Friday, June 19, 2015

Bonchon in Arlington, VA

I love me some good fried chicken. Salt + crunch + fat + protein (that means it's healthy, right?). What else more do you really need in life? Answer: cookies, a pint of ice cream or two, chocolate. Did you really think I would say nothing?

Now Colonel Sanders can argue with me all he wants, but I strongly believe that KFC should really stand for Korean fried chicken. It's pieces of double-fried wings and drumsticks with a remarkably thin yet crisp skin that holds up its insane crunch factor under a messy, saucy, sweet + spicy gochujjang-based glaze. 

With DMV locations in Fairfax, Annandale, the Navy Yard, Arlington, and Rockville (not to mention other states and internationally), Bonchon makes KFC incredibly accessible for the DC food lover. Fun fact: my university has a bus that stops right in front of the Arlington location. My friends and I have dubbed it the Bonchon-bus.

Ddukbokki // 12
Now the ddukbokki was more of an appetizer than anything else and since none of my dining companions had tried it before, I insisted that we order a plate. It's a bit more expensive than what you would ordinarily pay for a platter of chewy rice cakes and fish cake drowned in a blood red sweet-and-spicy sauce, but they all loved it and hey, this girl hasn't had ddukbokki in months so I was happy. If you're short on money or mouths though, I'd skip it.

Medium wings + legs // 12.5

Now we're getting into the good stuff! If you're super hungry, plan ahead and order before you arrive because trying these monsters takes 20-30 minutes. And you're not getting those little drumlets either - Bonchon is known for their massive pieces of chicken and each "drum" is actually a whole drumstick. One drum and two wings (plus all of the complementary pickled daikon since no one else wanted them - more for me!) and I was full. This is coming from someone who can inhale 20 wings without batting an eyelash.

You can order the wings spicy, soy garlic, or a mix of the two. Between the five of us, we got a medium combo just spicy and then opted for a small set of drums in soy garlic. If you can't handle heat extremely well, I'd say steer clear of the spicy! It may look innocent enough but that stuff packs a major punch. I've noticed that Bonchon's sauce is more of a thin, watery coating (though the chicken is still fabulously crispy) while the Korean fried chicken I'm used to eating at home has a thicker, glossier glaze. I'd prefer the glaze, but nonetheless, Bonchon's rendition is pretty darn tasty.

I've eaten at other locations in Fairfax and Annandale as well and have noticed that the menu and pricing does change from location to location. Annandale offers additional things like takoyaki and bibimbap while Fairfax has katsu entrees, all of which are absent on the Arlington menu.

But for some KFC? Bonchon is not a bad choice.

Korean | $$
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2201 N. Pershing Dr. Suite E
Arlington,VA, 22201