Chi-Mc or Chi-mek
Savory, sweet, and paired with a mug of cold brew, this chicken-and-beer combo has become the go-to repast for late-night cravings or simply socializing. The chi-mc or chi-mek phenomenon (“chi” is short for chicken and “mc” or “mek” for mekju, the Korean word for beer) has even spread internationally to hot spots including Sydney, Singapore
, and New York. Unlike the thickly-battered, salty fried chicken familiar to westerners, the Korean version boasts a paper-thin, extra-crispy skin from its twice- (sometimes thrice-) fried technique, is seasoned to varying degrees of spiciness and sweetness, and is typically served with a side of pickled radish cubes (to counter the fiery red pepper spices). Both the Korean fried version and yangnyeom variation (the latter is usually coated with a sweet-and-sour garlic-and-red pepper flavor) come in boneless and bone-in versions, and can be found at any of the seemingly ubiquitous specialty chicken joints throughout Seoul, including Saerona Hof (522, Dosan-daero, Gangnam-gu), Sai Chicken (two locations: 257-3 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu and 61-6, Dongmak-ro, Mapo-gu), Chi Mc (13 locations throughout Seoul).