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Photograph: Time Out/Patricia Kelly Yeo

Table at Third & Fairfax: A second visit to BHC Chicken

Can this South Korean newcomer escape the fact nobody ever wants to visit the North Market?

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo

Table at Third & Fairfax is a weekly dining column in 2023 where Food and Drink editor Patricia Kelly Yeo will eat her way through the Original Farmers Market. Each column will drop on Thursday for a week-by-week recap of her journey through the classic L.A. tourist attraction. Last week, Kelly tried China Depot.

On Wednesday, the parking lot closest to the open-air market is full. After a frustrating, longer-than-normal drive on a hot afternoon, the last thing I want is to jockey for a parking space, so I head a little farther down Fairfax, making a right down Farmers Market Place and a left into the mostly empty lot closest to the North Market, home to Chipotle, Veggie Grill, the Container Store, Pacific Premier Bank and most interestingly, BHC Chicken, which I first checked out back in early March

I’m sweaty, a little pressed for time and in no mood to fight the lunchtime crowds, so I decide to stop into the South Korean chain and see what else BHC has to offer. Last time, they were out of BHC’s signature Bburing (lemon yogurt) sauce, plus a couple of other items, and my budget and stomach space topped out at trying two kinds of chicken. What I did try then—classic wings and Bburinkle tenders—was compelling enough to recommend and visit again. In fact, I’ll soon be kicking off a thirteen-leg fried chicken crawl across L.A. County (separate from my search for the city’s best fried chicken sandwiches), and BHC feels like a great place to start.

As soon as I step inside, a gust of air conditioning welcomes me in. The restaurant itself is mostly empty, in sharp contrast to the Chipotle location next door, and I’m starting to wonder if unproven restaurant concepts are just doomed to fail in the North Market. Based on my last visit, the quality product at BHC Chicken definitely competes with KyoChon, L.A.’s other major South Korean fried chicken chain. Why the place is all but deserted, I don’t understand; it could just be, similar to the Beverly Center, that Angelenos generally possess an extreme aversion to the North Market, despite the relatively easy parking situation and 90 minutes of validated parking with any purchase.

At the counter, I order two pieces of hot fried wings ($3.99), a ten-piece box of GoldKing thighs ($16.99), plus two sauces: Bburing and sweet and spicy ($1.50 apiece). Once again, in the realm of fast food joints, I wait a fairly long time for my food, which takes just over 15 minutes. The hot fried wings are a little spicy, but otherwise kind of flavorless. I suspect they’re made with gochugaru (red pepper) powder, which delivers heat without any additional depth in flavor. Overall, it’s a disappointing show for “hot” chicken, especially when you compare it to the spicy chicken at Church’s (my favorite chain fried chicken in L.A.) or the slight congestion-relieving qualities of Willie Mae’s. 

Next, I make my way to the tiny mountain of thighs covered in a mix of soy sauce and honey. The sweet, slightly garlicky sauce complements the tender, crispy-skinned pieces of dark meat. I’m less enamored with the overly sugary Bburing sauce, which tastes like overkill when combined with the Goldking flavoring on the thighs. The sweet and spicy sauce is also probably a better fit for the chain’s classic fried chicken. Despite these weaker points, however, I’m still overall pleased with BHC’s fried chicken. I’ll need to visit—and revisit—some of the other chicken joints in Koreatown first, but this newer import is already on my shortlist for L.A’s best Korean-style fried chicken. 

Meals from Table at Third & Fairfax fall into three categories: Skip It, Worth Trying and Must Have.

Vendor: BHC Chicken
Order: Hot fried wings, a ten-piece box of GoldKing thighs, plus Bburing and sweet and spicy sauces
Verdict: Worth Trying. Unless you’re ordering BHC’s classic wings or tenders, skip the sauces—the Bburinkle and Goldking seasoning on the chicken provides enough flavor.

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