I ate at a fast-growing fried chicken chain from Korea and it was maybe the best fried chicken I’ve ever had

I ate the best fried chicken I've ever tasted at a small but rapidly-expanding fried chicken chain from Korea: Bonchon Chicken.

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I ate the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted at a small but rapidly-expanding fried chicken chain from Korea: Bonchon Chicken.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

  • Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods.
  • I had some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had at Bonchon Chicken, a fried chicken restaurant chain from South Korea.
  • Bonchon’s fried chicken was like candy: The skin’s crisp was immaculate, the sauce was well-rounded and flavorful, and the meat slid right off the bone.
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I’ve eaten more fried chicken in the last week than I’ve eaten in the last year. I ate and compared chicken wings for my taste test to find the best.

I’m sick of fried chicken, and I love fried chicken.

But something good came out of all my heartburn: I ate the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted at a small but rapidly-expanding fried chicken chain from Korea: Bonchon Chicken. The chain won my taste test, beating out all the classic American chains.

Read more: I’m a feminist millennial woman who just ate at Hooters for the first time. Here’s why I’d definitely go back.

Chicken and beer is a known phenomenon in Korea. And abroad, Bonchon Chicken is growing. Although there are currently 87 Bonchon restaurants in the US, the chain says it is looking to grow that number to 300-400 restaurants in the next five years.

I believe Korean fried chicken will take over the world. And all it took was one visit to an NYC Bonchon location to convince me.


I went to one of the Bonchon locations in Midtown Manhattan.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The restaurant’s interior was sleek and casual. It was heavy on the wood and had a vaguely bar-like feel. I mean, there was a bar, just no bar seating.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The space was dark and fairly sparse. There were no decorations at any of the tables, and lighting was industrial.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Although the place didn’t otherwise have much of a sports bar feel, there were posters advertising beer-and-sports-centered happy hours.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Like at many Korean restaurants, there were K-Pop and R&B music videos projected on the wall.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

For 13.99, I received a 10-piece order of bone-in chicken wings.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

You can choose two different flavors if you like, so I chose spicy and soy garlic.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I started with a spicy wing. It felt slightly heavier than an American wing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

As soon as I bit into the sweet, crispy, sticky skin, I knew I had an international treasure in my hand. The sauce was incorporated into the skin, yet it was super flavorful. It was savory, sweet, and brought the heat.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And under the skin, the chicken was just as melt-in-your-mouth juicy and soft as I’d hoped. It was flavorful without being oversalted.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Next, I tried a wing from the soy garlic sauce side.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

While the skin was just as marvelously crispy and sticky, I found this sauce to be slightly too salty. The chicken underneath, however, was still perfect.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more: I tried 4 salads from fast food chains, and Chick-fil-A’s finally convinced me not all its food is trash


Instead of sauce and celery sticks or carrots, Bonchon offers a choice of pickled radish or coleslaw. I chose the pickled radish because pickled things give me life.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

These were refreshingly tart, light, and crunchy. They tasted like a dash of vinegar and salt, but the radish underneath was sweet and bitter. The perfect break from double-fried chicken wings.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There were about a thousand calories in ten wings, so I promised myself I’d stop after just a few. But they were just so…

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Freaking…

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Good.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

In the end, I ate six or seven. But who’s counting?

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

At the end of my meal, my stomach felt like it had been stuffed with fat, salt, and protein, which it had been. But my mouth was very, very happy. I guess that’s the nature of candy: it’s not good for you, but you want more.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And just like candy, every piece of Bonchon Chicken is a treat. Move over, Kentucky Fried Chicken, there’s a newer, hotter KFC in town: Korean fried chicken.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider