Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fried Chicken, With a Twist

Today, on our way to get our tires rotated, my husband and I were stuck in Flushing with an hour or two to kill. If you have never been there, Flushing Queens is a fascinating place. After running some errands at Walgreens, we walked around a nearby strip mall, ducking into Fancy Fancy trying to find some accessories for my Mr. Bento and Payless for some halfhearted cheap shoe shopping. We then ventured some more down Northern Boulevard where we were realized lived a (delicious) phenomenon that we had only dipped our toes into- the world of Korean Fried Chicken.

In our humble neighborhood of Jackson Heights, best known for it's Indian, Bengali, Columbian and Peruvian cuisine and culture, there lies a small Korean presence. It is seen most obviously in the bright shiny newness of the Yogurtberry on 37th Avenue. It takes you by surprise when you get off the subway at 2am to find that Chung Ki Wa Restaurant is open 24 hours a day. Nearby there is even a Korean place called Prince HOF, which is a Korean style beer garden! But the availability of Korean Fried Chicken trumps all of that.

After we had moved into our apartment, when we were still sitting on the floor for meals and eating off of boxes we had our first introduction to Korean Fried Chicken in the form of our local eatery, Unidentified Flying Chicken(the tast [sic] is out of this world!). We had found UFC as we had taken a long walk through Jackson Heights via Roosevelt Avenue, admiring the amazing variety of foods available and gathering menus to make our "dishes are still packed" lifestyle as palatable as possible. We passed by restaurants as varied as Taqueria Coatzingo to the Himalayan Yak. But UFC was different. It was sleek and shiny and minimalist. And it sold fried chicken.

I don't remember much about that first introduction to Korean fried chicken, except for the fact that after our meal we were all pretty happy and satisfied. We haven't tried it again since. However, on our local message board, there has been a recent conversation about Korean Fried Chicken again. And so I started to get an itch. A very delicious itch.

I'm going to take a moment here to address the question that I'm sure some have been dying to ask. And that question is "Amy? Are you really sure you should be eating fried chicken??? With your incomplete digestive tract? Really?" And the answer to that is: I'm kind of dumb, and reckless, and willing to sacrifice some personal discomfort for some seriously good food. Well, that and so far, so good (knock on wood). So: I know, I know. I'm dumb.

So today, walking down Northern Blvd, a little peckish and a lot bored, my husband and I decided to stop into one of the yummy looking Korean fried chicken places that lined the streets and indulge. Bon Chon Chicken is pretty much what I remembered my induldgence at UFC to be. We split an order of chicken wings, half soy garlic glaze and half spicy. To start, we had a salad (kind of boring with russian dressing that tasted like special-sauce) and pickled radishes (yum!!!). I got a beer- Hite. The chicken took a while to come out because they cook it to order, but when we got the extremely generous portion, we were extremely pleased. The chicken isn't overly heavy or greasy but is crispy and flavorful. The beer and the radishes complimented it perfectly. J didn't find that the spicy wings reminiscent of buffalo wings, but I did. He thought they tasted more along the lines of hot peppers, while I thought they had a back note of vinegar. The soy and garlic was subtle, but good. I didn't have too much of the chicken (maybe 4 pieces) and J finished off the rest and I think we were both satisfied with the amount of food. I got some frozen yogurt (Korean style) on the way out. By the end of our meal, our tires were ready and we were full! How perfect is that?

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