Tuesday, November 9, 2010

KFC FTW (or Korean Fried Chicken for the win)

by EP

During my third year of law school, I spent a LOT of time with my friend Nicole since we did our clinic together, and she was the first one to tell me about the magic of Korean fried chicken.  She went on and on about the flavor, the texture, the crispiness, the fact that it wasn't greasy at all, etc. and I was all ears (and there may have been a little drooling) until she told me I had to go to Annandale, VA to get it.  Harumph.  Annandale is FAR from Baltimore, about an hour and a quarter without traffic (and there's always traffic).

I looked for Korean fried chicken (KFC) in the Baltimore area, and found Rainpia (thanks to HowChow).  Rainpia is off of Rt. 40 (near the former Enchanted Forest) and I recently met the BCD parents there for dinner to try their KFC.

From the outside, Rainpia looks like a closed liquor store (shades drawn, lots of neon beer signs), but on the inside it was a casual place with a big communal table in the middle, and booths along the sides of the restaurant.


We ordered a "mixed" order of chicken, meaning half had no sauce (but was served with a powder for sprinkling), the other had a sweet sticky sauce.  The chicken was cut into pieces haphazardly (what I like to call Hong Kong duck style - take a cleaver to it and see what happens!).  We dug in and boy was it good!  The chicken was crunchy and crispy, and the sauced version had lots of flavor.  The chicken also was clearly right out of the fryer. 

I had heard that KFC took a long time, that you had to order it up to an hour in advance, but ours arrived in about 15-20 minutes, and we munched on snacks and kimchi while we were waiting, so we didn't really notice the time.

Snacks!  Loved the kimchi and the super-garlicky bean sprouts

We also ordered a kimchi pancake and some seafood noodle soup.  The kimchi pancake was really good (at first I didn't like it but it grew on me); the seafood soup was too fishy for my taste.

Kimchi pancake...it grows on you

Fish noodle soup

At the end of it, I was very impressed by Rainpia's KFC, and was pleased that I had found somewhere relatively close to the city to get it. 

Then I went to Bon Chon.

Bon Chon (the place in Annandale, VA) is actually a chain - they have restaurants in CA, MA, NJ, NY, and VA.  A few weeks ago, my friends Peter and Natatia got married at a vineyard in Virginia, so my buddies and I, in our wedding finery, stopped for some pre-wedding KFC.

Unlike Rainpia, we did have to order ahead - we called as we were leaving Baltimore, about an hour before our arrival in VA.  Again, we ordered the two flavors they offered: spicy and soy garlic, and they gave us a choice on the parts, so we got wings and legs. 

We arrived and our chicken was ready and waiting for us!  (We were running a little late so they called me to confirm we were coming - I told them "don't give our chicken away!")  Everyone else in the restaurant was eating chicken and only chicken - I don't even know if they sell anything else.


We sat in a cozy booth (again, I was in a dress, full make up and hair, about to eat fried chicken) and tucked into the beautiful plate of KFC before us.

Men of honor.  Who love chicken.

All dressed up for chicken!
It. was. ridiculous.  SO flavorful, crunchy, juicy, not greasy at all.  The breading was so light and crunchy, it mostly just enhanced the crispy skin rather than standing on its own (like southern-style fried chicken).  The soy garlic flavor was very good, but the spicy was absolutely addictive.  It had so much flavor other than the heat itself - it reminded me of sriracha, perhaps that was what they used?  We went to town on this chicken and I savored every bite.  This was, quite possibly, the best fried chicken I've ever had.

We then went to the wedding and I was so excited to tell Nicole that I had finally made it to Bon Chon.  I am completely hooked and currently trying to find an excuse to go back down to Annandale.  Anyone wanna roadtrip?

Me and Nicole (and Jenn) at the wedding


ps. Liking the new look and/or the steady stream of new and exciting content?  Then get your vote on and vote for BCD in the "Foodie" category of the Mobbies!  Vote every day until Nov. 12!


  1. Bon Chon fried chicken is my favorite. I drive down from Baltimore to eat there probably once every 6 weeks.
    Just to clarify, they use no breading. The secret is that they actually double fry the chicken- once at low temp to cook it, and then at high temp to render the skin into it's crispy form. They only use the sauce during the process. This is why it takes at least 30 minutes to cook.
    I would not call Rainpia KFC because I think they only single fry their chicken. It's just fried chicken. :P

  2. oh, good lord thank goodness you mentioned why you were in a dress at the end!

    Ladies, I haunt the blog all the time. I LOVE the new look but I have to say I read it mainly at work. The new logo does tend to bit higher profile shall we say. :P

  3. THe title cracked me up. Haha.! Fantastic eats you got. I love Bon Chon in NY, too! I missed it.


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