The Bonchon restaurant in Chidlom is a prime example of a restaurant that’s quickly becoming one of Bangkok’s favourite sources for fried chicken.
With 35 restaurants in Bangkok, Bonchon threatens to topple KFC’s dominance as the premier fried chicken restaurant in the city. And the phenomenon is not just happening in Bangkok.
The restaurant chain began in Korea in 2002, and it quickly spread to target markets in Boston, New York, L.A., Manila, Singapore, as well as Bangkok. In all the cities where the restaurant set up shop, they enjoyed a growing and steady stream of customers from the moment they opened their doors.
Most of the patrons who cite Bonchon as one of their favourite chicken restaurants remark how the chicken has a thoroughly original taste that owes its flavour to its Korean origins.
The world had become accustomed to fast food chicken being equated with blander American tastes. They had grown used to chicken that resembled KFC, Popeye’s and Texas Fried Chicken.
When the Bonchon people launched their ground-breaking restaurant, they made a point of targeting cities in the US as some of their first markets. This was a bold move by the Koreans, but it ended up also being the right move. What could have been a slow and steady growth was supercharged when a lot of American food critics fell in love with the unique and original flavour of Bonchon chicken.
It stunned food lovers all over the world when it was called the “Best wings in America” by Esquire Magazine and “The best fried chicken in New York” by the New York Daily News.
It seemed that the US had fallen in love with the spicy Korean version of a dish that many Americans thought they had invented.
The Secret is in The Spice
It’s no secret that the world has developed a taste for hot and spicy foods. Sriracha hot sauce, originally from Thailand, is regularly seen on the tables of a growing number of restaurants around the world. Kimchi and Wasabi are also spicy flavours that are well-known to a growing majority of Americans who couldn’t point out Korea or Japan on a map.
The podcast Hot Ones, with its host Sean Evans, is one of the most popular shows on YouTube. It attracts the biggest stars in the world who try to finish a plate of some of the spiciest chicken wings ever. And even the famed chef Gordon Ramsay had trouble finishing the challenge.
Some food lovers say that Bonchon simply came along at the right time with its spicy flavoured chicken. But that doesn’t fully explain its stunningly rapid growth.
Bonchon may have just hit upon the flavours and preparation style that has filled a hole in the world’s appetites. If you haven’t yet tried the chicken that’s quickly becoming a favourite in Bangkok, visit the Bonchon in Chidlom for lunch. You’ll quickly become a fan of what may soon become the world’s best fried chicken.