Bullet point: $20 gets a “whole chicken” at Country Koko — 3 drumsticks, bunch of dark meat, a wing, or two, and couple of pieces of chopped white meat (if you’re unlucky).
Every piece has thin crispy skin, without the offensive crutchiness of some Korean (and even American) style tung dalk. The low grease style is similar to that of Chicken Day, but the “wheat” flour crust is much thinner here. There’s no doubt the chicken is double-fried and carefully trimmed of excess fat, which means the pro-tip of the day is to phone in the order the moment you leave the house, ie: “full order, spicy, [name]“. The spicy sauce, which essentially turns the chicken into “yang nyum” style, isn’t as evenly coated as Kyochon, but a little goes a long way, as the meat itself is marinaded with the non-spicy chicken carrying a healthy dose of seasoning.
Country Koko, an Orange County export, replaced the perpetually downtrodden Jja Jang Roo, famous for its $3 jja jang myeon. Has anyone actually seen Jja Jang Roo open? Despite repeated calls during Fall of ’12, no one ever answered. Apparently it was already shuttered and being converted to Country Koko, which opened last December.
A huge downfall here though, is the lack of a beer license. As enjoyable as yang nyum tong dalk may be, water simply can’t tame the heat packed under the wings of these birds.
Nonetheless, I am a huge fan. This is fresher than Kyochon and the service is friendly. Country Koko doesn’t fry the chicken to the point of mutilation by dryness, and they don’t charge for kkaktugi (white radish kimchi). Final bonus: the spiciness level is just a tad lower that of the spicy-spicy at Kyochon, which means the bowels will still attempt to purge the aftermath within 8 hours, which means eating CKC is a zero gain weight proposition after the first bathroom visit. Bottomline: Country Koko Chicken is more pleasurable than Kyochon on the way in, and just as effective as a water weight reducer on the way out. Order the spicy fried chicken, and experience the inner Korean han in you.
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