There are three food signs that always attract me: ribs, burgers and fried chicken. Whenever I see restaurants that offer any of these three dishes, it catches my attention and, more often than not, I am lured to drop in.
As a kid, my early memories of fried chicken are of Max’s on Scout Tuazon in Quezon City. It was such a tasty treat. Max’s fried chicken became one of our favorite comfort food.
Another fried chicken brand I crave for is Jollibee’s Chicken Joy. Whenever we have a family get-together, no matter what delicious food my cousins bring, I zero in on the Chicken Joy meant for the kids. (I guess, isip bata talaga ako.)
I also love the dark meat in KFC fried chicken. When I was a student in the United States, there were days when KFC would offer 10-cent wings, which my roommate Francis and I would pig out on.
I had always heard about the fried chicken of the South in the US. The only time I got to try a good one was in Memphis a few years ago—at Gus’s Fried Chicken. The lines were long but the wait was worth it. It was crispy, moist, succulent and needed no sauce. Fantastic-tasting fried chicken. We went to Gus’s twice. So delicious!
Another that became a hit in New York City was Bon Chon. Its crispy skin, moist meat and sweet and savory glaze caught on and pretty soon a franchise opened in the Philippines.
Today there are countless types of fried chicken all over the metro—some good, others disappointing.
Korean-style fried chicken
Sometime ago I was driving along Shaw Boulevard to Valle Verde Country Club where I play badminton. I passed by a new restaurant claiming to have very good-tasting chicken.
To brag like this takes guts and confidence. In no time, I was there to refute or bolster the claim.
Oppa Chicken is a Korean-style fried chicken with a variety of glaze coating the crispy skin and to flavor the meat. There are about five varieties of glaze I liked—the Yangnyum which is sweet and spicy, and the Ganjang or soy garlic.
The skin is very crispy with a slight sweetness and spice. The meat is moist. I agree—it’s good-tasting chicken.
I have been to Oppa three times.
You are given plastic gloves so you can eat the chicken with your hands without the mess.
Oppa has a healthier version which is also crispy but baked. I have yet to try it, though it looks interesting!
At my own restaurant, we have Wooden Spoon Crispy Chicken which is boneless and lightly tossed in sweet glaze. It has become one of our bestsellers.
I guess this type of fried chicken is here to stay. This version has become one of my favorites, too.
But I am still looking for a simple, crispy fried chicken, much like the one served at Gus’s in Memphis. Anyone who can make this could become an instant millionaire.
Happy Valentine’s to everyone. For a change, why not enjoy a bouquet of chicharon bulaklak!
Those who still want to join the Hiroshima/Fukuoka food tour in Japan can send me an e-mail: [email protected]
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