What Makes Korean Fried Chicken Unique?

Korean food continues to grow in popularity around the United States with its unique, often spicy, flavors that delight taste buds. It began with widespread eating of kimchi and cooking with gochujang. Now, people all over the world are enjoying the delicacy that is Korean fried chicken.

Fried chicken may most often be associated with the southern United States, but it is a popular snack food in South Korea, according to Explore Gwinnett, and it's frequently enjoyed with a cold bottle of Hite or Cass beer.  Pickled radishes are a popular accompaniment to Korean fried chicken, per Maangchi. The dish is also a favorite among those who have tried Korean food, according to a survey by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as reported by The Korea Herald. The survey of 8,000 people from around the world who had tried Korean food found that 13.3% of them liked Korean fried chicken the best, followed by kimchi at 11.9% and bibimbap with 10.3%.

There are several kinds of Korean fried chicken, but the most well-known and popular is Yangnyeom chicken, with a sauce that is both spicy and sweet, according to My Korean Kitchen

Extra crispy and spicy with a hint of sweet

There are two attributes of Korean fried chicken that set it apart from any other: it is super crispy and is not messy (via Thrillest).  The pieces of chicken are coated with spices, chilis, and sugars before they are fried the first time to seal in the flavors — and then they are fried a second time, resulting in a less messy wing or drumstick. Even though the chicken is fried, Explore Gwinnett describes it as being light and not overly battered. 

Maangchi's recipe for Yangnyeom chicken includes directions for the sauce, which consists of gochujang, ketchup, rice syrup, vegetable oil, garlic and vinegar. The key to the best Korean fried chicken, according to Taste Asian Food, is to marinate it for at least two hours with salt, ground black pepper and ginger juice. To fry the chicken, first coat it with potato or corn starch and baking powder before frying. Then, you coat it with your spicy and sweet sauce before frying a second time. The reason frying the chicken twice works so well, according to the recipe, is that it rids the chicken of moisture that has collected near the surface. In doing so, the chicken once again becomes crispy.

So don't settle for soggy or dried out fried chicken for dinner. Instead, order in or make some crunchy, flavorful Korean fried chicken.