Scoping out single-vessel culture in Los Angeles, America’s capital of laid-back food.
“Americans are kind of presumptuous to assume that we own fried chicken,” Roy Choi told the WSJ last year in a story about fried fowl. “It’s been done in Korea at least as long, and in China long before that.”
Los Angeles’s fried chicken landscape is indeed a diverse one: classic Southern, Indonesian, Chinese, and yes, Korean. You can find that last one at places like OB Bear, The Prince, Dan Sung Sa, and Kyochon, a South Korean chain that serves made-to-order, double-fried chicken wings known for their crispiness.
Kyochon also happens to serve a rice bowl with fried cubes of chicken tenders, the Sal Sal ($8.99), garnished with lettuce and tomato, though they seem like an afterthought. The cubes remind me of the popcorn variety you get at KFC, albeit with better batter, thick, expertly crisped, and coated with crunchy rice bits. They’re addictive, sure, but only a single component of a meal that should be greater than its parts. Taken as a bowl, it lacks the verve, the pizazz, of other options around Los Angeles.
Kyochon Chicken [Koreatown]
3833 W. Sixth Street, Los Angeles; 213-739-9292
Bowl grade: B-
Photo from A Baked Creation