Fried chicken has become quintessential Korean comfort food.
The average Korean chomps down 20 fried chicken meals every year. Fried chicken restaurants seem to pop up on every corner of every neighborhood. But, despite the past couple decades seeing a consistent explosion of options, customers remain loyal to a select few that have consistently provided tasty dining experiences again and again.
Dynamic Busan Magazine lays out three great places around the city to get a taste of some Korean-style chicken.
New Charcoal Chicken (뉴숯불통닭)
Korean fried chicken has a great crispy texture (top); it’s yummy with fried potatoes (bottom).
Pusan National University students already know this one. It has been serving delicious, greasy goodness to hard-studying customers in Jangjeon-dong (neighborhood) since 1988 and sticks to the old fashioned way of cooking one chicken at a time in a big earthenware pot. Every chicken is cooked to order so it might take a while. But, the wait is worth it.
Local chickens, garlic, ginger and onion are used to provide a fresh and tasty experience. The original deep-fried chicken (17,000 won per order) is flavored with curry, and its crunchy texture is a source of pride. New Charcoal Chicken also fries up some delicious thick-sliced pieces of potato with their chicken, adding another element of taste to the mix. Grab a beer for the true “chimaek” experience and chow down.
Address: 47, Geumgang-ro 335beon-gil, Geumjeong-gu (https://goo.gl/maps/X432AUWzmn12)
How to get there: Jangjeon Station (Metro line 1), exit 1. Use the crosswalk and then walk straight toward Pusan National University five to 10 minutes.
Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight. Closed Sundays.
Geoin Tongdak (거인통닭)
One of the most famous chicken restaurants in Busan has kept people coming back to its Bupyeong Market location for three generations. Geoin Tondak, which means “giant chicken,” has cooked its signature deep-fried chicken (18,000 won), in a gamasot (traditional iron pot) since the restaurant’s inception. The results are an ultra crispy texture that is complemented by the curry powder that is mixed into the chicken batter. Only large, domestically-raised chickens are used, ensuring customers are provided a fresh, ample meal. As more and more modern franchise chicken joints have popped up over the years, a visit to Geoin Tongdak provides a delicious, worthwhile piece of nostalgia. The Nampo-dong landmark gained even more popularity, however, when it was designated a Busan specialty on TV and online. Due to its success, only takeout is currently available.
Address: 34, Junggu-ro 47beon-gil, Jung-gu ( https://goo.gl/maps/1MkjzpDfFLB2)
How to get there: Busan Station (Metro line 1), exit 7. Take bus 40 or 81 and exit at Bosudong bookstore alley. Cross the street and go straight two blocks along the alley next to Nonghyup Bank. Turn right to find Geoin Tongdak.
Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. daily; Closed Sundays.
Heemang Tongdak (희망통닭)
Heemang Tongdak, or “hopeful chicken,” has been cooking up delicious food for 30 years. Located in Dongnae-gu (district), they are particularly famous for dak-ttongjip (chicken gizzard), which is dipped in a tasty spice blend an fried until crispy. Additionally, Heemang Tongdak’s fried chicken and spicy-sweet marinated chicken are also popular. Order a draft beer and enjoy your chicken Korean style! Chicken meals cost 16,000 and 17,000 won. Heemang Tongdak cooks its chicken the old-school way with a thin batter that, paired with high-quality oil, results in chicken that is ridiculously-crispy and brighter in color than most fried chickens.
The two-story restaurant was recently remodeled and its simple layout makes for easy ordering. Like many popular places that were featured on TV in Korea, however, there might be a bit of a wait.
Address: 94, Myeongnyun-ro 98beon-gil, Dongnae-gu
How to get there: Nangmin Station (Metro line 4), exit 1. Walk one block and turn right to enter an alley. Walk down the alley and turn left at the next intersection. Find Heemang Tongdak and its blue signboard on the left.
Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday to Thursday; noon to midnight Friday to Sunday; Closed Mondays.