Tag Archives: chicken

2014 was a great year for chicken curry

Sure, it’s been around forever, but 2014 is the year chicken curry finally hit its stride. In a sort of quiet culinary coup d’état, chicken curry mounted what can only be described as gastronomic guerrilla warfare, catapulting itself from boring Indian restaurant mainstay to a perpetual flavor-of-the-week. People are finally getting excited about chicken curry, and rightfully so.


Seemingly overnight, the modest “chef’s special” menu standby has transitioned to a standout dish at Indian restaurants across the country. Gone are the days when your sister Jane would be the only one to order chicken curry. “Where are we going for dinner? Indian food? Come on, I don’t want to go out for Indian food. Can’t we go somewhere else? What’s wrong with Luigi’s? Ugh, fine, I guess I’ll just get that chicken dish, what’s it called? Yeah, curry, chicken curry, I guess I’ll just get chicken curry.”

And it’s not just Indian restaurants riding the swollen wave of chicken curried popularity. The past year saw a variety of establishments cash in on the versatility and easily adaptive nature of one of America’s favorite ethnic meals. Select TGI Fridays offered limited time chicken curry entrées as part of their “Two For Twenty” value menu, and a rogue McDonald’s franchised out of Spokane, Washington bucked the corporate kitchen by unveiling an east-meets-west McCurried Chicken Sandwich on its limited “Flavors of the World” sandwich of the month menu.

Probably the most dramatic sign of chicken curry’s inevitable western crossover can be seen in the results of 2014 Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” consumer vote-in potato chip flavor competition. While the snack-eating majority ultimately decided to give the starring role to Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, chicken curry came in third, which would have been unthinkable even five years ago. Just the idea that consumers would be willing to snack on curried flavored potato chips shows that chicken curry’s surge in popularity is much more than a passing trend.

I’m anxious to see how high chicken curry is going to climb in 2015. If I had money to invest, and there were some sort of a stock exchange where you could bet on foods, I’d without a doubt put all of my money on chicken curry. We’re at the chicken curry tipping point, much like the chicken parmesan tipping point twenty years ago. You can’t go anywhere without finding chicken parm on the menu. Even Subway does a chicken parm sandwich. Mark my words, chicken curry is on the exact same trajectory.

If you’re not a big fan of chicken curry, do yourself a favor and learn to like it. Because ten or twenty years from now, it’ll be all but unavoidable, completely saturated into all aspects of modern society. Kids are going to eat it served by school cafeterias. Hospitals will serve it to bedridden old people. “What’s for dinner?” won’t even be a question worth asking anymore, because chances are, the answer is going to be “chicken curry.”

I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s chicken curry, and I’m pumped.

BonChon Chicken

Sometime last year my wife started talking about this chicken place that she found out about with her sister. “It’s so good! You have to come with us! We can’t get enough of this chicken!” over and over again she’d tell me, every time she’d go out with her sister it was the same deal, “This chicken is the greatest!”


And it was annoying, seeing my wife and my sister-in-law this happy, over chicken. Watching them talk about their experience at this restaurant, I’d think to myself, I don’t ever get to that level of joy about anything in life, let alone fried chicken, and so I sank my heels in deep, determined not to let myself try the chicken, lest I start to believe that maybe this type of happiness might be real.

I was afraid, deep down, that I’d buy into whatever hype they’d bought into, and then after trying the chicken, I’d be naturally disappointed. I’d come back home with a stomach full of grease and I’d wonder, am I fully here? Is there something wrong with me, preventing me from enjoying what everyone else seems to be genuinely in love with?

Just let them get it out of their system, I figured, they’ll eat it to the point where they get sick of it and then we can all get back to our miserable, regular lives as usual. But the chicken fever, it wasn’t running its course. If anything, their love for this chicken place was growing deeper, stronger in intensity.

And try as I might to make them keep their chicken business to themselves, it got to the point where their occasional, “Rob, you really should try this chicken place,” snowballed into a daily, “Rob! I order you to try this chicken! Rob! I’m serious!” But like I said, I had already made up my mind. For better or for worse, I’m a stubborn guy, a real asshole, and so this went on for weeks, me, just trying to go about my life, attempting ever more unsuccessfully to evade this fried chicken propaganda.

One day I was getting off from work and my wife was like, “I’m getting off from work too. Let’s meet up and grab a bite to eat.” In a lapse of judgment, I agreed. She told me where we’d meet, but failed to mention the place. I showed up a little earlier than she did only to find that I’d been duped.

There it was, BonChon Chicken. I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming. It’s like, I don’t think my wife had eaten anything else besides BonChon Chicken for the past month, and here I was being guided to a restaurant of her choosing. Of course it was going to be BonChon Chicken. Had I really missed such an obvious trap? Or had a part of me started to cave? Somewhere from behind my active consciousness, was my brain maybe starting to at least wonder if any part of this hysteria might not in fact be true?

Reluctantly, I went inside and sat down at a table. BonChon? What kind of a place is this, Korean? I like Korean food, but I’ve never really made any sort of connection between kimchi and fried chicken. And that’s what the menu was all about. Legs, thighs, kimchi, scallion pancakes. Whatever, I was hungry and this place actually seemed pretty cool, that aroma wafting through the air …

Snap out of it Rob, I tried to ground myself back into my skeptical mind, let’s have a bite first, at least. I ordered the scallion pancake, some kimchi, and some assorted legs and thighs, some of them spicy, some of them garlic and soy sauce. “Ha!” I said to my wife after placing the order, “That’s not a fried chicken flavor!” But I just sounded like an idiot.

And I can admit that now, because as soon as I took that first bite, everything changed. I did a complete mental one-eighty. This was the best fried chicken I had ever had in my life. I’m not like a fried chicken connoisseur or anything, but I’ve eaten it elsewhere, I’ve made it in my own kitchen with varying degrees of success. Whatever, it’s fried chicken.

But BonChon is fried fucking chicken. It’s like, I have no idea how they do what they do with legs and thighs. Somehow the chicken winds up coming out of their kitchen almost too perfect in appearance. If you asked a professional artist to render the ideal fried chicken leg, he wouldn’t even come close to what BonChon is able to achieve.

The chicken skin is somehow not only fried to crispy perfection, but it balloons out slightly, absorbing whatever flavor it’s seasoned with, becoming one with the skin, and expanding just enough past the meat to where your first bite, it’s like crunchy skin, pause, then juicy meat. You know what I’m saying? When you have your standard fried chicken, the skin always kind of slides around on top of the meat, so when you start to dig in, you wind up swallowing most of it during those first two or three bites. But BonChon skin, it’s like its own entity, it’s almost structurally apart from the rest of the meat, ensuring that eat bite of chicken has at least a little bit of delicious, chewy, almost candy-like skin.

I’m a total convert. I wound up polishing off eight pieces on my first time. And every time my wife brings home a box, or I wind up sneaking away for more, I can’t help but finish every last morsel of meat from each bone. It’s almost crazy how good this chicken is. I like to brag about how much I can eat and all of the different foods that I’ve had, but BonChon is levels ahead of anywhere near where I’ve been before. I see that plate of chicken and it’s like I black out, like I get possessed by something inside, something primal, and the next thing I know I’m staring in disbelief at all of the bones that I’ve made short work of.

Go to BonChon Chicken. It’s a chain. There are several locations in New York. It’s usually crowded, so be prepared to wait. I hope this thing takes off and puts all other fried chicken places out of business. I hope that someday there is a BonChon on every corner. Hey President of South Korea, maybe it almost seems like too easy of a solution, but if all else fails with the whole North Korea stalemate, you might as well try some BonChon diplomacy. Fly them some chicken. Watch the Kim regime dissolve as they beg for more. It could happen, I really think it might work.