"To me there are two different kinds of Korean fried chicken. First there’s tongdak, which is the original fried chicken. It’s traditionally dredged in sweetly seasoned rice flour, but other than that it’s just plain fried chicken, served with radish pickles.
The newer version—the very, very crisp double-fried wings, often lacquered in some kind of sauce—started to proliferate in Seoul in the early nineties. Back then I’d go to Korea every summer, and on one trip my grandmother—who did not speak a lick of English—asked me if I wanted to go get some “chik-kin,” because it was the cool new thing. Now it’s spread around the world with chains like Bonchon and Kyo-Chon. As “Korean” as it is, to me, it’s really a product of fusion. It’s the combination of two Asian cultures—Korean flavors and Chinese cooking technique.
The multistep process-—cooking the wings, cooling them, then frying them in hot oil—is certainly something you find in Chinese cooking. One of the most exceptional chicken wings I’ve ever had was at Celebrity Cuisine in Hong Kong, where they cooked the wings, cooled them, stuffed them with bird’s nest, and then deep-fried them. All the moisture trying to escape the bird’s nest puffed up like crazy, and the skin crisped like Peking duck in the deep-fryer."I think I know what I'll be ordering for dinner tonight after work.