What Makes Korean Fried Chicken So Unique, According To Emily 'Maangchi' Kim - Exclusive

It's no secret that the United States loves fried chicken. According to Statista, approximately 178.98 million Americans ate frozen fried chicken in 2020, with an expected increase of about five million by 2024. There are many different and debated methods of making fried chicken, from the seasoning to the number of times you dip the protein in flour. No matter your preferred recipe, the meal is a classic household staple — especially to Emily "Maangchi" Kim. YouTube's "Korean Julia Child" is known for her expertise in Korean foods, with over six million subscribers.

During an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Maangchi divulged all of her best Korean fried chicken tips and tricks. Although the social media star made kimchi throughout a live demo at the New York Times Festival, she talked about the dish at length. Maangchi revealed that she adds mustard to the recipe, which is not a common ingredient in Korean fried chicken. The cookbook author soaks the meat in milk and then places the chicken in her special marinade. While mustard is not a traditional Korean fried chicken ingredient, there is a reason why the food is so unique to Maangchi. 

Korean fried chicken is double-fried

When asked what makes Korean fried chicken special, Emily "Maangchi" Kim named the technique that goes into making it. She told Tasting Table, "Korean fried chicken is really crunchy and also double-fried. It's coming from double fry, and also, I learned this recipe decades ago when I lived in Korea." Maangchi explained that there was a fried chicken restaurant near her home in Korea, where the owner made it in front of her. That's when the YouTube personality began using the same recipe for her family.

Maangchi added, "[My family] said, 'That's exactly the same taste,' because I saw what [the owner] was doing." The cooking guru included the recipe on her social media channels, and she said that Korean fried chicken "is very popular in North America and all around the world." 

Besides the chicken itself, Maangchi brought up the second most important ingredient — the sauce. According to the internet star, there is a lot of thought that goes into creating the perfect sauce (if it's spicy or not, what methods to use, etc.).

Maangchi explained that in order to balance out the sauce with the Korean fried chicken, "one thing is that the sauce should not interrupt [the chicken's] crunchiness." She added, "If this sauce is thin already, [you should] thicken it for it to be ready soon." After you top the chicken with a dipping sauce, your meal is all set to go. Take it from Maangchi, and double fry!

Learn more about the New York Times Food Festival on its website. Check out Emily "Maangchi" Kim's YouTube channel to keep up with her latest recipes.