This post today was brought to you by a guest blogger: The ever so kind, ever so inimitable Lucy. Lucy lived abroad when younger and, as a wife and parent of three, decide to bring her family overseas to live. They moved to Kazakhstan and, for the past four years, have been living in Chengdu. Lucy enjoys everything music, being a good mom, and the occasional margarita. She is also so kind as to grace us with her work this week. So, without further ado:
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken?! How can that be any different than American fried chicken…or any friend chicken for that matter? I am not for sure if I can tell you or describe to you how it isdifferent, but it is! And not only is it different, it is amazingly different. Incredibly different. Addictingly different. I really should not even try to describe (for you need to come here and try it for yourself…Katie Hannifin’s family!) it except that it is crispy yet tender, sweet yet spicy and chock full of flavor bursting all over your mouth. Everyone has a favorite type so it is more fun to eat with a large crowd so you can try all the different flavors of Korean Fried Chicken.
The first time I was introduced to Korean Fried Chicken, my friend, Joyce, ordered it for me for lunch. Joyce was my teaching assistant and she made it her mission my first year to introduce me to all the wonderful culinary delights of Chengdu. In four years, she has yet to steer me wrong!
Back to my first experience….it was a beautiful, sunny day with clear blue skies in Chengdu. For some reason it was a half day. This was back when we still had the old playground with the basketball court and the big shade tree and the picnic tables, perfect for eating lunch outside. I should have known just by the fact that the other foodies at our school were flocking to eat lunch with us and our Korean Fried Chicken that my take on fried chicken would be forever changed.
Joyce ordered us two types of fried chicken: “Sweet and Spicy” and “Garlic Original.” If you know Joyce, you know she is all about presentation of food. When the food arrived, she made sure we all had our plates, chopsticks, and plastic gloves.
Plastic gloves? What? That is so silly!
I scoffed at the idea of wearing gloves and ate my chicken the old fashion way, the “Finger Lickin’ Good” way! However, one thing that was not in the paper bag that the food was brought in was any kind of napkins or wet wipes….So, when Joyce and the others were done eating their chicken, they took off their gloves and had nice, clean, non-sticky fingers. Me? I was a mess! The Chinese often have great ideas, and this is one of them. In a land where you are not for certain that you will be near a restroom with soap and water to wash your hands before or after eating, when eating finger foods, plastic gloves are ingenious. This time, thank goodness, we were on campus and there was running water in the building. Otherwise, my arrogance would have landed me in deep trouble.
Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn’t deliver to our area of town anymore. However, throughout my years here, we try to make it to the restaurant as often as we can. When someone gets a hankering for Korean Fried Chicken, the rest of us are always game to get on the bus and go to the restaurant. Along with taking the new teachers to our favorite noodle or dumpling restaurants, we try to make sure we get them to the Korean Fried Chicken restaurant as well. Last month, for my birthday, we were having coffee and Singaporean toast for breakfast. We were having such a great time all together laughing and talking that before we knew it, it was time for lunch. We had planned on going across the street to the Malaysian restaurant for lunch, but it was closed. However, we were lucky…we were next door to a Korean Fried Chicken Restaurant that we didn’t know was in that part of town. My birthday lunch was eating finger licking good chicken, with great friends in a wonderful city…..but with the gloves on. I have learned my lesson!