When Joe McPherson moved to Seoul in 2002, he thought he was leaving fried chicken behind.
"Living in the southern US, you think you know fried chicken," he said. But in Seoul, he said, "there is a mom-and-pop chicken place literally on every corner." Many Asian cooking traditions include deep-fried chicken, but the popular cult of crunchy, spicy, perfectly nongreasy chicken — the apotheosis of the Korean style — is a recent development.
Platters of fried chicken are a hugely popular bar food in South Korea — like chicken wings in the US, they are downed with beer or soju, after work or after dinner, rarely eaten as a meal.
"Some places have a very thin, crisp skin; some places have more garlicky, sticky sauces; some advertise that they are healthy because they fry in 100 percent olive oil," said McPherson, an English teacher, who writes a food blog called zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal.
"Suddenly there will be a long line outside one chicken place, for no apparent reason, and then the next week, it's somewhere else."
For crunch, American-style fried chicken relies on a thick, well-seasoned crust, often made even thicker by soaking the chicken pieces beforehand in buttermilk.
Korean-style fried chicken is radically different, reflecting an Asian frying technique that renders out the fat in the skin, transforming it into a thin, crackly and almost transparent crust. (Chinese cooks call this "paper fried chicken.") The chicken is unseasoned, barely dipped in very fine flour and then dipped into a thin batter before going into the fryer. It is only seasoned after frying.
Korean-style fried chicken restaurants are springing up throughout the US.
(NY Times Services)
1. apotheosis n.
完美的典型 (wan2 mei3 de5 dian3 xing2)
例: This book is the apotheosis of literary genius.
2. blog n.
部落格 (bu4 luo4 ge2)
例: I haven't read your blog in a couple of weeks.
3. apparent adj
顯而易見的 (xian3 er2 yi4 jian4 de5)
例: The apparent reason he ran away was that he was scared of the police.
4. transparent adj.
透明的 (tou4 ming2 de5)
例: The walls in the building were all transparent glass.
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