If you've been jonesing for Korean fried chicken, you can now get it in Raleigh. If you've never had KFC, now is a great time to try it. Cafe Soo opened about 3 months ago on Hillsborough St. across from the bell tower a few doors over from Schoolkids Records.
The menu is Korean-Japanese. The Japanese selection is not surprising: tempura, udon, gyoza, teriyaki, and tonkatsu. Go for the Korean. First off, they have Korean fried chicken. If you've never had it before, this is what every chicken hopes to be. The chicken is double-fried, shatteringly crispy, hot, juicy, and coated in a sticky delicious napalm of a sauce. Cafe Soo offers 3 sauce choices; sweet, soy garlic, and hot & spicy. The soy garlic was on the very sweet side with a little kick of ginger. It's offered here in whole or half chicken and, in what I guess may be a concession to American eating habits, popcorn chicken and tenders. It's served with a side of pickled daikon, similar to the Vietnamese daikon served on bahn mi.
They also serve samgyupsal (grilled pork belly). If you're not Asian you may be asked if you know what you're ordering. Order it. The meat is served simply grilled, meant to be rolled in lettuce leaves with ssamjang, rice, and grilled garlic. There is a dipping sauce of sesame oil, salt, and pepper which cuts the heaviness of the fatty meat beautifully.
There are rice bowls which include galbi, bulgogi, tangsooyook (a Korean version of Chinese sweet and sour), and bimbimbap. They serve assorted ssams, including bossam, by special order. The even have hwedubbab (Korean sashimi salad).
The decor is minimal, to say the least. This is a quick serve, not fine dining. The couple who own the place are very friendly and concerned that you enjoy your meal. They moved here recently from Flushing and are still adjusting to the different pace of life here.
If you're familiar with the Bon Chon or Kyo Chon chains, the chicken here is a little different but still quite good. If you live close enough to do take-out this is the perfect food for the game. All in all, a welcome addition to the local scene.
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