For the past 8 years, there has been an influx of Korean tourists, and immigrants to the Philippines. Being a country that is known for our English Speaking skills there have been several ESL(English as a Second Language) centers established in different cities and towns all over the Philippines.
Eventually, these Koreans would move to the country due to the good climate, good people, and cheap standard of living. As with any citizen of the world, they bring their own culture, food, and language to our country. Two of the most popular things that have won the hearts of the local Filipino is their drama series and their beloved Korean fried chicken.
What is the difference of Korean fried chicken?
The main difference of American-style fried chicken and Korean style fried chicken is the crust. The American Style fried chicken relies on a think well-seasoned crust that is dipped into a batter of buttermilk, that is evenly browned, just like KFC.
For Korean-style fried chicken, they use an Asian frying technique that renders out the fat in the skin, transforming it into a thin, crackly and almost transparent crust. The chicken is unseasoned, barely dredged in very fine flour and then dipped in a thin batter before going into the fryer. The oil temperature is a relatively low 350 degrees, and the chicken is cooked in two separate stages.
Koreans cook their chicken is two stages:
They lightly flour the chicken then dip into the fryer in low heat at 350 degrees. After 10 minutes, the chicken is removed from the oil, shaken vigorously then allowed to cool for 2 minutes. This slows the cooking process and helps in not burn the chicken skin.
They put back the chicken into the fryer, where the chicken is not smooth, and golden brown. It is then seasoned or lightly painted with a sweet or spicy Korean glaze. When done correctly, the sauce is absorbed adding flavor without making it soggy.
Koreans double fry their chicken to create that layer of crispiness and crustiness that the usual American buttermilk chicken usually has.
The first Korean Fried Chicken we had available here in Manila was Bonchon, Chicken and Beer, and Kyochon. Now, we have a new concept brought about by local celebrity Grace Lee.
Kko Koo: Home of the Seoul Chicken
The interior of the restaurant is very bright and vibrant, a mix of industrial chic, with a rustic wooden touch. They have very night ceilings and nice fixtures. Walls are partly grass, wood, and steel. They also have an area of the main dining area with polaroids with customer comments and feedback.
Once seated, you notice that they have quite an extensive menu compared to most Korean Fried Chicken restaurants. We opted to order the Chicken Cheese Fondue so that we can try their most popular combination. It comes with onion rings, flavored fries, boneless chicken and a cheese sauce.
Like any Korean restaurant, they served us 3 kinds of appetizers: Kimchi, Sweet daikon, and pickled daikon.
After ten minutes, we saw this overwhelming plate of cheese, chicken, fries, and onion rings. We opted to have spicy flavored french fries and the oh my garlic sauce on our boneless chicken. The presentation was very picturesque.
Since there are a lot of elements in this dish let’s break it down:
Boneless Chicken with Oh my Garlic sauce
The first thing I noticed was that the chicken was very soggy, the chicken pieces were drenched in the sweet garlic sauce. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste any garlic in the sauce. It seemed to be a sweet soy based sauce with a bit of sesame taste. The meat itself was bland. The sweet glaze overpowered the flavor of the chicken.
When dipped into the cheese sauce, it works in contrast to the chicken but still not really enhancing the flavor.
Spicy French Fries
I love flavored french fries, unfortunately, this was too much. The spicy powder tasted like spicy ramen power on top of the fries. Each fry was perfectly coated and covered with the powder. It was so overpowering, perhaps a different flavor would have been better. The cheese would make the taste milder.
The onion rings were thickly coated and cooked well. The thin strip of onion inside was forgettable. This part of the dish was very good with the cheese sauce.
Their cheese sauce is served in a bowl of bread. The bread was hard on the outside and inside, it served as more of a container rather than for consumption. The sauce is composed of Cheddar, Quickmelt, Parmesan and topped with Mozzarella. The different kinds of cheese were mild and a bit sharp. The combination of the different kinds of cheese was quite addicting. This was my favorite part of the entire dish.
The cheese sauce was very gooey and terribly addicting. I hoped that we could eat the bread with the cheese though. I kept trying to get part of the bread but it was hard as a rock.
Despite the Korean Fried Chicken hype we are currently experiencing in the country, I don’t think Kko Kko delivers in terms of value for money, and taste. When I bite into my fried chicken I want to hear the crunch and the bursting flavors that come from the meat and the skin. Even their sauce was too sweet for my liking and made the chicken skin soggy. It was a very decent attempt, however, to combine these different elements in a single dish. The best part of the dish was the lone cheese sauce, everything else was nothing special. Their core product is supposedly fried chicken and they shouldn’t be serving a mediocre dish. Everything is overwhelmingly tasty to a fault. Overly hyped by these local food sites that does’t even guarantee the value and taste of they are endorsing to us, consumers.
Kko Kko is like a finding an interesting looking drama, reading the synopsis and proceeding to binge watch only to find out in the first few episodes that it’s poorly written and boring. I don’t think I’ll be back, but I do hope they improve their menu offerings.
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Kko Kko: Home of the Seoul Chicken
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