Cheap Thrills: Kokio Chicken

The king of Korean fried chicken returns

Last year, one of our favorite strip mall finds was the now-shuttered Country Koko Chicken, a Koreatown take-out shop that specialized in some of the juiciest and crunchiest fried chicken we'd ever laid fingers on.

Here's some great news: The bird is back.

The mom-and-pop team behind the original shop recently opened Kokio Chicken, a homey restaurant located near Western and Beverly (kitty corner to an actual KFC), which sports the same adorable cartoon chicken logo.

What's Kokio's secret? The chicken ($9 for a half; $18 for a whole) is trimmed of its excess skin and double-fried to order, ensuring a craggy, well-seasoned crust and a meltingly tender interior.

Plates of plump wings (10 for $10) are just as delectable: There are hellaciously "extra spicy" ones tossed in chile powder (use the bowl of white radish kimchi to cool off), "sweet & spicy wings" coated with sticky yang nyum glaze, and a garlic-intensive version that will scent up your car on the drive home.

Skip the side of waffle fries and choose the glazed ddukbokki ($7), a mound of chewy deep-fried rice cakes tossed in an ambrosial honey sauce. Hite fans fear not–Kokio is in the process of securing a beer license. That, combined with the large group tables, makes it a perfect spot for an all-out chicken party.

Sometimes the sequel is better than the original.