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The warming Bulgogi Fried Rice spreads its strong pleasant aroma waiting to be eaten. The soy garlic wings fills the consumer with temptation as it glistens in the sun’s natural light. Photo by Shawn Ho.

Bringing new styles of fried chicken to San Gabriel

Growing up in San Gabriel Valley, the only types of fried chicken I knew of were Popeyes Louisiana Fried Chicken, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Walking down Las Tunas Boulevard, I noticed a large black and red sign announcing that Bonchon was going to open a location in San Gabriel. Curious about how this new fried chicken would taste, I decided to go.

Bonchon, according to their website, translates to “my hometown,” and is a Korean fried chicken food chain which originated from Busan, South Korea in 2002. I arrived at Bonchon around 1 p.m. and expected a half-filled restaurant because I went during their soft-opening. Contrary to my belief, the place was packed with a wait time between 20 and 40 minutes.

Once seated, I noticed that the restaurant was a bit small. Korean Pop music resounded off the walls which were adorned aesthetically with the names of cities Bonchon has a location in.

Briefly after being seated, I was given two menus: the regular and lunch special ones. I was surprised by the simplicity of the menu and its modest amount of items. Although the establishment’s main focus is Korean fried chicken, the menu additionally included starters from American, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine. The price of the starters ranged between $6 and $12 while the entrees were priced between $8 and $34, depending on the amount of chicken.

Being that they were known for their fried chicken, which was double-fried with one of their two secret sauces, I decided to order an eight-piece of their signature fried chicken soy garlic wings. Within 20 minutes, my order came. I was also given a convenient metal bucket for the remains of my fried chicken wings.  

The skin of the chicken wing was extremely crispy and savory. The meat inside was very moist and tender but sadly bland. However, the flavor of the skin greatly compensates for the insides as the taste is significantly overpowering. I could not stop eating; the soy garlic flavor had me hooked. Bonchon lived up to its third-place rank in the “16 Addictive Chicken Wing Spots in LA, 2018 Edition,” by Eater Los Angeles.

Bonchon is a fantastic eatery for Korean fried chicken as it has extremely crispy skin and strong savory flavors. Their location on Las Tunas Boulevard makes it very convenient for an after-school snack or meal. Although the price may seem intimidating, it is definitely worth your money and time.

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