The Seoul of the South

KFC now has a new meaning : Korean Fried Chicken

치킨은 사랑입니다

Korean fried chicken is rapidly becoming very popular outside of Seoul and its surrounding areas.

What started as a snack food in humble shacks around South Korea has emerged into one of the most popular food concepts in the U.S. and around the world in recent years.

Personally, I think Koreans would rather go out to eat fried chicken rather than Korean BBQ at any given time of the day. It is so widely available and with such variety that many Koreans even order the delicacy for delivery when they come home or while at work. If you want to take your group out to try Korean food for any occasion Korean fried chicken really can't be beat.

As of 2013, South Korea had more than 20,000 fried chicken eateries, and according to the Korean Statistical Office, the market for fried chicken is worth about $3 billion.

So what makes Korean fried chicken so different from it's American counterpart? While its American cousin is usually brined and dredged in a flour and buttermilk mixture, Korean fried chicken tends to be more light and crispier with a thin, almost paper like skin that is not heavily battered.

Korean chickens are usually smaller than American birds, and the meal is usually ordered not by the number of pieces, but rather by the number of whole birds. One whole chicken, chopped, fried and you can always ask for some different sauces that range from a soy sauce base to a spicier sweet and hot sauce known as "yangnyeom." The most popular order is a half and half order with just plain fried chicken and yangnyeom.

You can pretty much find every Korean restaurant for their own Fried Chicken menu, but Gwinnett proudly has several locations where their feature dish is Korean-style fried chicken.

One final step for truly experiencing your Korean fried chicken experience is to go for "chimaek." Chi is short for chicken and maek for maekju, which is Korean for beer. Chicken and beer has always been a great combination in global cuisine, and chimaek is no different. Be sure to try an ice cold Hite or OB with your next order of chicken to fully enjoy the chimaek experience. Don’t forget to try the pickled radish know as ‘mou’ which is great for providing a little acidity and crispness with the meal. With its wild popularity at sporting events and the variety of styles and sauces, chimaek is spawning a die hard following that is really placing Korean fried chicken (known affectionately among Koreans as the local KFC) in many food scenes.

Korean fried chicken has always been present back on the peninsula, but it is emerging as staple food here in Gwinnett and across the U.S. along with the likes of kimchi and bibimbap. Here are just a few local places you can try it for yourself: