How The Famed Korean Fried Chicken Evolved Over Time
Image Credit: Korean fried chicken

Today, you may find fried chicken as a street snack in many Asian cultures. In fact, not just on the streets, big American chains - like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) - run their entire restaurant business on this deep-fried delicacy. The crunchy exteriors that cover the soft and juicy chicken is what makes it so popular worldwide. However, each culture has their own style of making it like the Korean fried chicken.

Some may simply think of it as a regional variation of fried chicken, with slight changes. The fact is that the inception of this Korean fried chicken is believed to have foreign influences. Although the exact series of events is not known, it is said that Korea’s famous fried chicken emerged as a result of the US military invasion during the Korean war in the 1950s.  

It is believed that during wartime, the idea of fried chicken was introduced to Korean cuisine. Gradually, rotisserie chicken restaurants saw an upsurge in the country in the late 20th Century and Western-style restaurants became a common sight.  

The glazed-coated sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken forayed into local households and people started enjoying the dish. However, it was the Asian financial crisis that became a turning point in the journey of this Korean-style fried dish. In the late 1990s, Asian countries like South Korea saw a huge dip in the economy which resulted in large-scale layoffs. In the wake of generating employment and earning living, several family-run eating joints were established.  

These eating joints cashed in on the craze for fried chicken in the country at that time and became a huge success. From this point onwards, the fanfare for Korean fried chicken only grew. The specialty of the fried chicken lies in the sauce that is used for the final coating. A sweet and spicy condiment, called Yangnyeom sauce, is what lends the fried chicken an appetising glaze. It is made with Gochujang (a fermented red chilli paste), along with rice syrup, ketchup, white vinegar and minced garlic.  

The crunchy thin batter, dipped in this hot and sweet sauce perfectly sticks to each other and makes the Korean fried chicken a dish loved by the masses. With the increasing fandom for K-pop and K-dramas in the world, you can easily find this Korean dish being served in restaurants across the globe.