3 great Bay Area spots for Korean fried chicken


Bonchon's fried chicken comes in wings, strips or drumsticks and is greataccompanied with French fries or bibimbap on the side. (Photo courtesy of Bonchon)

Here’s one way to get in the mood for the Winter Olympic Games, which commence Feb. 9 in PyeongChang: Eat a pile of piping hot, sauce-slathered Korean fried chicken.

Whether you prefer wings, drumsticks or strips, the Bay Area is well known for its selection of seriously authentic K.— for Korean — F.C. And those snow-covered athletes will know we’re behind them with every crunchy bite we take. Here are three fabulous Korean fried chicken eateries to try.

The Chicken on Fire

Blink and you’ll miss this unassuming little restaurant on Castro Valley’s main drag, but it’s making some of the best Korean fried chicken in the Bay Area. With the exception of a few side dishes, that’s all Chicken on Fire does. So grab one of the two-top tables against the bright yellow walls and get down to business.

Select wings, drumsticks or a combination ($9.50 small, $19 medium or $27 for a large order), keeping in mind that every order comes with pickled daikon radishes, white rice and a surprisingly delicate, finely shredded slaw that adds brightness to the meal.

In addition to the requisite Soy Garlic and Spicy, Chicken on Fire offers two more unusual flavors: Smoked Onion and Spicy Curry, both of which add sensational complexity and balanced heat to every crunchy, juicy bite of chicken. Another plus? There are two spicy-level tiers — regular and medium — so you can experience heat without feeling your nose hairs scorching.

Not to gush, but we also appreciated that servers were standing by with Costco baby wipes for our sticky fingers. Were they hovering? A little. But we were so thoroughly satisfied with our meal — and the grab-and-go Maven’s Creamery ice cream sandwiches in the cold case — that we didn’t mind the nudge to free up the table during lunch rush.

Details: Open for dinner daily and lunch Friday-Sunday at 2836 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley; 510-876-5846.

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This South Korean export is the largest and fastest-growing Korean fried chicken franchise in the United States. Their first fast-casual restaurant opened in 2006 in New Jersey. To date, there are 63 in the country, including 17 in California.

There are several reasons for the mass appeal. For starters, the vibe inside the restaurants is not quiet mom-and-pop but young, upbeat and loud, with soju cocktails ($10-$15) flowing and multiple TVs tuned in to sports. And …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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