You’re a foreigner in a foreign land. You want to become one with the Korean people. What do you do? Well, one of the most quintessential Korean things to do is have Korean-style fried chicken with beer or chimaek (Korean words for “chicken” and “beer” combined). Since the discovery of fried chicken in the mid-1900s, fried chicken and beer became a local and global phenomenon as well as a major component in Korean dining. Today, many flock to Korea from all over the world to try the best Korean chicken.

Top 5 Best Korean Chicken

In recent years, fried chicken companies in Korea have grown further with the amazing that is technology! Yes! The best Korean chicken brands all have a mobile app service that delivers chicken straight to you! If you’d like to read about how to order food to deliver to your house, read our article How To Order Food Delivery in Korea.

You can also check out this video on how to order food delivery in Korea.

Korean Chicken Vocabulary

Before we get started, there are a few words that you need to know to navigate the world of Korean fried chicken: 순살, 순한 맛, 매콤한 맛, 불닭. and 양념.

If you like your chicken without bones, you can order 순살 or ‘soon sal.’ If you like spicy but not too much spicy, 순한 맛 may be right for you! In Korean, 순한 맛 (soonhan mat) means ‘mildly spicy.’ 매콤한 맛 (maekomhan mat) means ‘spicy’ and this is spicier than 순한 맛. With a name that literally means ‘fire chicken,’ 불닭 is for the truly daring—those who love a spicy flavor that has no bounds. 양념 (yang nyeom) is one of the best sauces for the best Korean chicken. It’s a type of seasoned soy sauce, a bit similar to teriyaki.

순살soon-salboneless
순한 맛soon-han mahtmildly spicy
매콤한 맛mae-kohm mahtspicy
불닭bul-dakvery spicy (literally ‘fire chicken’)
양념yang-nyeoma type of seasoned sauce

This article will outline the best Korean chicken brands in Korea whose fried chicken you must try immediately!

Note: no matter where you go or order for delivery, the chicken dishes you’ll order (fried or otherwise) will be cheap and always between ₩10,000– ₩30,000. Prices for individual dishes are shown later in this article. 

Kyochon Chicken

As one of the best chicken brands in Korea, Kyochon Chicken’s business vision is to expand the Kyochon brand to a global scale, reaching customers in all corners of the globe. Kyochon’s mission is to always bring quality, authentic, and delicious fried chicken dishes to the table.

First established in 1991, Kyochon now has over 48,000 customers at their 1,000 locations all over Korea. Kyochon also has 37 franchise stores in 6 countries: China, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the US.

Kyochon Chicken’s Best Menu Items

Nene Chicken

Operating on the idea that fast service means a fast increase in their number of customers, Nene Chicken believes in putting all their efforts serving its customers. With original, high-quality ingredients, Nene Chicken makes their chicken with customer’s satisfaction and health in mind, and over the years, they have come out with different flavors, some of which the world has never seen before.

Nene Chicken also believes in a world where we all live together and share our experiences and ideas through the restaurant business. Indeed, Nene Chicken hopes to share some of its restaurant culture with its customers through its own dishes.

Nene Chicken’s Best Menu Items

Goobne Chicken

Goobne Chicken has a cooking process that stands out in the fried chicken industry; they do not use a single drop of any type of oil while cooking their fried chicken. Because of this, all of Goobne’s chicken contains less transfat, carbohydrates, sodium, and calories.

When Goobne Chicken was first established, the founders were looking for a way to create healthy oven-roasted chicken options. What came about as a solution to that question is nothing short of a masterpiece. At Goobne Chicken, the chicken dishes are all created with healthy eating in mind.

They not only serve chicken, but also chicken-focused pasta, curry, and rice dishes. You can view the menu here.

Goobne Chicken’s Best Menu Items

BHC Chicken

With a slogan like “Better, Healthy Choices,” you can be certain that BHC Chicken only serves the best chicken of the highest quality. But even better, the B in BHC stands for bae-dal (배달), the Korean word for ‘delivery’ BHC Chicken not only serves their dishes at in-person restaurants, but they also have a successful delivery service that aims to satisfy their customers, wherever they may be.

BHC Chicken’s Best Menu Items

BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken’s name stands for “Best of the Best Quality” and their various dishes strive to uphold their reputation as one of the best chicken brands in Korea—the “Best of the Best Quality.”

Through their various dishes, BBQ Chicken aims to bring the utmost happiness and satisfaction to their customers by using original ingredients and oil to ensure healthy eating.

BBQ Chicken’s Best Menu Items

Where did Korean Fried Chicken Come From?

The fried chicken was first introduced to Korea during the Korean War. American soldiers who were stationed here in the 1940s and 1950s brought with them American-style fried chicken. Before this, Koreans were only steaming their chicken, and their chicken dishes were mainly broth-based. However, with the discovery of this entirely new and interesting way to cook chicken, many Koreans got on board.

What is Chimaek?

You now know the best chicken brands in all of Korea. Now, it’s time to introduce you to chimaek. Chimaek, aptly named by combining the Korean words from ‘chicken’ and ‘beer’ is just as a Korean phenomenon as fried chicken itself. It’s one of those things that, when you’re hungry for specifically chimaek, you know you’re either Korean or have been in Korea for a while.

chimaek-chicken-beer
치맥 (치킨+맥주) or chimaek (chicken+maekju)
Source: Namu Wiki Chimaek

Many Koreans will have beer or maekju with their fried chicken. It’s to the point where one does not have fried chicken at a Korean hof or pub without beer. Or at least any sort of alcoholic drink. It’s believed that beer is the best pairing taste-wise to fried chicken. But do people know the origin of the chimaek phenomenon?

Right around the time that fried chicken was starting to become a staple in the Korean dining experience, another product was growing in popularity; one of Korea’s beer companies had recently come out with a new draft beer. For promotion purposes presumably, the company would often pair their new drink with the ever-growing-in-popularity fried chicken as a single menu item. The combination of chicken and beer, then, became locked as a fundamental in Korean culture. It certainly helped that Korea already had a huge drinking culture. Chimaek was further solidified as an essential part of Korean casual dining when they served fried chicken and beer to soccer fans watching the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup match. Now, having chimaek is as Korean as the hanbok. So, why not try the best Korean chicken with the best Korean beer?

All In All

Korea is a country that’s both colorful and creative, and the culture that has developed around fried chicken and beer is proof of that. The Korean people have gravitated towards fried chicken when it was first introduced to them and started putting their own spins on it. Each major fried chicken brand has a feature that is unique; there are a lot of fried chicken places, but as you eat more and more fried chicken, you will be able to distinguish one brand from another. It’s clear, then, how Korea is home to some of the world’s best chicken brands.

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