Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kyochon Chicken - Stanton

Of all the trendy foods to hit L.A. recently, nothing has intrigued me more than Kyochon Chicken, fried chicken as done by Koreans. Jonathan Gold's Pulitzer-prize winning taste-buds swears by it ("Current fried chicken mecca", he writes), while food bloggers, Chowhounds, and Yelpers alike have gone ga-ga, typing out countless testimonials of its greatness.

The buzz has been so loud that it's even spurred the predictable backlash, a signal that the hype has run its course, at least in L.A.

Sounds like Pinkberry all over again, doesn't it?

And just like during the fro-yo frenzy, Orange County stood idly by, removed from the excitement, but left hungry in its wake.

There were substitutes that popped up while Kyochon stayed exclusively outside of the Orange Curtain. Most notably, a place called Pizza and Chicken Love Letter served to quench our Korean fried chicken jones. But look out fellow O.C. dwellers!

The chicken has landed.

I repeat: The chicken has landed. In Stanton.

You heard that right. Stanton -- long the butt of trailer-park jokes -- is now the home of the first Kyochon Chicken in O.C. Some may remember that the city is also headquarters of Thai Nakorn, the best Thai restaurant in California. Add this recent development, and things are looking up for this humble burg.

But apparently, its newest resident still wants nothing to do with it. On its brochure, Kyochon prints in bold type face that this is the "Garden Grove Store", even as the address clearly states that it's located in Stanton.

No matter. Kyochon can live in denial all they want. Just keep making that chicken.

My friends and I shared an order of 20 wings ($16.99) for dinner and it was everything I hoped it would be. We could've opted for the "sticks", which are chicken leg drumsticks sold in multiples of two, or traditional fried chicken pieces; but the wings are best suited to savor the chicken's most-written-about quality: the skin.

It's crispy, finely bubbled and crackly like the caramel crust of a creme brulee.

Utilizing just the thinnest whisper of coating, the rest of the crispiness is a result of a double-fry that renders all of the subcutaneous fat off, leaving nothing but a thin strata of concentrated crunch and flavor between your teeth and the meat.

There are two flavors available: "garlic soy sauce" and "hot sweet sauce". Both are wonderful. The "garlic soy" feels sticky, like its glazed in honey or nectar. Those lubed in the "hot sweet sauce" unleash a sour, stinging burn that subsides quickly, but leaves a lasting impression of kimchi and spice.

Either way, between bites of chicken, I alternated between rice and Kyochon's radish pickles, cubes of refreshing sweet/sour palate cleansers sold floating in vinegar, sealed inside a plastic box. The latter is required for every meal and costs just a buck.

The chicken has landed. And it's one small step for O.C., but a big, giant leap for Stanton.

Kyochon Chicken (inside Freshia Market)
12840 Beach Blvd.
Stanton, CA 90680

Summer Guide


At 11:11 AM, Blogger Wandering Chopsticks said...

Ah, KyoChon. You know, there's a Bonchon now too! It'll be like the Pinkberry vs. Red Mango showdown. You've got me salivating over those wings all over again. I must be building up my immunity b/c the last time I had them, they didn't taste nearly as spicy as that first time. Still way overpriced though, or else I'd eat there more often.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Do you you that if you go To Seoul, Korea and mention "Irvine" most people there know exactly where it is? This restaurant intrigues me. There used to be a Broasted Chicken place on E. Chapman. Its not a Mexican Seafood place, but the huge chicken statue is still on the roof. So it seems as the Koreans were frying chicken before in OC. How do the raddish pickles taste. I wish there was one located closer as Stanton is such an arm pit.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mm mm. What a mouthwatering post. Here in Irvine, you don't get much fried chicken - and definitely not Korean fried chicken. I was just in Garden Grove yesterday and because the place was foreign to me, I opted for the ever-familiar McDonald's without knowing that KyoChon was only 7 minutes away. That sucks...

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Perfect right down the street from Love Letters I might have to do a wing marathon ;-0

At 9:36 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


You know, I didn't think about how expensive it is until now. With tax, that works out to be $0.91 per wing! Dang! Well, at least I save on gas by not driving to K-Town.

Diamond Dog,

The radish pickles are awesome. Not too sour, just perfect. I usually don't like pickles, but I love these.


Do check them out when you're in the area next. While you're at it, get some seasonal fresh fruit at a very reasonable price at the Freshia.


I'd be interested in how you think Kyochon compares to Love Letter.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger raissa said...

YES!! This is so much closer to where I live!!

elmo - not only do you get to save gas by not going to K-town but theres no parking meter to deal with too.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Stanton the new Tustin?

At 8:54 PM, Blogger KirkK said...

Geez If Stanton has Kyochon...and San Diego doesn't where does this place San Diego? ;o)

At 1:19 AM, Blogger Nicholas said...

elmo, there is now a rowland heights location too. Its in the Yes plaza on fullerton/colima.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger momopi said...

KyoChon chicken is a bit dry, I like the BBQ Chicken at 5260 Beach Blvd #B, Buena Park better. Not as dry and fried in olive oil.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger AJ said...

This looks really tasty. I've tagged you on my site as one of my favorite blogs. Please check it out.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Bill said...

I need to find sometime for some chicken lovin.

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

I used to love this place, but with a few more opening up like Korean BBQ at Buena Park and a Bonchon opened up in K-town... it was getting interesting.

I heard a lot about Chicken Love Letters in Garden Grove being highly touted. I'm just wondering if you are going to visit Korean Chicken BBQ and Chicken Love Letters? I heard those two are the little ones that can pull off the upset! LOL

At 8:43 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


You're right about that! Parking is another reason I avoid L.A. Not to mention the "parking lot" called the 405 FWY.


Only if someone opens an Indonesian restaurant there!


Well, you guys still have Shamu! HAHA! ;-)


I saw that on their flyer! I must try that one also, since I'm in Rowland Heights more than I'm in Stanton.


One of my dining companions thought so too. She actually put some ketchup on the chicken wing. I gotta try this BBQ Chicken! Thanks.


I'll be answering the meme on your blog soon!


Looks like there's another one for you to add to the orgy: BBQ Chicken! (as Pepsi Monster and momopi have suggested).

Pepsi Monster,

There's always room for more Korean Fried Chicken purveyors. BBQ Chicken sounds awesome. It may be my next stop!

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Ok, I tried this place today. It was really good. After while though it gets "too rich" because the checken is coated in sauce I got the sticks (legs). The cole slaw they serve it with is ass-tastic. Its like shredded cabbage with BBQ sauce drizzled on it. The pickles were AWESOME loved them and a steal at $1.00.

I loved how crackly and crispy the chicken was with a minimal amount of batter.

The only other negative thing is that this place is really expensive for fried chicken!!! I think I had 4 legs, pickles, and a drink and it was 12 or 13 dollars!!

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Eddie Lin said...

Love that Korean fried chicken. Hey! That's KFC! I could eat an entire box with some Korean beer and then toss the bones all over my rug and watch tv all night. That is livin'!!

At 4:02 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Diamond Dog,

You call it coleslaw, I call it garnish! HA! You're absolutely right though. As Wandering Chopsticks made me realize, I paid close to a DOLLAR for each WING! Glad you tried it and liked it though.


You created such a vivid image there...for some reason though, I picture Andrew Zimmern next to you, his face all covered in hot sauce, his bald head sweating profusely.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger caninecologne said...

great post! makes me want to do a roadtrip to try out that chicken!

At 8:37 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


If you're in South OC, there's no other way than to drive to Garden Grove for the chicken...but if you're near Fullerton, Yorba Linda, there's one in Rowland Heights! It'll save you a few bucks on gas!

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh. That looks good. Like, really, REALLY good.

Must drive to Stanton now.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, i went here and did not get the wings. i got the chicken fried rice....which was a HUGE mistake!
this is once of the worst fried rice dishes i've eaten in a long time!
it's too dried and spicy to taste anything else.


At 10:17 PM, Blogger ila said...

elmo, thanks to your post i finally got my boy to pick some up on the way home from work! they're good, but they taste soooooo familiar...

At 12:45 PM, Blogger kabukimoon said...

Yummy, but expensive!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

fiancee j.,

Bring Seth with you! (Hope you're the same Fiancee J., soon to become Spouse J.)


Even if you said the fried rice was good, I still wouldn't waste stomach space on anything other than the chicken!!!

nom x 3,

To me: it tastes similar to this thing called Dynamite Wings that a local Thai place (in Irvine/Costa Mesa) makes. But this is much much better.


Right on both counts.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Does anyone have the recipe to make these pickles pictured? They are so good. Kyochan is just so far from my house! I don' think you can get them at Zion market or Freshia

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Damage said...

Shoot, I guess someone let the secret out about the BBQChicken (Deep Fried in Olive Oil)...

At 11:27 AM, Blogger DanGarion said...

I just got this comment today from you. I wouldn't say Stanton is the butt of trailer park jokes, since there really aren't any trailer parks in Stanton (those jokes should be left for Garden Grove and Harbor Blvd.). Heck I think Stanton only has two mobile home parks and if my memory serves me right they are both for active seniors.

If anything Stanton is known more for the fact that it's the city that no one knows even though just about everyone has drove through it.

At 12:05 AM, Anonymous heoquay said...

haha, i ate kyochong chicken for the first time tonight, in stanton with my friends.
and i have to say..
Its The Best Chicken I Have Ever Eaten!
and the cashier guy.. very good looking in person.

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was definitely NOT delicious SPEEDY chicken.
Placed two orders of chicken, I waited OVER 40 MINUTES!!!! for it, and I also ordered french fries only to be given POTATO WEDGES instead without informing.... it's totally NOT WORTH IT!!!!!


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