The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Ann Arbor Eats – The Best Fried Chicken Ever

I LOVE fried chicken.

While I’m not an expert on fried chicken by any stretch, I’ve had some absolutely terrific chicken over the years.  One of my favorites has always been Harold’s Chicken Shack in Chicago.  It’s a Chicago-only chain with locations in the absolute worst neighborhoods.   In most of them, you are talking to the order-taker through bulletproof glass with a little revolving door to exchange both the money and the chicken.  No joke.  I’ve also had some great fried chicken in the Carolinas and Louisiana.  But the best I’ve ever had was right here in Ann Arbor.

A few months ago my friend and fellow blogger Oliver, aka The Winegetter, turned me onto Seoul Street.  It’s a fast food restaurant that occupies the tiniest space near North Campus, sandwiched between a Qdoba and some “gourmet” burger joint. There are only 2-3 tables inside, and a couple others outdoors for warmer months.

Ollie is straight from Germany but he spent quite a bit of time in South Korea, so he’s quite familiar with the cuisine.  I personally am almost completely ignorant when it comes to Korean food, so he offered to give me some lessons.  Joining us for lunch that day was his vivacious wife, Nina.

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What We Ate

We started off with a bang – Kimchee Fries.  These are a monster mound of fries topped with caramelized kimchee, onions, cheese, scallions, sour cream, and spicy mayo.

SS fries

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It was about as rich as it sounded, but surprisingly not overly heavy.  Definitely not to be missed.

Looking at the menu, and being the Mexican food nut, I had to try the Korean tacos.  These were on corn tortillas with cabbage, lettuce, and your choice of chicken, bulgogi, Spam, and tofu.  As tempted as I was to go for the Spam, we did chicken and bulgogi.

SS Tacos

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They were certainly interesting.  But in this case, Mexico wins.

But the real story here is the fried chicken, which you can get either with a soy garlic or hot & spicy glaze.

SS Chicken

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Kaboom!

You’ll notice there isn’t a lot of breading on it, but it was still the crispiest chicken ever.  The secret is that it’s double-fried.  I think the first time around seals in the juices and the second frying makes the skin super crisp.  Whatever the science is behind it, it works.

The hot & spicy glaze is definitely the way to go.  It’s not overly hot and has a touch of sweetness to balance things out.  On a subsequent visit I tried the soy garlic and found it good, but a little salty for my taste.  You’d think that with all the sauce, it would eventually get soggy.  It didn’t.  In fact, I took a piece home for Boom Boom in a styrofoam container.   Even though it got to her an hour and a half after it got out of the fryer, it still was crunchy.   She was a little hesitant to try it but her eyes lit up at the first bite.  I was expecting her to just sample it and give the rest to me, but she scarfed it down in a minute.

A couple notes, though.  First, the chicken only comes in wings, drumsticks, thighs, and boneless strips.  If you were hoping for a big honking breast, you’re outta luck.  Also, it’s cooked to order which means it takes 20-25 minutes to come to you.  You’ll want to do like we did – order a couple other items and have them bring out the food as it’s ready.  If fried chicken isn’t your thing, they have bibimbop, fried rice, Army Base stew, and other Korean specialties.  But, really, the chicken is king here.

Fried chicken’s reputation has taken a beating over the past decade or so due to concerns about fat.  Any breading on the chicken soaks up the oil and, assuming the skin is still on, the total fat content goes through the roof.   But as I mentioned a few weeks ago, recent studies have shown that fat is probably not the demon that it’s been made out to be.

I’m sure there’s going to be more and more debate on the fat issue.  In the meantime, I’m sure the occasional indulgence is not going to hurt.  If you do decide to splurge on some fried chicken, definitely check out Seoul Street.  I know I will soon.

Like, as soon as I get off this God-forsaken lemonade cleanse.

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Are you a fried chicken fan? Any good places you recommend?  Ever had Korean-style fried chicken?

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Seoul Street on Urbanspoon

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

27 comments on “Ann Arbor Eats – The Best Fried Chicken Ever

  1. Heather @ Sweet Precision
    January 14, 2014

    I’ll have to check this out!

  2. Yinzerella
    January 14, 2014

    KImchi french fries? SIGN. ME. UP.
    My neighborhood is quickly gentrifying and previously had a large Korean population, so there is a bar that has Korean-fusion. I do believe they have bulgogi tacos.
    I am going to a place on Thursday called Friendly Farm and their fried chicken is supposed to be amazing. I will give you an update.
    http://friendlyfarm.net/

  3. the winegetter
    January 14, 2014

    Hey man, thanks for the shout out! You forgot the bulgogi hot dog, which Nina loves….maybe we should head there on Friday, if your system permits.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 14, 2014

      Seriously thinking about that. Or a giant burger. Will know better what my body will allow on Thurs.

      • the winegetter
        January 14, 2014

        As I said: Anything is fine with me. I’ll gladly cater to your whims Friday.

  4. the drunken cyclist
    January 14, 2014

    Next trip out–I am all in! (Assuming you have ended your asinine cleanse thing.)

  5. PinotNinja
    January 14, 2014

    Writing about fried chicken and looking at pictures of fried chicken while you are the tail-end of the master cleanse?! Just what kind of sadist are you?

  6. Go Jules Go
    January 14, 2014

    I was JUST going to ask, “How brutal was it putting together this post while on a cleanse??”

    You’re a good smart man, sharing that whole chicken piece with the Mrs. like that.

    In the dicey neighborhoods here, we have “Kennedy” Fried Chicken, ha! I’ve never tried it, though.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 14, 2014

      Is there a debate on who’s better between that and Nixon Fried Chicken? Ugh, that was a stretch. I need food

  7. wildbluewonder
    January 14, 2014

    That looks phenomenal… as do the kimchi fries!!

  8. Christine R.
    January 14, 2014

    That looks so good!! I would probably risk going to those neighbourhoods just for that fried chicken :D

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 14, 2014

      Luckily this Korean place is in Ann Arbor, which doesn’t have any dicey hoods. Now, Harold’s on Chicago has a few in safe places. It was still definitely worth it in bad areas in daytime!

      • Christine R.
        January 14, 2014

        hehe thanks for the tip! I have not been to Chicago yet but when I go I will keep all these places in mind :D

  9. ksbeth
    January 14, 2014

    this sounds great. i have been there once, but was in a hurry and they were honest with me about the timeline. i appreciated that and plan to return. )

  10. mrsugarbears
    January 15, 2014

    Now I would like some fried chicken!

  11. applesandclovers
    January 16, 2014

    Mmmm, I love Seoul Street. For a while, we were getting this delivered to us every day. Sooooo tasty.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 16, 2014

      Any recommendations beyond what was mentioned here?

      • applesandclovers
        January 16, 2014

        I haven’t moved much beyond the fried chicken. Gotten their bulgolgi a few times, pretty tasty but not especially unique or better than, say, Bewon. Will have to try the kimchi fries next time, they look delicious!

  12. Laura
    January 16, 2014

    Ummmm this looks amazing; why have I never gone before?!?

  13. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom
    January 22, 2014

    Gotta check this out! I’ve been wanting to delve into the Ann Arbor Korean food scene for a while. The huz would go nuts for that chicken. This place is officially on my To-Nom List.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 22, 2014

      Lemme know what u think! And don’t go on a Sunday night. Got there at 6 and no seats w 1hour wait on chicken. Lunch is safe

  14. BunnyandPorkBelly
    February 16, 2014

    yum

  15. Pingback: Fried Chicken Lunch at Seoul Street | Meg Goes Nom Nom

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This entry was posted on January 14, 2014 by in Ann Arbor, Dining, The Chi and tagged , , , , , , , .
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