they ran out of moo soon after.

They have two kinds of seasoning: spicy, and soy and garlic. I definitely recommend the soy and garlic one…the spicy seasoning was a bit too spicy for even my Korean tastebuds. Well, scratch that, since I am a spicy food lover. I think it may be because I’m so used to American-style hot buffalo wings that the different type of spiciness threw me off guard.

I ordered some extra and took some home for my parents. Despite the fact that the chicken was cold by the time we got home, the skin was till crisp and light. My parents loved it.

Luckily, my office is only 2 blocks from K-Town. Methinks visits to BonChon will become a regular part of my life..

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