[Seoul] Korean Fried Chicken has become a food phenomenal of sorts in South Korean, with many Chimaek shops flourishing.
Chimaek 치맥 means Chicken and Maekju, the Korean word for “beer”
This can be attributed to Korean dramas such as “My Love From The Star”, where lead characters Do Min-jun and Chun Song-yi share their love over chicken and beer (maekju). After the drama series, many Chimaek shops flourished with their fried chicken sales.
The series may have ended long ago, but the love towards Korean Fried Chicken continues.
Note: There are many, many Korean Fried Chicken brands to try, but this food guide focuses on local and tourist favourites. Also, while only one branch is listed, most of these brands (exception of Hanchu) have several outlets peppered around Seoul.
Kyochon Chicken 교촌치킨
371-3, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 338 1300
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2am (Mon – Sun)
Kyochon is known as one of the best Korean Fried Chicken in South Korea, sometimes known as the ‘Lee Min Ho’ fried chicken as he was an ambassador of the brand.
The Chimaek chain is hugely well-liked, with branches in the United States, China, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia… actually, BUT Singapore (Tell me when.) Anyway, while there are a number of branches in Seoul, it seems that the Hongdae outlet is popular among tourists and youths, also more convenient to get to.
Kyochon Chicken… growth hormones, no drugs, use less batter and grease than other fried chicken brands, hand-cut their chicken wings, prepared fresh upon ordering, used chicken free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
The Kyochon in Seoul contains five types of fried chicken series – honey, signature soy garlic, red, fried and salsal, which is salad with rice. Price is about 15,000 Won (SGD17.80) to 18,000 Won (SGD22.30).
The Honey series is well-received by many fans, but unfortunately this is NOT available in half and half.
Their chicken wings which is hand-cut, prepared fresh upon ordering, had a delicious honey-sweetness on the batter, and this worked because the outer layer was crisp.
Kyochon Chicken has maintained to be a market-leader and well-liked by fans, largely due to its marketing and branding. But there are other Korean Fried Chicken brands in Seoul that are quite on par, waiting to be discovered. Kyochon Chicken 교촌치킨 (Hongdae, Seoul)
Kkanbu Fried Chicken 깐부 치킨 깐부치킨 신사역점
514-5 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 518 7701
Opening Hours: 4:00pm – 2:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Set up in 2006, “Kkanbu” means “the same team”, representing a best-friend or comrades relationship customers should have with their brand.
The variety at Kkanbu is extensive, considering it mainly sells chicken – Garlic Soy Chicken, Hot Snow Chicken, Old School Chicken, Kkanbu Kara (soy sauce aged at low temperate as sauce), Boneless Chicken with Tteokbokki, Spicy Soy Chicken, Crispy Chicken, Garlic Roast Chicken, Green Onion Chicken and Tender Sweet Chicken.
Price range between 14,000 to 20,000 Won (SGD16.90 – 24.15).
While fried chicken is generally still the more popular choice, they have managed to carved out a specialty in roast chicken – popular with younger customer base, and those who want supposedly lower calorie meal.
549-9 Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong, Seoul, South Korea (between Apgujeong Station and Sinsa Station)
서울 강남구 신사동 549-9
Tel: +82 2 541 0969
Opening Hours: 5:00pm – 3:00am Daily
Google Maps – Hanchu Chicken
I was also recommended to Hanchu Chicken 한추 by a few foodie friends as one of the best fried chimaek spots.
This food joint is not a franchise, so you can only get to try their delicious chicken at one place. It is located right between the Apgujeong Station and Sinsa Station at Garosu-gil.
The interior of Hanchu Chicken looked quite simple like a family-run business, with dozens of wooden tables and chairs.
The main item on the menu at Hanchu is Fried Chicken (17,000Won, SGD$20.60) and Seasoned Chicken (19,000 Won, SGD23.05). I ordered the Seasoned Chicken (19,000Won, SGD23.05) of double fried pieces, which resulted in a crispy and juicy combination.
The restaurant also serves a section of items such as Deep Fried Chilli Pepper (15,000Won, SGD18.20), Deep Fried Chicken Gizzard (15,000 Won) Deep Fried Squid (15,000 Won), Stir-Fried Rice Cake (15,000 Won), Rolled Omelette (15,000 Won) and an intriguing sounding Spicy Sea Snails Salad with Noodles (18,000 Won, SGD21.80).
21, Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04534, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 318 7295
Opening Hours: 2am – 2pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Chir Chir Myeongdong
Chir Chir (pronounced Chi-Re Chi-Re) Fusion Chicken Factory is a popular Korean restaurant chain specialising in deep fried Korean style chicken and other freshly cooked chicken dishes such as Spicy BBQ Roasted Chicken, Garlic Roasted Chicken and Crispy Fried Tenders.
The most popular dish in Korea was the Nest Snow, that was bringing fried chicken to a whole new, and guiltier level. Why?
You get deep fried chicken tenders swimming in a pool of rich creamy white sauce, a scoop of sweet salad hidden below, and a swirl of fresh whipped cream to top it all.
Mix them all up before eating. Can you imagine? Fried chicken with cream? What would it do to your diet plans, but heck.
BHC Chicken Myeongdong
21 Myeongdong 7-gil, Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu (Euljiro 1-ga Station, Line 2 Exit 5)
Tel: +82 2 319 7033
Opening Hours: 2:00pm – 12:00mn
Google Maps – BHC Chicken Myeongdong
The chicken franchise has engaged Jun Ji Hyun who played a Korean Chicken Lovin’ actress in the hit series, as exclusive model due to her huge influence.
BHC Chicken or “Better & Happier Choice” is one of most popular Korean Fried Chicken chains, having opened over 1,000 stores since 2004.
The popular BHC flavours include Sweet Garlic Soy Sauce Chicken (19,000 Won), and Boneless Sprinkle Chicken (19,000 Won) sprinkled with flavour seasoning, cheese, onion, and garlic.
Other choices include Crispy Chicken (17,000 Won), Soy Sauce Chicken Leg (19,000 Won), Sauce Chicken (18,000 Won), and Spicy Sauce Chicken (18,000 Won).
Prices are between SGD21.10 to SGD23.60 for the chicken dishes. As they are typically served as whole chicken rather a fast-food style 2 piece meal, it is better to dine as a group.
678 Chicken 치킨678
199-40 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울시 중구 을지로2가 199-40
Tel: +82 2 3789 6780
Opening Hours: 11am – 3am (Mon – Sun)
The element of celebrity-power cannot be under-estimated.
Owner by Korean host and comedian Kang Ho-Dong, you would find a standee of him welcoming you at the door in super-hero costume, and the walls lined with comic-style illustrations. Incidentally, the group also owns Baek-Jeong which is a well-liked Korean BBQ chain.
Recommended dishes in the menu include Chilli Fried Chicken (18,900 Won), Crispy Fried Chicken (18,900 Won), Hot Bomb Sauce Chicken (18,500 Won), Bulgogi Garlic Sauce Chicken (19,000 Won), Sweet Honey Sauce Chicken (18,900 Won), Spice & Cheese Chicken (18,900 Won), Soy Sauce Chicken (18,900 Won) and Savory Butter Chicken (18,900 Won).
18,900 Won is about SGD22.70 or SGD16.75. I find a portion good enough for about 3 to 4 people to share. If you are a lonesome traveller, sorry there are no individual sets for you.
If you love your light, crunchy batter, then you are in for a treat.
The 678 Korean Fried Chicken was pleasantly crispy without being too oily; the chicken meat inside retained its moisture and you just might find juices within that you could suck off the drumstick. 678 Chicken (Myeondong, Seoul)
South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Myeongdong 7-gil, 21 (Line 4 Myeongdong Station Exit 8)
서울 중구 명동2가 32-17
Tel: +82 2 3789 5892
Opening Hours: 12:30pm – 1:00am (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Oppadak
The name “Oppa Dak” is actually the short variation for “Oven eh Bbajeen” Chicken 오븐에 빠진 닭”- chicken that fell in the oven. (Oven & Fried Chicken in Singapore actually serves up this brand as well.)
The popular dinner and supper spot at offers chicken that is BAKED instead of deep-fried, all in a high-temperature oven so as to maximize moisture, crispiness and flavour.
The baked versions are offered with or without skin, and are supposedly a healthier alternative.
A basket of Crispy Baked Chicken meant for two can cost around 15,900 Won, while beers are about 5000 won per bottle.
I would suggest getting a Half & Half (18,000 Won) which allows you to try different flavours tossed in a selection of sauces, including sweet chili, peanut, teriyaki and garlic.
So I had the Sweet Chilli Chicken, which had a dry and brittle type of skin coating the meat which was moderately juicy.
It tasted healthier, saved by the interestingly-tasty sweet sauce. Oppadak (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Two Two Chicken 둘둘치킨
6-4 Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul (Myeongdong Station, Seoul Subway Line 4)
Tel: +86 2 2275 2297
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 1:30am Daily
Google Maps – Two Two Chicken
Two Two Chicken is one of the most popular Korean Fried Chicken shop in Seoul with possibly over a hundred branches.
Also known as 22 Chicken ((Dul Dul Chicken), the brand which has been around for over 30 years is known for its special frying pressure machines, batter, and secret sauce.
The Fried Chicken items include Fried Chicken (17,000 Won, SGD21), Marinated Soy Bean Chicken (17,000 Won, SGD21), Teriyaki Chicken (18,000 Won, SGD22.30), Garlic Chicken (17,000 Won, SGD21), Green Onion Chicken (19,000 Won, SGD23.50).
While the focus is on Korean Fried Chicken, the menu is extensive with other offerings of Hot Stone Pot Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Shin Ramyun, Noodles with Black Soybean Sauce, Cold Buckwheat Noodles, Fish Cake Soup, Seafood and Green Onion Pancake, and even Udon.
I think this is to cater to the tourist crowd who are more inclined to order a variety of Korean staples. The menu also includes English, Chinese and Japanese descriptions. So no worry if you are a tourist. Two Two Chicken (Myeongdong, Seoul)
BBQ Olive Chicken Café 비비큐 프리미엄 카페
Cheonggyecheon 81) 11-5 Gwancheol-dong, Jongno District, Seoul, Korea (Near Jonggak Train Station)
서울특별시 종로구 관철동 11-5（청계천로 81）
Tel: +82 2 725 9282
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 12:00am (Mon – Fri), 11:00am – 11:00pm (Sat – Sun)
Google Maps – BBQ Olive Chicken Café
BBQ Premium Café 비비큐 프리미엄 카페 has a flagship store at the Jongno District. It is also known as the “Goblin Korean Fried Chicken” store when this BBQ Olive Chicken outlet was showcased in Gong Yoo’s 2016 tvN drama Goblin: The Lonely and Great God.
All of BBQ’s dishes are prepared with 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The popular choices among large groups include Golden Olive Chicken Platter (Medium 19,900 Won, SGD23.87/Large 27,000 Won, SGD32.39), Paris Chicken Platter (Medium 20,900 Won, SGD25.07 / Large 28,000 Won, SGD$ 33.59), Urban Churrasco Triple (33,000 Won, SGD39.59) and the Chicken Party Wawa (53,500 Won, SGD64.18).
You can also try the Jamaican Grilled Whole Leg Set (7,900 Won, SGD9.48) or the Korean Charbroiled Set (8,900 Won, SGD10.68).
The use of the olive oil created this unique fresh flavour, and clean after taste. The skin was crisp, enough after all long while, and didn’t have that greasy after-taste. BBQ Olive Chicken (Cheonggyecheon, Seoul)
52-18, Myeong-dong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Mom’s Touch which set up its first store in 2004 in South Korean, currently has over 1200 stores, including an overseas outlet in Singapore.
The brand name comes from the thought of how a mother prepares a heart-warming meal for the family.
Good news for individual diners. While most Fried Chicken brands in South Korea serve big family and group portions, Mom’s Touch is almost like a fast-food concept with smaller sets available. They also offer burgers and fries.
The chicken is known to be hand-battered and hand-breaded in the kitchen and marinated with a special blend of seasoning for a fuller, tender and juicier taste.
Other than the Original Fried Chicken, there are sauced versions such as Fried Chicken with soy sauce, Sichuan sauce, chipao, flake garlic, and flake hot.
While I enjoyed the sweet-savoury soy sauce, I thought that the chicken parts given were rather bony and not as juicy as expected.