Korean-style fried chicken? Sounds like some new culinary fad (salted caramel, anyone?)
But after success in the home country, it is gaining popularity in the U.S. as an alternative to the Kentucky Fried and Popeye’s variety.
The Bon Chon Chicken franchise has in recent years help spread the popularity of Korean-style fried chicken in America with restaurants in several states, including New Jersey. The Jersey City Reporter recently paid a visit to the fourth Bon Chon restaurant to open in the state, on Newark Avenue in Jersey City.
Diners coming into Jersey City’s Bon Chon will find a rather unique experience awaits them.
Korean-style fried chicken, for the uninitiated, is prepared in a manner that is quite a departure from how fried chicken is normally prepared. American-style fried chicken has a thicker crust because the chicken pieces are usually soaked in a buttermilk batter before frying.
The dinner ended with a serving of vegetable dumplings (6 pcs. for $4.99), a fave of this visitor.
Good things come in small packages
This reporter recently stopped by the Bon Chon in downtown Jersey City, owned by Fort Lee businessman Harold Kim. The fluorescent lit exterior includes a wide window showing off the inside. Walking in, you find a combination fast-food joint, diner and cafeteria. At the counter you can decide whether to put in an order for takeout or to sit down and eat at one of the stainless steel tables and chair sets.
We were greeted by Soie Lu, Jersey City’s Bon Chon spokesperson. First, she brought out the drumsticks, three with soy garlic seasoning and three “hot and spicy.” Three pieces for $6.99 may seem a bit pricey for portions that are small enough to resemble finger food but they were tasty and non-greasy and well worth the advertised price. Bon Chon also offers drumstick orders in five pieces ($10.99) and 10 pieces ($19.99).
For a party rather than a solo dining experience, try the 50-piece bucket (wings or boneless strips only) for $44.99 or 100 pieces for $84.99, depending on how many hungry friends you need to feed.
Side orders on the menu include Kimchee, the traditional Korean coleslaw dish, and steamed rice ($1.99 each) which were health-conscious additions to the meat portion.
The BC chicken wrap ($3.99 or two for $6.99) is strips of chicken breast folded into a soft wrap with kimchee coleshaw and “special sauce,” made from a secret recipe, which is the main reason why the wrap is melt-in-the-mouth good. Bon Chon also offers a Korean BBQ Wrap that comes with “Bul-Go-Gi” beef (also $3.99).
Finish off your meal with a serving of vegetable dumplings (6 pcs. $4.99), a fave of ours because it was so filling without overdoing it, and provided a great culinary counterbalance to the chicken wrap and the other meat dishes. The dumplings also come in shrimp ($5.99) or beef ($4.99).
Other selections we didn’t sample but which looked worth trying on our next visit included the BC Asian Salad ($6.99), sweet potato chips ($3.99) and double chocolate cake ($5.99).
Come on, it’s Bon Chon
Bon Chon Chicken is located at 172 Newark Ave. near the intersection with Bay Street. Their hours are daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. $15 minimum order for delivery, which is available to downtown Jersey City, Journal Square, Newport and Hoboken. Phone number is (201) 985-1212.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.