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Korean Style Fried Chicken?

Are there any suggestions for places that serve fried chicken in korean style?

Forgive me for not being 'in the know' about these things. I'm asking on behalf of a coworker.

Any feedback on Trendy Bean Cafe in Santa Clara?

I'm specifically looking for food in San Francisco FiDi (Financial District ) area or the Sunnyvale/Mountain View/Peninsula area.

Trendy Bean Cafe
1054 Kiely Blvd, Santa Clara, CA

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  1. Have you tried San Tung? They also have some at Umasan. I haven't been there yet but I've been meaning to try 99 Chicken in santa clara.

    1. Coco Ban is divey Korean joint with a blade runner esque feel -- the fried chicken is rather good -- spicey -- and tasty -- the soju drink are typically over sweet like teenage girls tend to drink. Don't get the corn appetizer -- cold canned corn with something conisdered cheese. ONe time they served warm beer. Very nice. Coco Ban is a drinking establishment that serves good Korean bites -- so if that's what you are into check it out..

      3 Replies
      1. re: pointthemoon

        Are you talking about Coco Bang on Taylor in the TL? I enjoyed the dukbokki very much, they made it with jap chae, which was a surprisingly good combination. But even better was the savory sauce it was served with, not your average sweetened gochu jang.

        I ordered the regular fried chicken (half) which came in pieces of chicken rather than intact. I guess I was expecting "tong-dak". I didn't really like the heavy batter though.

        How's the "fire chicken", their specialty?

        550 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1. re: DezzerSF

          yup that's the place -- forgot the address...

        2. re: pointthemoon

          I went to Cocobang when they opened a couple of years ago and was lukewarm. My out-of-date post is here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/308707

          Another option is Shin Toe Bul Yi, in the Outer Sunset. It is also known as Chick'n'Deli and specializes in Korean fried chicken wings. Their wings are unsauced, with a crispy batter, and come with pickled daikon radish cubes. If that's the style of Korean fried chicken you want, check them out.

          Shin Toe Bul Yi
          2001 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

        3. Only Korean I've heard of in the FiDi is the Sorabol stand in Rincon Center.

          Best Korean fried chicken I've had in SF:

          3814 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

          7 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Wow, the infamous restaurant in a "garage". What else do you like there?

            1. re: DezzerSF

              The soju and beer are good. Feels more like a bar than a restaurant. 6pm to 2am.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                There's also Korean food at John's Snack and Deli on Battery St.


                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  XY - Thanks for mentioning John's Snack & Deli. I've enjoyed many Korean lunches from this tiny place. Min, the owner, is great and his mom is often there with him making kim bap and other dishes for the lunch rush. Also, if you're really craving a particular dish, Min will sometimes talk his mom into making it for you. Homemade Korean food in the FiDi - fabulous.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Any thoughts on how these places compare to the much hyped NY Korean Fried chicken places like Bon Chon?

                  1. re: iwantmytwodollars

                    Bon Chon is actually a Korean mega-chain. They have at least one branch in LA, AFAIK

                3. 99 Chicken in Santa Clara is really good. I've only had the spicy sauce version, not the regular. They fry it much longer than "normal" fried chicken - takes about 20 mins after you order. So, it's crispier and has almost not fat under the skin. But the meat is moist. It's good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Hoss

                    I've been to 99 Chicken a few times and really like their regular version (I've tried all the versions since we usually go with a big group), but only if you put that 'special spice' (most likely MSG) on it. I find the spicy sauce version to be too saucy -- you lose most of the crispy skin which is what makes it so good. The wings are also good there.

                    However a friend says there's a really good Korean roasted chicken place (can't remember the name now) nearby in Santa Clara that's better than 99 Chicken. Haven't tried it though. It may be a tip for the poster later on who asked.

                    1. re: PekoePeony

                      I think the place near 99 chicken may be Hwa Gae Jang Tu. Any reports?

                      1. re: DezzerSF

                        Just stopped by 99chicken for takeout... They quote the wait time as 15 minutes, but it is indeed more like 20-25 minutes.

                        Quality is pretty good for my limited experience...

                      2. re: PekoePeony

                        Do you mean Tutti Cafe & Grill, same side of El Camino about 1/2 mile down?

                        Tutti's Cafe and Grill
                        3075 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA

                      3. re: Hoss

                        I'll second (or is that third) the 99 Chicken rec - it's really good. Just be prepared to wait 20-25 minutes for your chicken after you've waited for your table. But it is worth it -moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, light coating, hardly any grease. BTW - they only serve legs and wings, if that matters to you. We usually get the spicy sauce on the side as opposed to on the chicken so we avoid it getting soggy...

                      4. While we're on the topic, does anyone know where to get good Korean style whole roasted/fried chicken aka Tong dak?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DezzerSF

                          I saw a good-looking version go by at Dan Sung Sa in Oakland. We had already ordered too much so put that on the list for next visit.

                          1. re: DezzerSF

                            Tutti's Cafe and Grill
                            3075 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA

                          2. In April I stopped by here to try the frozen yogurt, and ended up getting dinner. Prices seemed a bit high to me for counter service, but the food was generally good. I especially liked the fish cake soup, even though we had a misunderstanding about the price. Not had this dish anywhere before, and I thought the various shapes of fish cake and arrangement on the skewers looked nice as well as tasting good.

                            Fish cake soup

                            I was excited to try korean style fried chicken, but I wasn't so thrilled with the version here. I ordered it half with sauce and half plain, think it was something like $15 for seven or so drumsticks. These were slashed to the bone which makes them cook more evenly, but that also made them hard and dried out in places. I love juicy fried chicken right out of the fryer, and this isn't it.

                            Half-half order of plain-sauced fried chicken

                            Finally to the frozen yogurt . . . here it only comes one size and one way topped with mochi balls, strawberries, kiwi fruit and macha. Good thing I liked it, but it was too much after eating anything else. The frozen yogurt is quite tart, a little icy, tastes like yogurt, and has a clean finish.

                            The whole shebang set me back $27, and I left with a heavy bag packed with more than half my food.

                            Frozen yogurt

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Melanie, you should definitely give Korean fried chicken another shot at someplace the specializes in it. The fried chicken in your photograph doesn't look like what I think most people mean by Korean fried chicken (i.e., Kyochon/Bon Chon style).

                              2. I've gone to both 99 Chicken and Chicken House (in Berkeley/Oakland), and I have to say that Chicken House takes the cake. 99 Chicken paled in comparison. The chicken at Chicken Town is so much crispier, and the fried spicy chicken is MUCH spicier (which I love).

                                99 Chicken
                                2781 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                                Oriental B.B.Q. Chicken Town
                                6101 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: meloncollie

                                  I was not very impressed with the barbecued chicken at BBQ Chicken Town, but I had the feeling we ordered the wrong thing.


                                  1. re: meloncollie

                                    The Fire Chicken at 99 Chicken is their extra spicy chicken. It is really hot. 99 Chicken just has a lot of variability. First time=awesome. Second time=he cut a corner on cooking. I think he increased the temp of the oil so it cooked faster, but the chicken was slightly underdone (all the way cooked, but not fall off the bone). I'd prefer to wait the 20 minutes if it would always come out the same way, and I'd eat any of their chicken version. The Magic Shake of spice (MSG and black pepper) might have something to do with it.

                                    1. re: meloncollie

                                      I think O.B. Chicken Town is the best KFC in the Bay Area. I like 99 Chicken for just plain chicken, but if you're into the sauces, O.B. is much better. Playground in SF Japantown (above Denny's) does a pretty good KFC.

                                      The best I've had is still BonChon in NYC, with KyoChon in L.A. coming second. I haven't been the L.A. BonChon yet, but hope to rectify that soon.

                                      1. re: inuyaki

                                        Never heard of BonChon chicken but noticed it's a chain and there's one right here in Sunnyvale - has anyone ever been there and have an opinion/review?

                                        1. re: Bunson

                                          You might find this thread on BonChon helpful

                                          Bon Chon
                                          572 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

                                          1. re: Bunson

                                            I've had it in NYC. Not bad, but nothing special.

                                        2. re: meloncollie

                                          Oriental BBQ Chicken Town aka OB Town Korean Chicken Bistro is offering a happy hour deal, 50% off selected dishes, 5-7pm through May 15.


                                        3. Lol, I've never heard of Korean tongdak chicken referred to as "KFC" -- funny. I've only had the KFC at OB Town when it first opened, its former incarnation Koko House, and Dan Sung Sa. I didn't much care for OB Town and thought it was overpriced, but maybe it has gotten better. Dan Sung Sa is pretty good with lots of garlic, decent heat, nice glaze and crunch with the yang nyum (BBQ) version. Koko house was the best!

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: kimchee411

                                            Yes, Koko house tongdak was the best! You're referring to their whole fried chicken, correct? (Technically, rotisseried then fried, I think) I honestly cannot find an equivalent since most of the other places only serve pieces of fried chicken.

                                            1. re: DezzerSF

                                              Which dish is that on Dan Sung Sa's menu? I've seen people at other tables eating it, and keep trying to order it, but keep getting the wrong thing.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                I had it there in the latter half of last year and it must have been called either "whole fried chicken" or tong dak, cause you know more about this than I do, and I am sure I was thinking about one of these threads when I ordered it. Unless what I got was the thing that you keep getting and don't want.

                                                The thing I got was a whole deep-fried chicken, quite small almost Cornish hen sized, served with a dish of salt-and-pepper dip. It turned out a little dry.

                                                My understanding is that some places double-cook theirs in such a way that it turns out quite rich and moist, but this didn't seem quite like that.

                                                1. re: twocents

                                                  What we saw go by and want to get is what you're describing. What we got was cut-up and battered fried chicken. And then we ordered the same wrong thing again on the next visit!

                                                  1. re: twocents

                                                    Anytime you get something friend with a sauce that still seems crispy, it's double fried. It's the secret behind fried chicken with a glaze/sauce. If you do it right, it can hold up for over an hour...

                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    I actually haven't made it to Dan Sung Sa yet, but like twocents said, try asking for the whole chicken. But it sounds like it's not the version that's rotisseried first, then fried. I wonder if you can specify that there.

                                              2. I would say 99 Chicken for fried wings and legs; Corner Place (next to 99 Chicken) for whole poached Ginseng Chicken Soup (you need to order ahead for it, as it takes at least 2 hours to prepare it ); and Tutti's Cafe & Grill (but sign says Tutti's Korean Cuisine BBQ) for their whole rotisserie or fried chicken, they are 1/2 mile west on El Camino.

                                                99 Chicken
                                                2781 El Camino Real Santa Clara CA

                                                Corner Place Korean Restaurant / Gilmok
                                                2783 El Camino Real
                                                Santa Clara, CA 95051
                                                (408) 249-8990

                                                Tutti's Cafe and Grill
                                                3075 El Camino Real
                                                Santa Clara, CA 95051
                                                (408) 246-9292

                                                Tutti's Cafe and Grill
                                                3075 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: winodano

                                                  Here's my post on the fried whole chicken at Tutti's.

                                                  How are the wings?

                                                2. Not in FiDi but have you tried SO spicy Korean chicken wings? They're in SOMA across from Trader Joe's. I usually order chipotle sausage fried rice when I'm there.

                                                  1010 Bryant St.
                                                  (415) 552-7676

                                                  1. Red Wings on Geary in San Francisco. It's a Korean pub to which a lot of the USF students go. We got the chicken wings which were sauced and very good - not too sweet. They also have other styles of fried chicken on the menu but we didn't try them.

                                                    Red Wings
                                                    3015 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                    1. Had the best I've ever had at Fusebox in Oakland today. Super-crisp, not at all sweet, juicy. The chef's trick is painting the pieces with the rice-flour batter using a brush.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        how was the sauce? i loved the crisp skin, but it was described as "Spicy" on the menu and had no heat at all.

                                                        this was just a few weeks after opening.

                                                        1. re: drewskiSF

                                                          Also, did you get any sense of what's in the sauce?

                                                          1. re: hyperbowler

                                                            Gochujang? The sauce was spicy but there was only a little of it.

                                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          I had this yesterday and couldn't agree more. Wonderful!

                                                        3. Aria in Larkin. Was in another post as a hole in the wall but the chicken is real good.

                                                          1 Reply