Korean fried chicken seems to add Asian flare to a familiar American classic, but it absolutely has its own unique attitude that separates from the typical Kentucky Fried Chicken. What is the difference, you ask? Dak and Bop explains that Korean-style fried chicken is twice-fried, which makes for a crispier crust and a juicy interior.
The menu at Dak and Bop is pretty straightforward. You have a lengthy list of appetizers which includes fries with toppings of all kinds, empanadas, bao and mac & cheese… all of which have an Asian flare. And after weeding through the starters, they present and interesting array of Korean fried chicken. Naturally, after reading that the “dak” (chicken in Korean) takes 30 minutes to cook, we ordered a few dishes to nosh on while we waited.
From the bao options, we opted for the k-philly cheesesteak and the BBQ pulled pork bao. Both bao did not stray far from their American inspirations, but I can’t be sure what more I expected. The k-philly cheesesteak was made with bulgogi, Korean marinated beef, cheddar cheese, onions and a citrus aioli, accompanied by a side of kimchi. I was a bit disappointed because to me, this bao tasted like a pretty straightforward philly cheesesteak stuffed into a steamed bun. Unfortunately, the meat resembled classic sliced steak instead of the more flavorful bulgogi that I was expecting.
The BBQ pulled pork bao was also just as unimaginative… pulled pork stuffed in a bao instead of between a bun. I think I was hoping for more of a fusion of Asian and American flavors instead of simply taking an American dish and using the Asian steamed bun as a vehicle in place of the very similar American burger or hot dog bun. Overly predictable flavors, in my opinion.
We also ordered the D&B tater tots along with our bao and they were a carbon copy of the trendy Asian-fusion food truck fries or tots, piled high with cheese, meat, spicy mayo, sriracha and more. We added the bulgogi to the tots and naturally, they were delicious! You can’t go wrong with fried potatoes covered in sweet, spicy and salty condiments and toppings.
After realizing that we over-ordered on the appetizers, out came the long-awaited chicken. We chose the large mix to feed 4 people, which included 10 wings and 4 drumsticks, and we were able to pick 2 sauces from the 5 varieties they had. We went with the medium spicy and the sriracha honey-lime sauces with the thought that we would have a mild-spicy sauce for those who couldn’t handle too much heat and a spicy sauce for heat-lovers like myself. The wings came out piping hot and we added a side of truffle parmesan fries that came with spicy mayo and ketchup for dipping.
The wings and drumsticks were fairly large in size, so we weren’t able to finish the entire mix we ordered. I tried out the medium spicy to start and I was surprised with how spicy it was… definitely not “medium”, and I enjoy fairly spicy wings. The sriracha honey-lime was much spicier, but I really liked the flavor!
The twice-fried technique was the highlight of the experience for me. The batter seemed to be much lighter than your typical American fried chicken, which I felt added to the awesomely airy crunch. I absolutely loved the texture of the fried chicken, but looking back, I wish we would’ve asked for half of them to be fried and simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The sauces were more overwhelming that I anticipated that they would be, so it took away from my first Korean fried chicken experience.
Overall, pretty flat trendy “Asian-fusion” fare, but I’d come back to pig out on some bulgogi fries and try out the chicken without sauce. They also had a pretty impressive beer selection, so that is a plus!