With Korean fried chicken making the rounds on blogs and tables around the world, you've got to wonder: How did it all start? While the trend dates back to the 1960s, one of the forebears of Korean fried chicken and the creator of Korean style BBQ chicken is Banpo Chicken, first opened in 1976. They're most famous for their roasted garlic chicken. The bird is roasted first, then fried whole and doused in Banpo Chicken's signature garlic sauce. That special garlic sauce is the key ingredient here. Unlike other places where garlic powder is more commonly used, Banpo Chicken’s generous use of crushed whole garlic makes their sauce pungent and spicy. It is strong enough to some even some Koreans away, but for others, it is an addictively flavorful sauce. Like many Korean fried chicken joints, the birds are a little on the small side as only young chickens are used. The one downside: there's no draft beer on the menu.
Aside from its delicious food, Banpo Chicken is well known for being a hangout for some of Korea's foremost writers. The late Kim Hyun, the father of the critics, Hwang Jiwoo, and Lee Chung Joon all frequented the place, with Kim Hyun’s students still gathering here. In this 40-year-old space full of antiques, you'll feel like you're absorbing history while you inhale that delectable chicken.