By Brittany Tiplady
From Vancouver to Langley there’s one food trend that’s sweeping the Metro Vancouver area: Korean. Fried. Chicken.
Of course, Korean fried chicken is nothing new. It just took a while to enter the mainstream on this side of the globe.
According to an article written in Smithsonian Magazine, “scholars claim that the U.S. military presence after the Korean War introduced deep-fried chicken to the Korean palate. In the 1960s and ’70s, Western-style rotisserie chicken restaurants became popular in urban areas. Starting in the 1980s, Korean-style fried chicken dipped in a sweet and spicy sauce made with gochujang (fermented chili paste) was delivered to virtually every household in modern apartment complexes.”
It has been reported that the first Korean fried chicken franchise, Lims Chicken, was established in 1977 by Yu Seok-ho in the basement of Shinsegae Department Store, Chungmu-ro, Seoul. Fast food restaurants like KFC and Popeyes setting up in Korea furthered the movement and helped propel fried chicken as a casual dining staple.
The trend took off in 1997 during a financial crisis in Asia–it’s been documented that people laid off from their jobs opened fried chicken restaurants to earn a living and start new careers.
Now, two decades later, this delicious dish has finally made its way to North America and we’re so happy it did.
Unlike traditional North American fried chicken, Korean fried chicken comes in quite a few different varieties.
For example, Huraideu-chikin (후라이드 치킨) is a more basic fried chicken.
Yangnyeom-chikin (양념 치킨) is fried chicken coated in gochujang-based sweet and spicy sauce and is often listed on the menu as “seasoned chicken.” Padak (파닭) is fried chicken topped with or smothered with a large amount of thinly shredded scallions and Honey-Chikin (허니 치킨) is a sticky, soy sauce and honey coated dish.
There’s the option to get your chicken fried whole (known as Tongdak (통닭, or whole chicken), or boneless, which is the most popular option, these days.
While there’s no shortage of Korean fried chicken spots to choose from, we’ve rounded up a few that are bound to impress.
Rib & Chicken
Locations in Vancouver, Langley and Surrey
An East Vancouver favourite. Serving authentic crispy fried chicken, succulent ribs, and delicious hot pot.
Kosoo Korean Restaurant Chicken & BBQ
1128 Robson St, Vancouver
Transit: Near Burrard SkyTrain Station
Let the reviews speak for themselves: Kosoo is a fan favourite! Kosoo is known for their thin and crispy fried chicken, fried in fresh oil and coated in their own house-made chicken powder.
1190 Pine Tree Way
Transit: Coquitlam Central or Lincoln SyTrain Stations
While there are many amazing places to get Korean fried chicken in Coquitlam, OZ might be the one to put at the top of your to-try list! Try their extensive list of tender boneless chicken options in flavours like, Butter Garlic, Chicken Tartar and Tropical.
7235 Canada Way, Burnaby
Transit: Busses 101, 106
Mouth-watering ribs, a generous selection of fried chicken served with pickled radish, rice bowls and more. KnChicken is lauded as some of the best fried chicken in the area.
Cocoru Beer & Chicken
8391 Alexandra Rd #2140, Richmond, BC
Transit: Near Lansdowne Station
Cocoru is a great option for takeout if you’re in the Richmond area, but we also highly recommend dining in to take advantage of their excellent beer and soju selection as well. Korean fried chicken is obviously the star of the show but their size dishes like the Cheese Ball, Snowfall Chicken Bites and Dduckkochi can’t be beat.