85 Elizabeth St, Brisbane (Downstairs)
A few weeks back, a friend told me there was a new Korean fried chicken restaurant in the city. Fried chicken... like... as in, all they sell is fried chicken.
Oh, sure there are about 5 other things (kim chi, um... sweet potato chips)... but MOSTLY what they work is chicken.
At Hello! KyoChon, you have to buy a WHOLE chicken because there are no small portions. A whole fried chicken is $30 but you can chose to have different flavors. The flavors are: normal fried chicken, garlic soy, sweet and sour or hot (spicy) version of the garlic soy or sweet and sour.
Even though this is kind of restrictive and you wouldn't dare to walk in without a huge appetite or a pose of people to help you eat, I was oddly interested by the idea of a whole fried chicken. Mental images of mountains of chicken and crispy bits flashed in my head. So tempting - I had to go check it out.
Walking down the stairs, my first impression of Hello! KyoChon was that it looked a lot like a tutoring/studying room. It's brightly lit with widely spaced plastic tables and chairs. I think there's karaoke down the corridor too. The staff and most of the clientele are Korean so you feel a bit out of place speaking English but the waitress that served us was so sweet and lovely.
We chose 1/2 hot garlic soy and 1/2 hot sweet and sour. The wait is 20min so I went out and bought some bubble tea (I asked first and you're allowed to BYO bubble tea).
When I got back, there were plates of appetizers on the table: a potato mash, picked radish and corn. It was nice to munch on while we were waiting.
When the plates of chicken arrived, I was relieved (also a tiny bit disappointed) to see it wasn't an actual whole chicken on a stake. Rather, the chicken is chopped up into 2 plates of bite-sized pieces. One plate for each flavor we chose.
I picked at the hot garlic soy chicken first. It was very crisp and crunchy and the chicken was perfectly cooked throughout. Lovely flavor too - a bit spicy but not so much that I couldn't take it. There's a metal bowl to dump the bones and really thick moist-wipes. We even got a lesson on how to eat the chicken with 2 forks (which I promptly ignored by using my hands).
The hot sweet and sour chicken was saucy and had some crushed peanuts on top. It's REALLY spicy. I couldn't eat more than 1 piece. Charlie had been craving spicy food for weeks now so he happily attacked that plate. Even so, he couldn't finish it off... it was just too spicy and he finally proclaimed "well, I tried!" and started at the other plate... I think if you want something hot, this will hit the spot.
I personally preferred the garlic soy because a) I could actually eat it without feeling my taste buds disintegrating from chili and b) it had a crispier exterior since it wasn't drenched in sauce. I also thought the chicken from Hello! KyoChon was nicer than KFC because KFC skin can be really heavy and floury (and depending on which KFC you go to, even slightly undercooked). This chicken was obviously deep fried to a crisp but it didn't taste horribly oily and sickening.
The whole chicken was a bit much for the two of us - we ended up having a take-away box (lunch for tomorrow is sorted). I think one chicken between 3 is a good amount. If you're just after a snack, you could even share between 4 people.