There are some amazing brands of Korean fried chicken in Seoul, such as Two Two, Chir Chir, and NeNe, among others, serving up some of the tastiest you can find anywhere! When craving some fast food in Seoul, it’s not even necessary to eat at McDonald’s or Lotteria (another major Korean franchise, though specialising in burgers), as Korean fried chicken (KFC, literally) is what’s on everybody’s lips here!
Korean fried chicken (of course known locally as yang yeum) differs from typical American fried chicken by being fried twice. This results in the skin being crunchier and less greasy. The chickens are usually seasoned with spices, sugar, and salt, prior to – and after – being fried. Soju is often served with the yang yeum – which certainly pleases the younger Seoulites I’ve met – as well as sauces and condiments of varying spiciness. A “jamak” is a traditional ale house and it is in here – as well as the ubiquitous fried chicken franchises – that the best yang yeum will be served. Just kick back, get a Soju in hand, and enjoy that little mother clucker!
I guess you could argue that all chicken smells nice, but there’s something about the dirty smell of the yang yeum that intrigues me. It just has a distinctive aroma that a lot of other kinds of fried chicken doesn’t have, and its smell drifting through the air as I’m walking past a chicken shop on the streets of Hongdae or Myeongdong or Itaewon will almost certainly make me buy some. I think it’s really cool that a lot of KFC joints have mopeds waiting outside ready for takeaway orders, so it’s seems I’m not the only sucker for this kind of food!
Most Koreans will tell you that yang yeum is best enjoyed with some beer or Soju. In Korea, anju is known as “food with drink”, and this means that all food selected tastes best under the influence of alcohol. As you can imagine, fried chicken is a perfect food for this technique! I spent a lot of my time in the Hongdae area of Seoul searching for the best fried chicken joints, and came to conclusion that there are just too many from which to choose. However, Chir Chir is a favourite of mine, although many of my backpacker friends had a hard on for Two Two Chicken, so it really will depend on the person!