IT has not been that long since K-Pop invaded the country. The flashy music videos, the funky beats and the addictive rhythm, Filipinos ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now, people are literally dining upon a new Korean hype: the Chicken Bonchon.
Voted as “The Best Chicken in America,” the fast food chain has made its way through Filipino lands after its humble beginnings in Busan, Korea in 2002. Its first branch in our country opened in Ayala Triangle Gardens in 2011; pretty soon the University of Santo Tomas hopped in the bandwagon. Bonchon has become “THE” new chicken restaurant as hundreds of people line up and wait for long minutes just to satisfy their cravings.
The secret to this so called addictive taste, as revealed in The New York Times, is the undeniably crunchy and crispy skin slathered with either soy garlic or spicy sauce. The delectable skin, the main highlight of a Korean-style fried chicken, is achieved through double frying—a process that involves frying the unseasoned chicken first to cook the inside, fried again to attain the “meatier and juicier, yet still crunchy and still crispy” chicken, and then seasoned with your preferred sauce.
However, despite many positive reviews from Filipinos, some have been disappointed including this writer.
Flavor and taste are not skin deep. Those who had expected something sensational but was greeted with a huge let down commented that the meat was bland, and if you’re unlucky sometimes dry or slightly raw. As the chicken was only seasoned after the double-frying process, all the flavors have been concentrated on the skin, leaving no time for the meat to absorb the sauce. However, the flavor of the skin can be enough to make you want for more.
But if you think BonChon is just all about chicken, well, you are simply wrong. They offer several other modified Korean dishes including beef and chicken bulgogi rice/wrap, kimchi coleslaw, and the delectable Korean yogurt. For seafood lovers, they have calamari, fish and chips, and crispy squid rice.
If you’re looking for more Korean food, do not limit yourself to BonChon. There are authentic Korean restaurants around UST, including Hanayo (Dapitan) and Santorini (P. Noval). Yes, BonChon is not as authentic; it is still fast food modified to satisfy the most conscious food eater and probably the Filipino taste buds. It does not have the indescribable, hard to explain, and varying flavors of Korean food but a somehow familiar taste.
This is only one person’s perspective, and should not in any way change your views or taste buds. If your interest and curiosity have been piqued by the long lines and the crowded restaurant, go ahead and try one. See for yourself if you have discovered a new obsession.
By Ma. Joan Paula D. Dino
Photo taken by Alvin John R. Torno