The Rich History of Korean Fried Chicken: From Street Food to Global Sensation

Korean fried chicken, also known as KFC, is a dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. But its rise to popularity is a relatively recent phenomenon, rooted in the history and culture of South Korea. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Korean fried chicken and how it became the beloved dish it is today.

Korean fried chicken has its origins in the 1960s and 1970s, when it first appeared as a street food in South Korea. At the time, fried chicken was a luxury food that was only consumed on special occasions. However, as South Korea’s economy grew and more people could afford to eat it, fried chicken became a popular dish.

The dish first gained recognition outside of South Korea in the 1990s, when Korean immigrants began opening fried chicken restaurants in the United States and other countries. These restaurants offered a new take on fried chicken, with a crispier texture and bolder flavors than what was typically found in Western-style fried chicken. The popularity of Korean fried chicken grew quickly, and soon it was being served in Korean restaurants and food trucks around the world.

One of the key factors that sets Korean fried chicken apart from other fried chicken is its cooking method. Unlike Western-style fried chicken, which is usually deep-fried in oil, Korean fried chicken is double-fried. This process gives the chicken a crispy exterior and juicy interior, and also allows for the addition of flavorful sauces and spices. The double-frying process was originally used to preserve the flavor and texture of the chicken, but it has since become a hallmark of Korean fried chicken.

Another important aspect of Korean fried chicken is its sauce. While Western-style fried chicken is typically served with ketchup or hot sauce, Korean fried chicken is typically coated in a sweet and spicy sauce made with gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar. The sauce adds depth and complexity to the dish, and it also helps to balance the heat from the chili paste.

In recent years, Korean fried chicken has continued to gain popularity and has become a global sensation. It can now be found in restaurants, food trucks, and even at sports stadiums, where it is a popular snack for fans. There are even fast food chains that specialize in Korean fried chicken, serving it in various forms, from traditional wings to boneless bites and sandwiches.

Korean fried chicken has also inspired other dishes and culinary trends, such as the creation of “Korean-style” fried chicken at fast food chains and the popularity of Korean fried chicken sandwiches. It has also inspired fusion dishes, such as Korean fried chicken tacos and Korean fried chicken pizzas. These new takes on the dish showcase its versatility and the ability of Korean cuisine to influence and inspire other cultures.

The history of Korean fried chicken is a story of innovation, globalization, and the popularity of bold flavors. From its humble beginnings as a street food in South Korea, it has become a beloved dish that can be found around the world. The double-frying process and flavorful sauces set Korean fried chicken apart from other fried chicken, and its continued popularity is a testament to its delicious taste and versatility. So, the next time you enjoy a juicy and crispy piece of Korean fried chicken, remember its rich history and how it has become a global sensation.

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