Nov 2009

Hite Kwang-Jang – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

HITE FACADE

Ever since my first taste of Korean fried chicken (yangnyeom dak) a year ago at KyoChon, I’ve been seeking out these snappy-skinned specimens whenever I’m in the vicinity of Koreatown. While chicken normally doesn’t excite me, the Korean treatment—double frying and potent marinades—seems to bring out the very best in these fine feathered friends.

After previously sampling the wares at three of Koreatown’s most popular yangnyeom dak shops—KyoChon, BonChon, and Chicken Day—The Astronomer and I dined at Hite Kwang-Jang. We had heard through the blogger grapevine that it produced a standout version worthy of the title of K-Town’s top spot.

HITE KWANG-JANG INTERIOR

The sports bar-like space was outfitted with big screen televisions and an interesting collection of nutcrackers. Korean is the primary language spoken at this locals-only joint. Fortunately, there was an English menu for chicks who kind of look Korean but can’t speak a lick of it and their Caucasian male friends.

PANCAKE

Whereas KyoChon, BonChon, and Chicken Day specialize solely in yangnyeom dak, Hite Kwang-Jang serves a plethora of Korean pub grub. We started off with a complimentary panjeon (vegetable pancake). Served with a scallion and soy dipping sauce, the pancake tasted simple and had crisped and golden edges. A free starter is a cheap and easy way to get in very good with yours truly.

DUBOKKI

For our official appetizer, we ordered a plate of dukboki ($12.99). The cylindrical rice cakes were dressed in a shiny coat of red pepper paste (gochujang) along with fish cakes, onions, and two hard boiled eggs. The dish was garnished with scallions and sesame seeds. While the interplay between sweet and spicy was fantastic, what I really loved about this dish was the toothy texture of the dukboki. I need to learn how to make this dish ASAP.

SLAW

The spicy fried chicken ($14.99) arrived next. The lacquered wings were served with a cabbage slaw topped with Thousand Island dressing, pickled daikon cubes, and fried potato wedges that were seared on the outside and velvety within.

CHICKEN

What differentiated Hite Kwang-Jang’s yangnyeom dak from other versions I’ve tasted was its hefty coating. At times it felt like I was eating all candied batter and hardly any meat, especially with the drumettes. The wings had a more balanced ratio of chicken to batter. The glaze was initially pleasantly sweet, but after downing a few, it turned out to be too sugary for both The Astronomer and me. In a way, Hite Kwang-Jang’s yangnyeom dak reminded us of General Tso’s chicken. General Tso makes a damn fine chicken, just not the one we wanted this evening. When it comes to yangnyeom dak, we desire a snappy bite and enough heat to set our mouths properly afire.

POWER RANKINGS

KyoChon > Bonchon > Chicken Day > Hite Kwang-Jang.

 

Hite Kwang-Jang
3839 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Phone: 213-384-7999

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16 thoughts on “Hite Kwang-Jang – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

  1. Calling it General Tso’s Chicken is either a slap or an ironic compliment. I’ll assume the former. Your dubokki looks nice though. Kyochon’s chicken is still my favorite, too, even after a visit to Momofuku. But that will be a subject for my next blog post.

  2. dokbok ki is SO easy to make 😀 just search for a couple recipes (authentic as possible) and just adjust to your taste of spiciness and whatever veggies you like in it.

  3. HI Cathy=)
    This is great! Love Korean food, ate the after taste lol. I will have to bookmark this location for my next visit to Cali. Hmmm (Long Sigh) so miss Cali!

  4. Yeah, my BFF & I ate also prefer Kyochon with Bonchon 2nd. In fact, she’s kinda addicted to it. There’s a new Kyochon nearby indie Glendale Galleria, if that’s of interest to y’al!

    Just from the pic of your high-powered camera, I can tell Hite’s chicken is heavily battered! I guess you go there for sumthing besides the fried chicks!

  5. Hmm, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure, but I am partial to fried bird. I’ll start with #1 on power rankings! Thx for the list 😀

  6. I love Kyochon but I must say that the wings there are expensive! If memory serves me correctly it was about 80 cents per wing. They’re delicious and every time I go it never disappoints until I see the owner laughing his way to the bank.

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