With the Ever Sagacious Gravida clamoring for a spicy dinner before the Mad Men finale but not in the mood to leave the house, let alone abide my wishes to go to Park's Barbeque, it was time to give KyoChon a shot for some take-out. KyoChon is the KFC of South Korea where it has over 1,000 locations. It has expanded to the U.S. in recent years with a location in Queens and four in Southern California.
I ordered the whole chicken, half with a sweet hot sauce and half flavored with garlic soy. KyoChon carves the chicken into bite–sized pieces, but leaves the chicken affixed to the hacked up bone. They then fry the chicken pieces twice in a manner that "renders out the fat in the skin" and brush the pieces with the sauces somewhere in the process. Everything is made to order at Kyochon, which led to a 20-minute wait even on a quiet night.
The end result of what must be the most laborious recipe in fast food history is that the chicken fat and skin turn into some of the crispiest and tastiest fried fry around, while the meat remains juicy and tender within. The sweet hot flavor, with its red pepper base, is closer in style to the cayenne-dominated sauce accompanying Buffalo wings, and the garlic soy's flavor is self-explanatory. The dark meat, as always, was better than the white (though the ESG doesn't necessarily agree with that statement), and the hot sauce’s moderate fire was just what we wanted -- though it wasn't enough to put the ESG into labor, as she'd hoped.
The biggest surprise of the night was the moderately spicy chicken fried rice. This was straight-ahead comfort food, consisting of rice, tiny nubs of moist chicken, onions and peppers, bound together with the same delicious spicy sweet sauce from the fried chicken. It made up for the mayorific cabbage slaw that came with our dinner and was too vile to ingest and the alien cubes of white radish pickles floating in an unidentified liquid. But the chicken and rice, followed by a bowl of deliciously sweet grapes from the Hollywood Farmer's Market, made for a perfect pre-baby Sunday night dinner.
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