I was at the Gukje Market in Busan, a huge street market that sells, among many other things, a variety of street food.  Nothing was particularly catching my eye until I saw a restaurant on the outskirts of the market serving up some seriously delicious-looking fried chicken.  Korean fried chicken (or, confusingly, KFC for short.  I was on a food forum once, and someone was asking where the best KFC could be found in Toronto, and I was thinking “uh… at… KFC…?” until I realized he was talking about Korean fried chicken) is kind of a big deal.  So I figured I’d check it out.

By the time I realized that this place only served enormous plates of fried chicken meant to be shared among multiple people, I was already sitting at a table and felt like I was committed, so I just went for it and got the original/spicy combo plate.  I ordered a beer, too, because if you’re going to eat a sharing plate of fried chicken by yourself, you may as well be drinking a beer.

Gukje Market in Busan, South Korea

And yeah, as I suspected, it was a ridiculous amount of fried chicken for one person.  I did my best — I ate most of the spicy chicken, and made a small dent in the original.  The rest I brought back to the hotel to eat later.

Sadly, though, it wasn’t the fried chicken perfection I was hoping for.  It was fine — it particular, the sauce on the spicy chicken was sweet, spicy, garlicky, and delicious — but it was all white meat with a few wings thrown in, and it was overcooked and dry.

Gukje Market in Busan, South Korea

It’s also cut in that typically Asian style of chopping up chicken into small, ostensibly bite-sized pieces of meat that aren’t actually bite-sized, because if you try to eat them in one bite there’s a very good chance you’re going to end up crunching down on some configuration of bones and/or cartilage.  But it’s almost impossible to tell what’s what when it’s battered and fried like this, so you just have to take tentative little bites until you figure out what’s going on inside of each piece, and then try to navigate around tiny little bone shards and cartilage fragments.

Sorry, everyone in Asia, but the way you cut up chicken is absurd.  Either give me deboned bite-sized chunks, or give me full pieces that I know what to do with.  There is no third option.

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