Sunday, November 25, 2018

Chidori Japanese Bistro - Crows Nest

Kakashi is without a doubt my favourite Naruto character and his special attack the lightning blade “chidori” (A thousand birds) is badass. I also have a new favourite Japanese restaurant in the Sydney with the same name as Kakashi’s signature move.

Chidori Japanese Bistro is located in Crows Nest near the Willoughby Road dining strip. The space has that quaint and beautiful modern Japanese fittings and furnishings. The restaurant has 2 floors with bar seatings, tables for 2 and for groups. The menu pretty much has this modern Japanese diner style commonly seen in Osaka. Chef/owner Eric Chan and his team has Japanese-style Western dishes on offer from Tonkatsu set to Omurice and izakaya staples like renkon, karaage chicken and Salmon tartare. Oh, for the ramenheads out there, they have some ramen bowls on offer too.

The karaage chicken ($8) is super succulent with a nice doughy crisp coating. Accompanied with mayo and salad.

Their tonkatsu ($14) is absolutely amazing! The decent sized fatty pork loin is cooked sous vide and then deep friend in golden crisped panko! It was beautifully tender and juicy on the inside and it came with cabbage salad and umami rich tonkatsu sauce & mustard. For an extra $4, you can have it as a set with rice, miso soup and salad. The housemade sesame here is extra tasty and addictive.

The omurice ($12) here is next level awesome! Tomato flavoured rice with bits of chashu covered under a blanket of fluffy egg (insert drooling emoji). It also comes with a creamy cheese sauce and smudged of what appears to be a form of demiglace. It also comes with salad. Tip: order extra grilled melted stretchy cheese ($3) to go with your omurice (you’re welcome).

I was excited to see ramen on their menu! For a place that doesn’t specialise in ramen, their Shirunashi tantan ($16) is insanely delicious! It’s like a mazesoba with a bit sweet, nutty and umami rich thick broth, onsen egg, negi, kikurage and bean sprouts. Mix it well, mix it good and voilà, your shirunashi tantan is ready! The thin noodles they use are similar to the ones used for Hakata style ramen. They cook noodles to katame (al dente) texture.

We ended our lunch with some delicious brown sugar syrup glazed fried buns ($9 and gua baos to be exact) with matcha ice cream and fruits.

The service here of course has a dash of Japanese hospitality that we all love. I definitely want to go back to try their Kogashi shoyu ramen.

Ramen Raff was invited by Chidori Japanese Bistro to dine as a guest.

Chidori Japanese Bistro
Shop 4, 29 Holtermann Street
Crows Nest NSW

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-9pm.
Closed on Sundays

Chidori Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 5, 2018

Best Korean Fried Chicken in Seoul

I’ve been recently missing Seoul and all its glorious food. Most people who know me are aware of my Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) obsession! I love everything from the sping onion type (also known as padak in Korea) to the sweet chilli glazed kind. South Korea’s love for fried chicken is so deep into their culture that it’s easily available almost 24/7 and everywhere in Seoul! 

I’ve been to Seoul twice now. In those 2 trips, I’ve visited a few popular shops that I can now confirm are nothing short of a complete sensory experience. Most of them are now chains so they are pretty much easy to access. Without further ado, here are some of Seoul’s best fried chicken shops:

BHC 치킨 (Better & Happier Choice)

If you’re heading to Seoul soon, chances are you will most likely stay at either Hongdae or Myeongdong! There are branches of BHC in Seoul. The most convenient one is the shop in a building complex Myeongdong 7 ga-gil. This shop was made popular and endorsed by South Korean actress Jun Ji-Hyun (aka Cheon Song-Yi from My Love from the Stars).


Cheese sprinkle fries 
They provide you with complimentary mini prawn crackers while you wait for food. Just like any Chimaek (fried chicken and beer) bistro in Seoul, they serve local and imported beer. Of course, you can get Makgeolli too!

We opted for a whole chicken ban ban (half & half) of sprinkle chicken (snow cheese) and OG fried chicken for ₩19,000 (A$23). That’s roughly 14 pieces of chicken, which we normally charge around A$35 here in Sydney. The OG has that nice rippled flavoursome coating and the meat is juicy. The cheese powder sprinkled on the sprinkle chicken had a nice blend of onion and garlic flavours with hints of sweetness.

Address: 21 Myeongdong 7-gil, Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu
Opening Hours: 2:00pm – 12:00mn
Nearest station: Euljiro 1

678 Chicken

Yes! You’ve guessed right if you’re thinking that this shop is affiliated with 678 Korean BBQ group (Owned by renowned celebrity Kang Ho-Dong) chain of restaurants. The shop we visited is just right next to BHC Myeongdong and just like BHC, it has multiple stores in Seoul and even globally. The space has a clean and simple contemporary interior. The staff members are quite friendly and one of the best parts about this store is that they are open until 3am every day! The restaurant also has about 90 seats.

We pretty much got the same whole chicken half & half of sprinkle chicken and OG fried chicken (₩17,000 or A$21). The most notable part and what sets them apart from BHC in my opinion is that their snow cheese sprinkle is less sweet with more umami taste like Twisties and Doritos. The OG chicken coating is probably a tad crunchier too.

Their fries are pretty good too but it's their cheese sticks that you also need to try! Golden crisped fried goodness on the outside with a stretchy mozzarella on the inside.

Address: 199-40 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hours: 11am until 2am
Nearest station: Euljiro 1

Mom’s Touch

The Mom’s Touch menu structure and even space is quite similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Like its American counterpart, they are also a chain restaurant that specialises in fried chicken and chicken burgers. The only difference is that their menu consists of Korean inspired flavours for both their fried chicken pieces and chicken burgers.

I tried one of their fried chicken burger offerings. In my honest opinion, I much prefer their burger compared to Kentucky’s! For the price of ₩3,500 won (A$4.35) you get a decent sized one-hand burger. The super rippled fried chicken coating was ridiculously crunchy and the meat was super juicy and flavoursome. The burger also consists of lettuce, mayo, pickles and onion in a soft milk bun.

We also tried a half serving of snow cheese sprinkled chicken for only ₩5,500 (A$6.84 for 7 pieces of chicken). The coating was perfectly crunchy and meat was juicy and tender. The cheese sprinkle had hints of onion and garlic.

Address: 26 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Hours:11:20am to 10:00pm
Nearest station: Myeongdong

 MyMy Chicken

Another accessible fried chicken store is MyMy Chicken and this chain probably has one of the most stores in Seoul (easily within the top 5). They have sit down shops and stores that are just solely for pick-ups and deliveries.

Their padak is the first spring onion fried chicken that we got to try in Seoul. It did not disappoint! Their fried chicken is probably one of the most succulent chickens I’ve come across. The coating is rippled and crunchy, whilst the soy mustard sauce had a perfect balance of sweetness and bite from the mustard. It also came with the usual complimentary mu (pickled radish). The cost for a whole chicken is ₩17,000.

Address: 6-1, Jahamun-ro, Tongui-dong, Seoul
Hours: Hours vary, check their website
Nearest station: Gyeongbokgung

Thunder Chicken

The first time I’ve heard or have seen Thunder Chicken is through K-Drama series “I Can Hear Your Voice”. The place is so popular that the OG shop is part of a K Drama food tour in Seoul. I’ve read some hidden reviews posted by locals within the internet that they have the cheapest and probably the best green onion fried chicken (padak) in town.

We went to the branch near Dongdaemun Design Plaza where we were greeted by a horde of golden crispy fried chicken at the window! No joke, look at the photo!

I’m very pleased to report back that the reviews were true and probably exceeded my expectations. I’ll get to the chicken later. They have more than just chicken. They have Korean staples including the humble bibimbap. Their dolsot (hot stone bowl) bibimbap is so simple but is one of the best I’ve had. From the gochujang paste to caramelised crisped bits created by the rice and sizzling sesame oil at the bottom of the bowl, the damn thing was excellent.

Their padak is the best one I’ve had to date! The sound of the crunch of the coating, the texture of the ripples, succulent flavoursome meat, the flavours, the sticky sweet soy mustard glazing sauce and golden sight of their chicken is what makes this fried chicken amazing. The cost for 14 pieces of chicken is only ₩16,000 (A$19).

Address: Gwanghuidong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul,
Hours: 12:00pm to 2:30am
Nearest station: Dongdaemun History and Cultural Park

Reggae Chicken

If you’re ever in Hongdae and want to try something different, y’all need to check out Reggae Chicken. They have a few shops but we ended up going to the OG store which is quite close to Hongik University station and is very popular amongst the locals. The space itself has this rustic moody hipster vibe. The sitting is quite limited and it’s quite dark inside. I guess they are trying to go for a Jamaican Rasta shack style to the place. They provide you with complimentary curried popcorn with drinks and the popcorn is refillable for free!
Snow cheese sprinkled onion rings

We tried their signature Reggae fried chicken (₩17,000 or A$21), which is a platter of 14 pieces of crispy chicken and topped with potato wedges and onion rings. The coating is lighter than most fried chicken in Seoul. The chicken meat itself was flavoured with spices which is almost reminiscent of Jamaican jerk spice. Flavour-wise, their chicken packed quite a punch. The in-house garlic sauce is quite amazing too.

Address: 317-9 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hours: Open every day 5pm~2am
Nearest station: Hongik University

Chicken in the Kitchen

I’ve saved the BEST for last. This place was highly recommended by my very good friend Kris Yoon (ex-Edition Coffee Roasters). He also took us here as he highly regards this place. Little did I know that this place always gets raving reviews from locals and visitors alike. Of course, we had to visit the OG store. I must say, this is my favourite Korean fried chicken shop to date.

The space is quite simple and tiny. But the service and food is really good. Actually the food is amazing!

The onion rings here are quite massive but super tasty.

We ordered half & half (₩19,000 = A$23) of their bump of chicken and red hot chilli peppers chicken. The bump chicken is a classic fried chicken with super crisped herbed coating that came with fried onion (giant onion rings) and chips. The coating and skin of the chicken almost becomes like a thick wafer like shell. The meat is extra juicy.

The red hot chilli pepper chicken came with a house original sticky sweet chilli yangnyeom sauce and tteok (rice cakes) and chips. The sauce had a deep flavour with a good balance of sweetness and heat. The chicken just like the original is crisped on the outside and juicy flavoursome on the inside. This chicken is quite addictive.

Address: 4-42, Wausan-ro 29-gil, Mapo-gu Seoul
Opening hours: 4pm-12pm
Nearest station: Hongik University Station, Exit 8