Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bon Chon Should Come To Howard County

Does anyone know if a Korean fried chicken place opened inside HMart in Catonsville?

That was the plan in March when Henry Hong wrote about Korean fried chicken in the City Paper.  In his article and a comment on HowChow, he contrasted fried chicken made in some Korean restaurants with the "Korean Fried Chicken" that has been a food-writer favorite.

Now, I can attest to the difference as well.  The Bon Chon chain has an operation in Rockland County, NY where we went to see our niece graduate from high school last week.  My brother-in-law grabbed takeout, and this Korean fried chicken is something different -- a crust so crisp that it shattered, but it was dry on the outside.  Between the double-fried crust, the garlic flavor and the seriously spicy sauce, the takeout box was unique enough that I wolfed down two legs and a bunch of wings.

Now I just read Henry Hong's description, and it's better to quote smart writing than worry that I'd be unintentionally imitating it:
Its product is pretty typical, with an aroma that slaps you in the face with garlic (definitely powder and fresh, in my opinion); a glaze that possesses a pretty straightforward combo of salty, sweet, and in the case of the “spicy,” a fast-acting, mouth-filling heat; and an exterior that although is often described as “shatteringly crispy” is more accurately somewhere between crispy and crunchy, with just a tiny hint of chew. The meat itself is unseasoned, but extremely moist, protected from drying by its cornstarch cocoon. It’s good, finger-lickingly even, but not life-changing, and probably not worth a trip halfway around I-495. Not on a regular basis anyway.
But it would be worth a quick drive across the county, and the big news is that Bon Chon is a franchise.  For some reason, I had assumed it was a big company that opened stores at a glacial pace.  Based on the crowd at graduation, that franchise can't be catering to some massive Korean population.  Fried chicken has an international appeal.  *YOU* could open a Bon Chon franchise in Ellicott City or Columbia.

Anyone know if a Korean fried chicken place opened in HMart?


Gabrielle said...

We were at H-mart yesterday, and admittedly it was just a quick, targeted shopping trip through the store, so we didn't linger, but the only place that we saw that served prepared food inside the store was the usual sushi/hot food area near the produce section.

Matthew said...

@Gabrielle: H-Mart's food court is next door, not inside the actually H-Mart

Matthew said...

if anyone really wants to franchise:

you'd have me as a regular customer! :)

Anonymous said...

According to the Website, the closest ones as of now are in Virginia:

6653 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003
Tel : 703-750-1424

14215-N Centreville Square Centreville, VA 20121
Tel : 703-825-7711

3242 Old Pickett Rd Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel :703- 865-5688

Anonymous said...

Actually matthew, hmart has a food court inside, kinda grungy. There is also hanoori a few doors down which is a separate food court.

brandon said...

I don't know if the H-Mart fried chicken counter is open yet (haven't been in a few weeks), but it looked like it would be opening in the far back right corner next to the kimchi shelves. Last I was there there was a menu up but no clear indication of when it would open and you couldn't see the food prep area (behind a wall) to gauge how close they might be.

Kimi said...

A friend alerted me that a Bon Chon is opening up in Ellicott City in January 2012! here is the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bonchon-Chicken-MD/141030559326642?v=info#info_edit_sections

It's the same guy that owns the Tutti Frutti!