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10 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Korean Fried Chicken

The double-fried bird is the ultimate meeting of a shatteringly crispy exterior and generous seasonings.

Crispy, crunchy, double-fried—and with the option of near-infinite sauce combinations—Korean fried chicken has taken the world by storm. The dish is defined by its shatteringly crispy, double-fried exterior and abundant seasoning introduced before and after frying. Fried chicken is said to have been introduced to South Korea by American GIs stationed in the East Asian country during the Korean War, and locals made the dish their own in the years that followed.

The first Korean fried chicken franchise, Lim's Chicken, opened in Seoul in 1977. A tide of economic development brought a number of Korean-born franchises, including Bonchon, Pelicana, and bb.q Chicken, which rapidly expanded to locations all over the world.

Today, Korean fried chicken has gained enough of a cult following in America that even the Cheesecake Factory put the dish on its menu. From Korean fan favorites born in the motherland to American franchises that have joined the hype, here are the best restaurant chains serving Korean-style fried chicken in the U.S.


Chicken wings at Bonchon
Photo: Chris Shott for Eat This, Not That!
Small Wings Spicy (Per 8 Pieces)
Calories: 738
Fat: 47 g (Saturated Fat: 12 g)
Sodium: 843 mg
Carbs: 27 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 47 g

"Bon-chon" means "my hometown" or "my roots" in Korean. Founded in Busan, South Korea, in 2002, Bonchon is one of the most popular chains in Korea, with more than 400 locations worldwide and 139 locations in the U.S., mainly concentrated on the East and West coasts. The chain keeps it simple with wings, drumsticks, combinations of the two, and chicken strips that come plain and with its signature soy garlic or spicy sauces. A complimentary side of pickled radish or coleslaw comes with each order. The chain also serves Asian and Western sides, such as japchae, pork buns, and french fries. Other main dishes include bibimbap, bulgogi, house fried rice, and udon noodle soup.

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bb.q Chicken

A closeup of the Galbi wings from Bb.q Chicken
Photo: bb.q Chicken/Facebook
Galbi Wings (Per 8 Pieces)
Calories: 980
Fat: 60 g (Saturated Fat: 14 g)
Sodium: 840 mg
Carbs: 56 g (Fiber: 0.42 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 54 g

Korean fried chicken giant bb.q Chicken has more than 3,500 locations worldwide across 57 countries and 250 locations in North America. Bb.q takes the "more is more" approach to fried chicken and offers the monty of whole chicken (wings, breasts, and thighs), traditional wings, and boneless options with 14 flavors, including "cheesling" dip so you can dip your sauced chicken in powdered cheese for an extra punch of fat and flavor. Favorites include the extra-crispy unsauced  Golden Original, soy garlic, and honey garlic. Spice levels are denoted with graphics of flames. Turn the heat up with smoky spicy galbi, Wings of Fire, or Hot Mala.


Spicy Korean Q wings from Wingstop
Photo: Wingstop/X
Spicy Korean Q (Per 1 Piece)
Calories: 980
Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 1.5 g)
Sodium: 135 mg
Carbs: 3 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 2 g

American chicken wing franchise Wingstop has more than 1,700 locations around the U.S. and the world. Its spicy Korean fried chicken flavor spurred a flurry of taste tests and recreations on TikTok under the hashtag #spicykoreanq. "Ginger, garlic, sriracha, and crushed red pepper create the perfect balance of sweet and spicy," the website proclaims. Tiktoker @travelingfoodreviews gives the Korean Q tenders 10 out of 10, and wing specialist @phatvick aka the "wing man" gives it an overall positive review, noting, "I do taste the Korean… I taste the sriracha and the garlic. They could've increased the red pepper on this a little bit."

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Left Wing Bar

Left Wing Bar's Three Flavors Fried Chicken
Photo: Left Wing Bar
Nutrition information unavailable

Nothing goes better with crispy Korean fried chicken than a cold beer. Seoul-born franchise Left Wing Bar capitalizes on this universal truth at its seven U.S. locations. The chain only serves crispy boneless or classic wings. Choose your sauce options from Original (no sauce), Sweet and Spicy (sticky seasoned sauce), House Special (wok stir-fried with spicy garlic sauce), Go Bachi (Korean chili BBQ sauce) or Khan Bachi (soy teriyaki barbecue sauce).

Pair with cabbage mix, pickled radish, rice, sweet and spicy dipping sauce, and an ice-cold beer. Sides include rice bowls with salad, spicy ddukboki, corn chicken, fried mac and cheese, and chicken cheese fries.

BHC Chicken

Crispy fried chicken topped with Bburinkle cheese seasoning at BHC Chicken
Photo: BHC Chicken
Nutrition information unavailable

BHC Chicken is the KFC of Korea. It claims to be the No. 1 chicken brand in Korea and boasts more than 2,100 stores worldwide. The franchise recently opened a store in LA with plans to expand all over the U.S. Specialty flavors include Bburinkle, chicken coated in the chain's signature Korean cheese seasoning, Matcho-King, which is wok-tossed in aromatics and aged soy sauce, and the self-explanatory Sweet and Spicy. Along with a range of fried cheesy sides, you can also get your Korean fried chicken in sandwich form on bread. The signature sandwich topped with Bburinkle seasoning and lemon yogurt sauce is spectacular.

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CM Chicken

assorted chicken dishes.
Photo: Postmates
Nutrition information unavailable

CM Chicken (Choong Man Chicken) is a Korean chain with U.S. locations in Illinois, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Menus vary by location, but U.S. menus feature tenders, drums, wings, and half and whole chickens that you can get in classic fried format or "snow" style—that is, smothered in a sauce of your choice and topped with spiced onions.

Specialties include the soy garlic spring onion chicken (crispy chicken in a soy glaze mixed in soy garlic dressing and topped with spring onions) and lemon spring onion chicken (topped with spring onions in a lemon dressing). The chain also serves fried chicken gizzard in original, soy garlic, and red hot pepper (sweet and spicy chicken gizzard in house-made gochujang sauce) flavors.


A closeup of Korean-style fried chicken from the Pelicana Chicken restaurant chain
Photo: Pelicana Chicken/Facebook
Nutrition information unavailable

Started in 1982 in Daejeon City, South Korea, Pelicana is one of the longest-running and most successful Korean fried chicken franchises, with more than 3,000 locations worldwide and 28 locations in the U.S. Offerings vary depending on location, but specialties include its signature sweet and spicy chicken and hot chili chicken. Along with deep-fried indulgences such as crispy donut cheese balls and twisted mochi donuts, the chain also serves Korean comfort food dishes like fried rice, bulgogi, and kimchi pancakes. As one NYC-based Yelp reviewer announced after visiting a branch, "The Chicken Here is F#&*ing Ridiculously Good."

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Shake Shack

shake shack korean fried chicken sandwich_
Photo: Shake Shack
Korean Style Chicken Sandwich (Per Order)
Calories: 600
Fat: 27 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1020 mg
Carbs: 55g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 34 g

Shake Shack originally came up with this menu item for its South Korean market, and customers liked it so much the chain brought it to the U.S. The East Coast-born burger chain's limited-time-only Korean-Style Chicken Sandwich features a gochujang-glazed crispy chicken breast over a white kimchi slaw, topped with toasted sesame seeds. You can also order the chicken on a lettuce wrap for those looking to cut carbs. TikTokers were pleased with the flavors, with one reviewer noting, "The sauce is sweet, spicy… it's actually relatable to Korean flavors." Another praising the slaw. When one TikToker had actual Koreans do a taste test, the reactions were just as positive.

Kyochon Chicken

A box of Korean-style fried chicken from KyoChon restaurant
Photo: KyoChon Malaysia/Facebook
Nutrition information unavailable

Kyochon Chicken is a fan favorite among South Koreans, and thanks to recent expansion into the U.S. (and plans for more), Americans can join the club. The franchise has 68 locations worldwide and four in the U.S., mainly on the West Coast. Offerings vary depending on location, but specialties include yangnyum (sweet and spicy) style and salsal, crispy rice balls with boneless fried chicken breast. Currently, the chain's U.S. locations only serve chicken wings, which you can get with or without bone. Along with chicken wings, the chain serves a satisfyingly fresh, crispy rice chicken salad and all the classic sides you would want with wings, like fries and tteokbokki.

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The Cheesecake Factory

cheesecake factory korean fried chicken
Photo: Courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory
Korean Fried Chicken (Per Order)
Calories: 1,830
Fat: 75 g (Saturated Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 1.5 g)
Sodium: 3,960 mg
Carbs: 240 g (Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 65 g)
Protein: 50 g

Being put on The Cheesecake Factory's gargantuan menu is the ultimate marker of acceptance: You know that Korean Fried Chicken has come full circle when it lands among the air-conditioned malls and minivan mafia of Middle America.

The Cheesecake Factory serves a more nutritious take on Korean fried chicken by wok-tossing boneless crispy chicken with Spicy Korean barbecue sauce and serving it over rice with kimchi, avocado, mushrooms, sesame seeds, and cilantro for some vegetables to balance out the bowl. TikTok reviews were mostly positive, with @eatdrinkbemandy liking "how the chicken is light and airy but still super crunchy… The heat level is subtle."

Clara Wang
Clara Wang is a freelance writer based in Austin, TX who mostly muses about food, culture, sex, and the unbearable lightness of being a 5’0” Yellow girl quicker on her feet than Borat’s lawyers. Read more about Clara