Koreans love KFC…no we are not talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken but rather Korean Fried Chicken. Those that are looking to visit South Korea must try Korea’s Chicken and beer. The most popular way to eat Korean fried chicken is with a sweet and spicy coating called “yangnyum”. When visiting Korea, you will be able to find a fried chicken restaurant on any major block. While there are hundreds of mom-and-pop chicken shops, we have only focused on the best Korean Fried Chicken Brands. These chains are popping up all across Korea because of the low initial investment and overhead cost.
When eating Fried Chicken in Korea, you must eat it with beer (Chi-Maek). The Chicken and beer craze has now been around for over 30 years. Korean fried chicken has a more papery and less crumbly coating which goes perfectly with Korea’s light beer. Therefore, those that don’t like their chicken marinated with sweet and spicy sauce can just get a plain fried chicken. Below is our list of the Best Korean Fried Chicken Brands. We will continue to add to the list as we “review” more fried chicken places in Seoul. Moreover, let us know if there is one that we should try next! Enjoy.
The most popular and the best Fried Chicken in Korea is BBQ. It is the most advertised Fried Chicken brand for a reason. If you attend a baseball game in Korea, you will most likely eat BBQ chicken. BBQ is the largest Korean fried chicken chain. They have been around since 1995 and when most people think of Korean Fried Chicken, they think of BBQ. It became very popular due to it being showcased on Gong Yoo’s 2016 Korean drama Goblin. In addition, all of BBQ’s chicken is prepared with 100% extra virgin olive oil. They are known for their super crispy chicken skin which is the result of a 2-day prep process that includes marination, battering, breading, and frying. We recommend the Paris Chicken Platter for a group or the Jamaican Grilled Whole Leg Set for an individual.
BHC was put on the map by Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun. They are the second most popular Korean fried chicken restaurant behind BBQ. Their most popular chicken is their Sweet Garlic Soy Sauce Chicken. However, while the chicken is delicious we are not a huge fan of the seasoning powder that is sprinkled on the fried chicken. There are now over 1,000 BHC locations across South Korea.
Sales per year: $368 million
By far one of my personal favorites Korean Fried Chicken Brands in Seoul is KyoChon and it is not even close. However, I am huge on the saltiness factor. The Kyochon Red Wing is to die for, or for those who like a sweeter chicken, we would recommend the Kyochon Honey. Lee Min Ho is the brand’s ambassador. Furthermore, the reason why this brand is considered the best is that it is not as greasy as the other brands. Therefore it feels lighter while also maintaining that delicious flavor. Their chicken is always hand-cut and prepared fresh upon ordering. In addition, their chicken is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Currently, there are over 1,200 locations across South Korea and more than 30 international locations. The company plans to open 500 additional stores in 25 countries by 2025.
Sales per year: $395 million
NeNe Chicken became famous for its take-out boxes. It is very similar to a pizza box but inside had everything you need to go along with the chicken such as pickled radish and a place for your drink. Furthermore, they have the most famous Korean comedian as their spokesperson in Yoo Jae-seok. We recommend you try the Green Onion Chicken which is regular fried chicken topped with green onions. Somehow it works! The brand has been around in Korea for over 20 years and they have over 1,000 locations across South Korea.
Puradak chicken is the best-Fried chicken brand in Busan. It is a combination of Kyochon Chicken and roasted chicken. We would recommend their carbonara-style fried chicken which is their most popular item. Or the General Hot Wings Combo. Moreover, it has one of the more interesting packagings for a fried chicken brand, very similar to the luxury brand PRADA.
Pelicana is the oldest Korean Fried Chicken brand by far. Their first opened way back in 1982 and they are the originators of the sweet and spicy sauce Korean fried chicken sauce. Therefore, so those that like the sweet and spicy sauced fried chicken, Pelicana is the place to go. It will not be hard to find a Pelicana near you as they have over 2,000 locations across South Korea.
This is a great place to drink with co-workers. The menu at Kkanbu Chicken is very vast and sells all kinds of chicken flavors such as Garlic Soy, Spicy Soy, and Green Onion just to name a few. They offer boneless chicken, chicken tenders, and wings. However, we recommend you stick with the Crispy Chicken and get the sauces on the side.
Two Two Chicken
Two Two Chicken is very popular in Seoul because it has been around for over 30 years. They are known for their special frying pressure machines, batter, and secret sauce. Moreover, their chicken is a bit slimmer than other brands but that is because they are not factory-raised. Those that like thinner skin will love this chicken. Two Two Chicken locations are not easy to find as there are a little over 100 locations in Seoul.
It is estimated that South Koreans eat $6.8 billion worth of fried chicken a year. It has increased during COVI-19 as families started to order food online more than previous years.