Tag Archives: Korean

Quikskoop™: 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken – Singapore

Turns out that the original American-style fried chicken became the true winner in Jakarta. Back then, there’s a sharp competition between BonChon and 4 Fingers but seems to me that both have run out of energy. The latter even decided to pull out of Jakarta completely, leaving only Medan to fend off itself in Indonesia’s savage competition in food industry.

Then came KyoChon with all its mighty weaponry as the biggest business in South Korea and its trendy presentation of K-Pop stars to always please its customers. This one is strong in the Force but there’s no telling how long Korean-style fried chicken will actually last the competition. I am hoping sincerely that it will be long enough.

Ignoring the whole fuss about industry analysis for now, let’s take a look at 4 Fingers in its own homeland Singapore. I was quite lucky to find that there’s an outlet of this magical fried chicken shop at ION Orchard while doing some shopping there, and it brought us real joy to see it again finally!

The outlet was small and packed with everyone lunching there and it was weekend to make things worse. However, the service was quick, the menu was more varied than Indonesia, and we finally got ourselves a dining table.

As always, they gave out the buzzer so when it rings, it’s time to pick up the food from the kitchen.

My wife had the mixed chicken with both sauces and rice. Meanwhile I had the katsu sandwich. Both of us enjoyed it but agree that the taste in Indonesia was stronger and up to our liking more. Surely it’s because our demanding tongues wanted more flavor and it’s a bit mild here in Singapore.

My sweet fried bread with chopped chicken katsu and salad was quite fulfilling. The rice itself was okay and the chicken was crispy and good as always. Again, the flavor strength was still the main issue. Even the Heaven and Earth iced lemon tea was subpar when compared with Indonesian Burger King’s.

In any case, it was nostalgic and pretty much consoling our hearts from all the dismay upon witnessing that 4 Fingers is no longer in Jakarta. A bit pessimistic though that it will come back again one day but at least, there’s always one in Singapore to treat us from this misery.

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4 FINGERS CRISPY CHICKEN SINGAPORE
Halal-certified
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address (Singapore only):

  • ION Orchard
  • Plaza Singapura
  • Westgate
  • Changi Terminal 3

Website

Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 10pm

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Dish That I Crave: Dak galbi at Seigo Dakgalbi

Seigo Dakgalbi has been around for two years now as a locally developed Korean cuisine restaurant specializing with its dak galbi, but it is still relatively unheard of if compared to the rest of competition in other parts of Jakarta.

Even so, Seigo Dakgalbi was known to me as a serious restaurant that literally invested its capital to send its crews to research the authentic recipes and flavors directly to South Korea.

Those facts and a visit quite long ago there introduced me to this stir-fried dish for the first time.

Seigo Dakgalbi 1

Dak galbi was a daringly spicy dish thanks to the gochujang sauce there but it worked really with a bowl of rice on one of my hands. Following the authentic recipe, Seigo Dakgalbi’s dak galbi (well, that’s funny) was equipped with chicken and various kind of vegetables.

It’s basically an indulging dish to enjoy during cold days. Imagine having it sidekicked with the warm samgyetang. 

Ahhhh… I am dreaming of Korea suddenly…

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SEIGO DAKGALBI

Address:
Tebet Green
Jalan M.T. Haryono, Jakarta – Indonesia

Website

Quikskoop™: Gahyo (2014)

For years, I originally considered that visiting established Korean restaurant would be exclusively about splurging. However my second encounter with Gahyo shed a light that Korean food is after all something that we can enjoy everyday to your heart’s content. Here’s why!

Gahyo 2

As perhaps one of the pioneers of Korean cuisine in Jakarta, Gahyo always finds its way to satiate foodies and the aficionados of Korean food, not to mention also the expatriates. Once arrived, you can tell that it’s always cheerful and warm inside with patrons busy conversing in Japanese and Korean while the staffs are dedicating themselves to give the best for the customers.

Panchan
Panchan

While everything feels the same like my prior visit sometime around two years ago, I found out that the service is still efficient and the staffs are highly knowledgeable about the products. From the small servings of the all-you-can-eat panchan or the Korean-style side dishes that comprises of so many things, you can ask them one by one and they did give a satisfying answer. Be sure to not miss the Korean omelette and the highly refreshing kimchi. If you’re still up for digging it, don’t bother to ask because the staffs will fill them up right away.

For the mains, here’s where the ‘problem’ actually lies. You can always opt for the budget way by ordering the a la carte dishes such as the bibim bab, jabchae, or yukkejang only BUT you’ll be missing the splurging lane by enjoying the finest from Korean cuisine – the exquisite beef grills!

Gahyo 7 Gahyo 9 Gahyo 5 Gahyo 8

Having the grills in a Korean restaurant is an absolute must-try experience especially when in Gahyo, who happens to have so many options for you to try. You may have to splurge a bit but who would dare to resist sweet temptations coming from teuk seng galbi (prime boneless rib), bul galbi (marinated short rib), and even the wooseol (beef tongue) and the delicious teuk yang (beef intestines).

When Koreans are talking about beef, it’s all about the best from it. So prepare to indulge yourself with the sexy marbling, the juiciness that came after the grilling, marvelous marination, and the immaculate dipping sauce. Don’t forget to wrap the beef with salad and to also have that grilled garlic afterwards to achieve maximum pleasure.

Dolsot Bibim Bab
Dolsot Bibim Bab

The sidekicks came so real and undoubtedly delectable as well. My wife particularly enjoyed her share of dolsot bibim bab or the Korean-style nasi liwet. Well, let’s face it, we all love to be served with something as nutritious and fulfilling like this right?

Sam Gae Tang
Samgaetang

The healthy chicken soup came beautifully as well. While some may refer it as ‘ayam obat’ or medicinal chicken dish from Chinese cuisine, it indeed meant to be like that as well in Korean cuisine. The samgaetang came in complete with mild but tasty soup, well cooked chicken, and real ginseng in the soup.

Yukkejang
Yukkejang

Lastly, the yukkejang came in to complete the deal. This reddish noodle soup may seem fiery, but if compared to Indonesian spiciness level, it’s actually very mild. But we did get a refreshing chili taste from it as well as good condiments that came with the soup such as the veggies and the beef.

Hence, ladies and gentlemen, it was another satisfying moment for me clearly and now I can rest easy because Korean food feels more approachable after I have seen to many alternatives to enjoy it and Gahyo is a hospitable place to start with its prime service, good quality food, and plenty of options to try. Well done!

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GAHYO

Halal-friendly (alcohol is served, but pork only in Kelapa Gading branch)
Suitable for vegetarians

Address:

  1. Galeria SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53 Lot 6
    T: (021) 5289 7044
  2. Sport Mall Kelapa Gading, Blok A 26-27
    T: (021) 4587 6626

Opening hours: Everyday, 11am – 11pm

Website

FCK™: KyoChon Indonesia

What I thought initially was that KyoChon maybe a tad too late to enter the Korean-style chicken wings competition. FYI, BonChon and Four Fingers have started here for quite some time with BonChon in particular have set foot firmly in Jakarta. Even so, the descending of KyoChon to Indonesia brings a fresh competition all over again!

That’s exactly what I saw when I finally had the chance to visit its current one and only store in Indonesia at Pacific Place shopping mall. Although awkwardly situated within a rank of restaurants on the fourth floor, KyoChon successfully drew a lot of attention – partly perhaps with its wax statue of Siwon of Super Junior boyband in front of the store.

But let’s not waste the time discussing about pop idols, but instead with the beautiful fried chicken. The chicken got the same treatment like those applied at both BonChon and Four Fingers – no fat, uses canola oil, smeared with sauces, and fried upon order. Of course, what makes KyoChon different than the rest would be the formula and the menu. For instance, BonChon prepares two types of chicken – standard and hot, while KyoChon has more abroad but three here – savory, hot, and honey.

KyoChon - Fried Chicken 1

During my last trip, I suggested that three of us should have twenty chicken wings – 10 from the hot Red Series and 10 from the standard series. For those of you who would rather have that KFC formula of chicken and rice with beverage, you can also pick that from the menu but I have to warn you that Korean-style fried chicken differentiates themselves from American fried chicken even from the pricing, thanks mostly to their ‘fried upon order’ standard.

So the serving time becomes longer but what you’ll have in front of you are the freshly fried crispy chicken with brave flavors and healthier. Our chicken we ate there proved that factors too and I enjoyed it all thoroughly.

For comparison, I liked the balanced recipe of BonChon’s spicy wings better than KyoChon’s although it has more of fruity freshness from the sauce and hotter here. As for the standard one, I like it vice versa because as you may already knew, I’m into savory food more than anyone and can stand upon the heat from peppers but not from chillies though. KyoChon’s savory wings were a good treat for me!

Well, KyoChon proves that the competition is far from over and we’ll see more of them coming in shopping malls to fight the bitter war against its worldwide rival BonChon. For us food lovers, it’s actually beneficial because that way we can have more options to satisfy our fried chicken cravings and to enhance our palates.

So which one do you like better?

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KYOCHON

Halal-friendly (cannot be certified – sells beer)
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address:
Pacific Place – Lvl 4
Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53, Jakarta – Indonesia
Opening Hours: Mall opening hours
Delivery: 500-566
Website: http://www.kyochon-indonesia.com
Facebook: Kyochon Indonesia
Twitter: @kyochon_id
Spend: Around IDR 50,000 – IDR 100,000 for two

The Crunchy Attack of Korean Fried Chicken! (Linked, August 2013)

  • BONCHON

What

Salah satu pelopor ayam goreng khas Korea di Indonesia yang terlebih dahulu melejit tenar di Amerika Serikat.

BonChon - Interior

Why

Dari segi menu, BonChon menampilkan berbagai hidangan ayam goreng yang cukup ekstensif dengan berbagai kombinasinya. Dengan filosofi ‘tidak boleh ada yang terbuang’, selain bagian sayap dan paha yang klasik digunakan, BonChon juga menyajikan potongan ayam tanpa tulang serta versi mininya yang disebut bites.

Untuk ayamnya sendiri, BonChon melakukan berbagai prosedur yang sudah terstandarisasi ketat seperti seleksi dari segi ukuran, proses pembuangan lemak dari ayamnya, standar sausnya yang lezat dari berbagai ekstrak buah-buahan, dan penggorengan dua kali yang menjadi ciri khas ayam goreng asal Korea ini. Hasilnya adalah ayam yang tidak berlemak dengan kulit tipis yang renyah dan saus gurih pedas yang terasa begitu nikmat di setiap gigitannya.

Chicken wings
Chicken wings

Selain itu unsur Korea dalam makanan lainnya juga tetap dipertahankan seperti adanya kimchi dalam menu sampingannya serta terdapatnya acar pedas khas tersebut dalam menu burger-nya. BonChon juga bereksperimen menggabungkan potongan ayam gorengnya dengan myun atau mie khas Korea yang dibumbui dengan saus setipe Bolognese. Sebagai penutup, yang tidak boleh dilewatkan adalah mochi Korea yang diisikan dengan es krim dari berbagai rasa.

How

BonChon tampil layaknya restoran keluarga namun berbeda dengan restoran ayam goreng cepat saji yang lain, desain BonChon dibuat simpel dengan bahan yang didominasi kayu serta berwarna hangat sehingga nyaman untuk hang out bersama teman dan keluarga. Selain itu, BonChon juga menghadirkan atmosfir penuh rasa Korea dengan memutar musik-musik K-Pop modern yang kini kelewat digandrungi muda-mudi Indonesia.

Chicken Burger
Chicken Burger

Where

JAKARTA dan sekitarnya
Grand Indonesia
City Walk Sudirman
Central Park
Gandaria City
Supermal Karawaci
Living World Alam Sutera
Kota Kasablanka
Lippo Mall Kemang
Mall of Indonesia

BALI
Beachwalk Bali

Facebook            : BonChonIndonesia
Twitter                : @BonChon_ID
Website               : http://www.bonchonid.com

Operational Hours
Setiap hari, 10 am – 10 pm

Price Range
IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / orang (F&B)

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  • 4 FINGERS CRISPY CHICKEN

What

Pelopor ayam goreng khas Korea asal Singapura yang terinspirasi tren dari kota New York.

4 Fingers - Dining Room 1

Why

Pertemanan empat sahabat pecinta makanan ini membawa mereka bereksplorasi kuliner berkeliling dunia sekaligus mencari inspirasi bisnis makanan sepulangnya nanti ke tanah air. Akhirnya mereka sepakat bahwa ayam goreng Korea yang sangat digandrungi di New York ini untuk dijadikan sebuah bisnis waralaba di Singapura. 4 Fingers yang merupakan simbol keempat pemiliknya ini kini telah merambah ke Filipina dan juga Indonesia.

Wings & Rice
Wings & Rice

Menu yang terdapat di 4 Fingers tentu diperankan oleh ayam goreng saus tradisional soy garlic serta saus pedas khas Korea yang digemari semua orang. Dengan teknik pengolahan unik seperti melumuri saus khas dengan tangan agar menyeluruh dan membuang lemak dari ayam, 4 Fingers tampil percaya diri dengan rasa gurih yang dihadirkan pada setiap ayam gorengnya.

Selain itu yang wajib dicoba adalah chicken rice box-nya dimana ayam goreng dipadukan dengan nasi berbumbu yang lezat dan juga berbagai kombinasi ayam goreng dalam bentuk sandwich dan burger. Selain ayam, berbagai menu seafood, tofu, hingga sukiyaki dan miso shiru juga kini tersedia di 4 Fingers. Tapi tentunya sayang bila melewatkan ayam gorengnya yang khas ini.

How

Terinspirasi suasana jalanan dan subway kota New York, 4 Fingers tampil modern dan bergaya urban dengan dihiasi berbagai graffiti. Meskipun resep ayam gorengnya diinspirasi dari khas Korea, namun sentuhan gaya Korea tidak terlihat sama sekali dari segi desain, apalagi atmosfirnya yang didominasi musik-musik Top 40 jaman sekarang dari Barat.

Calamari & Rice
Calamari & Rice

Meskipun sekilas terasa bahwa 4 Fingers lebih cocok sebagai tempat nongkrong anak muda, justru itu anggapan yang kurang tepat karena semestinya yang dicari adalah kenikmatan ayam goreng yang menjadi spesialisasinya.

Where

Jakarta dan sekitarnya
Rasuna Epicentrum
Cilandak Town Square
FX Mall

Facebook            : Gimme4fingers.Indonesia
Twitter                 : @4FCCIndonesia
Website              : http://www.gimme4fingers.com

Operational Hours
Setiap hari, 10 am – 10 pm

Price Range
IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / orang (F&B)

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COOL FACTS ABOUT KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN

  • Konon ayam goreng khas Korea ini merupakan bisnis rumahan yang bisa ditemukan di setiap penjuru kota-kota di Korea Selatan dengan kombinasi yang berbeda-beda.
  • Di Korea Selatan, lazimnya ayam goreng ini disajikan di bar dan dinikmati setelah pulang kerja bersama rekan kerja dan teman-teman.
  • KyoChon adalah franchiser ayam goreng Korea terbesar sejak 1991 yang kini sudah memiliki ribuan cabang di Korea dan berbagai negara lainnya, lalu pada 2002 diikuti BonChon dan berbagai brand lainnya yang lebih bersifat individual.
  • Ayam goreng Korea biasanya digoreng saat dipesan dan menjalani dua proses penggorengan untuk mendapatkan rasa crispy yang khas sekaligus menjamin kesegaran produknya.
  • Saus yang dilumuri pada kulit ayam gorengnya menjadi ciri khas ayam goreng Korea yang berbeda dengan ayam goreng Amerika yang biasa kita kenal.

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A (REALLY) SHORT HISTORY OF FRIED CHICKEN

  • Resep ayam goreng konon berasal dari tradisi Skotlandia namun justru yang lebih terkenal adalah karena diasosiasikan dengan sejarah perbudakan rakyat Afrika di Amerika Serikat sejak ratusan tahun yang lalu sebagai sumber makanan yang mereka konsumsi lazimnya.
  • Ayam adalah sumber protein yang paling mudah diternakkan oleh para budak di Amerika sehingga mereka berkreasi dengan berbagai bumbu khas untuk ayam gorengnya.
  • Pada awal abad 20, ayam goreng menjadi makanan utama setiap keluarga di Amerika Serikat dan usaha pertama mengembangkannya menjadi produk bisnis konon dipelopori oleh sang legenda, Harland Sanders dari Kentucky Fried Chicken, di tahun 1950an.
  • Akhirnya, ayam goreng menjadi sebuah bisnis waralaba bernilai milyaran dollar setiap tahunnya dan Indonesia memulainya dengan KFC pertama di tahun  1978 hingga kini.
  • Kini ayam goreng khas Amerika ini dikenal luas di hampir setiap negara sekaligus menciptakan imej bahwa ayam goreng haruslah memiliki kulit kering yang besar dan rasa yang sangat gurih, hingga setidaknya dalam dua dekade terakhir ini Korea Selatan mempopulerkan resep ayam gorengnya yang berbeda sekaligus memiliki citarasa yang dahsyat yang digemari banyak orang.

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Linked - Fried Chicken 1 Linked - Fried Chicken 2

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Published in Linked – Citilink in-flight magazine, August 2013 Edition (unedited)