Whenever I have an appointment or an errand to run outside of Pasadena, I always pencil in a feast near my destination to make the long drive and treacherous traffic worthwhile. Killing two birds with one stone is always a treat, especially if the bird in question is fried to perfection.
Prior to a meeting on Wilshire Boulevard near the Miracle Mile, The Astronomer and I cruised into K-town for some Korean fried chicken. My first taste of the awesomeness that is K.F.C. was at KyoChon Chicken, a Korean import located up the street. After my first snapalicious bite, my mouth was on fire and I was completely hooked.
Chicken Day is a local chain with a so-so reputation—some cats are crazy about the joint, while others aren’t as impressed. Going to KyoChon would’ve been a guaranteed slam dunk, but exploring new territory is half the fun. Just like the proprietors of Ducks Restaurant in San Gabriel, the owners of Chicken Day have drawn decorating inspiration from their namesake. From the walls to the glass cups atop each table, cocks abound.
The Astronomer and I shared a 14-piece spread ($14.90) featuring Chicken Day’s three flavor offerings—“special spicy sauce,” “teriyaki sauce,” and “fried chicken.”
Chilled daikon cubes and extra “spicy sauce” were served on the side.
The plain variety resembled traditional Southern fried chicken. The slightly under-seasoned batter yielded a golden and crispy exterior, while the innards were moist and dare I say, juicy. The drumsticks were good and all, but we came to Chicken Day for K.F.C., not Popeye’s.
The “special spicy sauce” nuggets were only partially true to their name; they were indeed special, but spicy they were not. The unidentifiable chicken parts were deep-fried and coated in a sticky sweet glaze comprised of 27 different ingredients, including cloves, cinnamon, and five-spice. The mounds of glossy meat were garnished with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts. The overall taste and composition of this dish was reminiscent of General Tso’s chicken, but with a more complex and intriguing flavor profile.
A more fitting name for the “teriyaki sauce” chicken would have been “soy sauce” chicken. This one was The Astronomer’s favorite. I thought the “teriyaki” marinade was decent, but in comparison to KyoChon’s pungent garlicky number it was thoroughly boring. Also, the chicken’s skin didn’t quite achieve the classic double-fried snap, which is a shame.
KyoChon > Bonchon > Chicken Day > Hite Kwang-Jang.
301 S Western Ave., Ste. 107
Los Angeles, CA 90020