Hey, remember our intensive, extensive search for the best fried chicken in San Francisco? Remember Part One, where we tirelessly tracked Southern-style fried chicken, from Bayview legends to dicey late-night gas station stops?
We do too. And we apologize for the, erm, extensive delay in bringing you Part Two of our quest: the best East Asian-style fried chicken in San Francisco. Time may have passed, but our passion for fried poultry has not. Thankfully, San Francisco is a city rich with options, giving us plenty to taste and judge accordingly.
Of course, some fried chicken qualifiers remain consistent regardless of style: the crispness of the crust, the adherence of the crust to the skin, the flavor and texture of the chicken. But when gauging chicken of the Asian variety, we've found it important to judge the specific dimensions of flavor, the accompanying sauces, and the chicken parts made available (wings, vs. nuggets, vs. whole or half chickens).
Why just East Asian? We found something of a deficit of Southeast Asian options available (especially when excluding south and east bay options)—those most memorable tended to fall under a 'creative fusion' classification more often than not (see: Kronnerburger, Chubby Noodle. Andy Ricker, we're ready for you...). Narrowing the boundaries to include Japanese, Chinese, and Korean fried chicken provided us with plenty of delicious options to recommend.
And so, without further ado, our 8 picks for the best East Asian fried chicken San Francisco has to offer. We strove for accuracy whenever possible—when presented with a late-night Korean fried chicken joint open until 3 am, we did our best to show up in the wee hours. We paired our chicken eating with the appropriate beer, when possible. And, you may notice a seemingly glaring omission—the dry-fried chicken from San Tung—but before you curse our decision-making (and stand in their interminable line), you may want to check out the incredibly similar (and in our humble opinion, superior) chicken available in SOMA.
- Chicken with Explosive Chili Pepper at Z&Y Restaurant
- Chicken Wings at SO
- Spicy Chicken Wings at Toyose
- KFC at Aria Korean Snack Bar
- Fried Garlic Chicken at Cocobang
- Kara-age Chicken at Izakaya Yuzuki
- Chicken Wings at Nombe
Tell us: where are your favorite spots to get Asian-influenced fried chicken, East Asian or otherwise?
And, stay tuned for Part Three—fried chicken sandwiches! Got tips? Tell us in the comments.
About the author: Lauren Sloss is a bicoastal food-lover who is based in San Francisco. Some of her favorite things include The Black Keys, goat gouda, and guacamole. You can follow her on Twitter @laurensloss.