There are Korean restaurants everywhere in New York. Whether you’re in SoHo, NoHo, Nolita or the West Village, you can’t avoid Korean cuisine. Not that I’m complaining – Korean fried chicken was high on my NY bucket list, until I ticked it off over lunch at BonChon.
BonChon is a chain of restaurants with outlets across the USA, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Korea. We opted for the 5th Avenue branch, just a short walk from our hotel.
From the outside, BonChon looked pretty dingy. From the inside, it was like a cool man’s sports bar with black wooden tables, white panelled walls and widescreen TVs. Not really my cup of tea, but I could see the appeal of eating chicken, drinking beer and watching the game.
The menu had everything from Korean Scallion Pancakes and Seasoned Calamari, to Bul-Go-Gi Taco and Spicy Duk-Bo-Ki. The options were tempting, but we were there for chicken, so ordered a large ‘combo’ of wings (12pcs) and drums (4pcs) for $21.99.
The ‘cooked to order’ chicken was hand-brushed with the restaurant’s secret sauces – a mixture of Soy Garlic and Hot Spicy. Whatever the secret was, it worked. Each piece had extremely crisp skin that acted as a case for the moist, lightly flavoured meat. The lack of grease convinced us it was healthy. I questioned that later.
On the side, we couldn’t resist a large plate of Zucchini Fries ($9.99). They looked more like fish fingers than the lightly battered morsels we were used to, each one coated in golden breadcrumbs. I wasn’t blown away, so turned my attention back to chicken.
If BonChon opens in the UK, KFC can kiss its customers goodbye. Korean fried chicken is on another scale to our bog standard poulet, making it a ‘must-eat’ in NYC.
BonChon, 325 5th Avenue, New York NY 10016