I always like to know where the locals visit because you can find the hidden gems. These are typically reasonably priced places with excellent food. A recent find was in Hawaii when a taxi driver told me where he goes for Hawaiian poke. Not long ago, I discovered where LA’s Korean community goes after bungeo-ppang.
If you’re like me, you probably have not heard of “HK Chicken.” This is because the name comes from the popular Korean HK market in Koreatown. From the outside of the market, you would never know that HK Chicken lives inside. You can find their booth along the back wall of the market.
I came here because I wanted Korean fried chicken. After visiting HK Chicken, I found out that the real feature was their bungeo-ppang. While waiting for my fried chicken, I was amazed at the number of people ordering bungeo-ppang. A few customers ordered six to go.
Like me, you might be wondering what boongu-hbbang is. Bungeo-ppang is a fish-shaped pastry filled with a sweetened red bean paste. They make them all day and the probability is high that you will see the lady make a fresh batch.
They start by pouring the dough into a fish-shaped cast iron mold. The chef adds the sweetened red bean paste and closes the iron mold to cook. The result is a pastry that is crispy with a sweet and spicy filling. It is crispy like a waffle and is best enjoyed hot. As I left the market, I noticed that two ladies at the end were enjoying their pastry.
Seeing the number of people buying bungeo-ppang made me forget why I was there. Although the fried chicken stared me in the face, I was fascinated by the number of bungeo-ppang orders. Priced at $ 10 for six cakes, it’s no wonder they sold as much as they did.
But I was there for some Korean fried chicken. Unlike American fried chicken, the outside of Korean fried chicken is thin and almost transparent. The frying process makes the fat in the skin and transforms it into a light, cracky and almost transparent. The sweet garlic-soy icing gives the chicken a nice flavor.
Remember to bring cash as they do not accept credit cards.
HK Chicken (inside HK Market), 124 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004, USA; 323,469,8934; galleriamarket.com