When I was little, I was not a fan of having a babysitter. However, there was a twist-on some of those nights my father would pick up a bucket of, yes, KFC. While I haven't been near one in a good 25 years, I can still smell that mixture of fat, spices and chicken. So, when I heard about the Korean fried chicken chain, Bon Chon, I couldn't wait to try it. But the original Bon Chon closed. Then it reopened, and, on a recent night, my friend Kiersten and I went to see what it was about. Our waitress helped to steer us to a range of tastes and by the end we were full and content.
"Rice Cake Skewars": First, ignore the menu. They list these as "deep fried rice cakes." In fact, what you get are chewy, pillowy Korean rice cakes that are actually pan-seared. Served on skewars, they resemble savory toasted marshmallows with a sweet, warm sauce. If you enjoy Dok Boki (also known as Tteokbokki), you will love these.
Corn Butter-We tried this based on a positive review from the Boston Globe. That being said, we were both a bit hesitant about a mixture of corn, crabmeat, tobiko and cheese. After a few bites, we both grinned happily at this ridiculously good comfort food. Think sweet, warm, nutty, yummy.
Pork Belly Shiyaki-This was fine. It consisted of thin slices of pork, served on a garlicy sauce with scallions. It was served lukewarm and just wasn't as memorable as the other dishes.
And, of course, the chicken, pictured at the top of the post. You can get strips (really huge slices of white meat chicken), wings (as in wings and drumettes) or drumsticks. You also get to choose between soy garlic and spicy. I loved both versions as the meat was juicy and the skin was crispy and flavorful. The spicy version is not only hot, but it is the subtle kind of heat that kicks in after a few minutes. The pickled daikon radish and thick cole slaw helped to temper the heat. The soy garlic version was just as tasty.
The place is friendly, inexpensive and the menu has enough variety to bring us back. Though, truth be told, we may just return for the chicken and corn!
Bon Chon, 123 Brighton Ave, Boston/Allston; 617-254-8888