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Jul 2, 2012 12:54 PM

San Francisco Dish of the Month July 2012: Asian Fried Chicken

This is the thread for the first San Francisco Bay Area Dish of the Month. This month the focus is Asian Fried Chicken.

As a few hounds have correctly pointed out, this is more of a "dish category" than a specific dish, since it might include any number of Asian fried chicken dishes: Japanese kara-age, Korean fried chicken, Indonesian ayam goreng, etc.

The goal is to collectively try as many versions of Asian fried chicken as possible during the month of July! So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos of the best Asian fried chicken you can find!

Link to the July voting thread:

Link to the July nomination thread:

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  1. Has anyone spotted inchee kabin in the Bay Area? There's a recipe for this Malaysian fried chicken dish in Anya Von Bremzen's "Terrific Pacific Cookbook" that's delicious, but the preparation is laborious enough to make it worthwhile to seek outside the home. Her recipe involves marinating the chicken for two days in in curry powder, soy sauce, ginger juice, and coconut milk, drying it, coating in all-purpose and rice flour and then deep frying.

    Until that happens... I embarked on my first fried chicken dish tonight: the karaage chicken at Himawari in San Mateo. I'm not sure I've ever had or ever will have karaage chicken that I'll enjoy ... the flavor and consistency of this dish just isn't my thing. My personal preferences aside, they do a pretty good job. The pieces were all dark meat and very juicy. I'd rate the flavor of the chicken higher than most karaage I've had before and the consistency less leathery than is typical.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      Wonderful boneless fried chicken bahn mi at newish Cafe Bunn Mi, Clement between 5th and 6th Ave,

      1. re: hyperbowler

        Inche kabin is a Penang-Nyonya dish - very diificult to find even in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur (which are relatively close to Penang), let alone SF Bay Area. I'd never seen it in the Bay Area nor anywhere in the US.

        1. re: klyeoh

          That's a real shame. Even using low quality chicken, Von Bremzen's recipe easily bests 98% of the fried chicken in the Bay Area. A local food truck would make bank with this stuff--- I could only imagine how awesome this dish must be in Penang.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            I hope you don't think Anya von Bremzen is the authority on Nyonya cuisine Inche Kabin. I had no idea who she was until I googled the name - ah, a Russian woman.

            1. re: huiray

              Oh yeah, I wasn't suggesting she's an authority, just the author of a book with a single recipe for the dish. If you know of recipes from someone who is an authority, I'd gladly test it out and post it on the Home Cooking boards!

      2. I made it to Indo Cafe in Saratoga on Tuesday, and had some great Indonesian fried chicken. Here's a link to my full post:

        And here's the paragraph about the fried chicken (ayam goreng kuning):

        "The fried chicken is ayam goreng kuning (yellow fried chicken), and it's slow cooked in liquid ahead of time, and refrigerated....then fried in a small deep-fryer when you order The skin was crispy, meat was tender (they only had thigh pieces), and had a slight flavor of coconut and some spices. Awesome."

        I posted a picture in the other post, too.

        This place was a great find, and I only went because of this project. Looking forward to see what other great versions of fried chicken we can discover!

        Dave MP

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave MP

          I'm re-posting my picture here, so the various fried chicken pictures all appear in this thread!

        2. I had the Korean Fried Chicken at FUSEBox in West Oakland and was really impressed. The skin was shatteringly crisp, like I like it and the sauce was a good balance. It was not as sweet and gloopy as sauces I've had in the past, though it isn't very spicy either. I'd prefer a spicier option, but maybe the low spice let the other umami and possibly smoky flavors show through better. I'll definitely be back.

          1 Reply
          1. re:

            2nd on shatteringly crispy skin at FUSEBox. perfectly cooked and juicy.

            listed on the menu as "Spicy", like tm's, these were not spicy at all.

            very friendly service, though the smiling young waitress nodded and said yes when i asked whether my delivered main dish was pork belly. nope.

          2. I've had the unsauced deep fried chicken and the soy sauce deep fried chicken at OB Town, Korean Chicken Bistro, before and not been all that impressed. I decided to give them another shot, this time going the saucy route.

            The number 9, the Yang Nyum chicken, was really good. It consisted of a mix of bone-in and boneless pieces of chicken, each of which was covered in a fairly chunky batter and a sweet and spicy sauce. The meat is very tender and juicy, but between the batter and sauce, don't expect to taste the meat itself. I prefer the more complex sauce and satisfying crunch of the KFC at Da Sung Sa, but OB's superior service and atmosphere make it a nice late night option.

            Apparently the #9 uses a mixture of the extra spicy sauce used for #11 and the soy garlic sauce of the #12 Gan Jang chicken. I'd be curious to see how the full force #11 would taste.

            1. PSA: Today, July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.

              Also International Kissing Day, so go smooch some fried chicken.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                National Fried Chicken Day overlaps with the Dish of the Month theme? That's a funny coincidence. I suspect fowl play.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  smooching a hot chick will get you blisters.

                  1. re: shanghaikid

                    Spoken with the voice of experience, sounds like. :)

                    So which hot chick did you smooch for this month's project?