4.094 Original Soy-Garlic Chicken

Cycle 4 – Item 94

9 (Tue) April 2013

Original Soy-Garlic Chicken


from Kyochon

at home

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with the Family, Nanny 8

Kyochon is a Korean restaurant chain.  Founded in 1991, the company opened the 1000th branch/franchise in 2003, according to the website (that figure seems impossibly high for concurrently operating locations, making me think that it may merely represent the total number of branches/franchises that have existed at some time in the company’s history, which is still pretty impressive), including 7 in the US and 1 in China as of 2009 (for some reason, the timeline stops at 2009).  Their claim to fame is deep-fried chicken in the brand’s signature soy-garlic sauce.  At 16,000 won per bird, it’s a bit more than most.

I’ve had the Original Soy-Garlic Chicken from Kyochon on a handful of occasions through the years, and my impression has been the same in every case, including this evening.  The initial bite is mind-blowing, an intensely, perfectly balanced savory/sweet soy base enriched by a touch of garlic.  Though the description may evoke images of other Korean sauces, like a marinade for galbi, Kyochon’s soy-garlic sauce tastes like nothing else on the planet.  When I first tried it long ago, I thought, “This is what shooting heroine must be like.”  Each successive bite thereafter, however, provides diminishing returns, until eventually the experience starts getting a bit unpleasant.  A widely accepted theory is that the sauce contains so much MSG that it produces an explosive positive physiological reaction at the outset but quickly triggers a negative feedback mechanism to induce nausea.  The drug metaphor works here, too.  Indeed, W and I noticed that our tongues were tingling for hours afterwards, and IZ’s eczema flared up after just a couple little pieces, both common side effects to chemical flavor enhancers.  So, the chicken starts off as rating around 3.5 but ends up near 1.0, which I’ll average out to 2.5.  My advice: take a single bite and quit while you’re ahead.



Leave a Reply