It turns out there is a guilt-free alternative to Korean Fried Chicken and you’ll find it at Goobne. The wildly popular Korean chain launched in 2005 and now has more than 1,000 outlets all over South Korea, with scores more across Asia in Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
‘Goobne’ means ‘oven-roasted’ in Korean and the cooking temperature (195 degrees Celsius) is the secret to the bird’s juiciness and crackling-crisp skin. Not a single drop of oil is used in the process, which means that the chicken here comes without the calories, cholesterol and trans fat that accompany the fried stuff. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to be a bit naughty – just order the UFO Fondue Chicken, where drumsticks are served with a trough of gooey hot cheese for dipping.
Chicken is most definitely the headlining act, with a choice of seven different sauces that are added between the first and second bake. Fruity soy garlic and black pepper fly the flag for the more conventional end of the spectrum, while the fiery Volcano and the Deep Cheese – a coating of specially blended cheese powder – are a tad more wild. Egg rolls, soups, fried rice, noodles and traditional Korean stir-fried rice cakes are also on call from a menu that allows you to order and pay from a QR code on your smartphone.
And to chase it all, why not complete the picture with some soju? Or better yet, the signature Sharknado cocktail – a boozy, bright-blue tequila number complete with a toy shark diving straight in. It’s the perfect pairing for the pumping K-pop on the stereo.