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Korean Fried Chicken Is Ready For the Mainstream

What’s all the hoopla over KFC? No, not that KFC, I’m talking about Korean fried chicken, which is letting it be known it’s not just a substitute for American fried chicken, but is its own thing entirely. Spots like Momofuku Ko, Bonchon Chicken, The Gangjung and OG KFC franchise, Pelicana Chicken, are only a few that have made a name on the food scene. They’re waving the banner high for other established joints like The Prince and Kyochon, who have held it down in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood for years. Ever heard of quadruple fried chicken? I hadn’t either. But before we dive into South Korea’s take on fried chicken, let me give ya’ll a little background.

Established in 1977 in the basement of Seoul’s Shinsegae Department Store, the first modern-day Korean fried chicken joint was called “Lims Chicken.” As the first fried chicken franchise in South Korea, Lims became extremely popular amongst locals who were used to eating chicken boiled with rice and ginseng. The restaurant employed a cooking method that involves frying the chicken twice, thus creating a version of fried chicken that was thinner and crispier than its American counterpart. As the demand for fried chicken in Korea grew, it was the arrival of Pelicana Chicken in 1982 that really changed the game. 

Photo by: National Institute of Korean Language on WikiCommons, CC BY-SA 2.0 KR

Pelicana created what we know today as Korean fried chicken by being the first to drench it in sweet and spicy sauce. This approach is popularly referred to as “yangnyeom (seasoned) chicken,” and was a driving stimulus behind future innovations on the KFC scene.

Evolving as the years progressed, today there are four flavors and three styles of Korean fried chicken available for chicken lovers. “Dankganjeong” is the most traditional flavor of KFC, and is considered by some to be the Korean version of orange chicken. It’s fried twice using potato or corn starch mixed with seasoning, and glazed with a sweet garlic soy sauce. One LA-based restaurant that’s fittingly named and known for their dankganjeong is The Gangjung. They offer an array of flavors from garlic to barbeque. Out east in New York, modern Korean soul food gastropub, Windrose, provides an upscale presentation using a cloche as a makeshift smoker that when removed reveals glistening dankganjeong.

Another flavor is “padak,” which means “green onion-chicken.” It’s plain fried chicken smothered with slivers of fresh green onions. Palisades Park, NJ hot spot MaMa Chicken features generous portions of padak on their menu along with a range of options to keep your taste satisfied.

For the humble palate there’s plain ol’ fried chicken, which is named “huraideu.” David Chang’s famous Monofuku Ko has what is called “Fried Chicken But Cold,” which is exactly what you think. The prestige lies in the quadruple fried skin which maintains its crispiness even after refrigeration.

The other two KFC styles are “sunsal,” meaning “boneless” and “tongdak,” which means “whole chicken.” Lims Chicken originally popularized tongdak in the 1970s. It’s made by submerging a whole chicken into a fryer until it’s extra crispy, and is then served rotisserie style. 

Photo by: happy o’ne on WikiCommons, CC By 2.0 KR

As you can see, there’s a KFC style for every mood. Fried chicken will always be a comfort food staple and as Korean fried chicken continues to gain mainstream popularity, you can expect more unique approaches.

Next time you’re trying to decide how to appease your munchies after a night of partying, be sure to type “Korean fried chicken near me,” into your search engine.

Culture Tastemade/Snapchat

15 Foods You Either Loved or Hated Growing Up

Growing up, everyone had drastic opinions about food — maybe all things, if we’re being honest here. As kids, we’d take one bite of a meal and declare it to be the only food worth eating ever again, or we’d sniff something on our plate and knew it to be non-edible slop that had been served to us for reasons beyond our understanding. We weren’t exactly known for our nuanced palates.

But it’s not like kids agreed on what those foods were. We didn’t have nationwide or global meetings deciding which pizza toppings were good or bad. Weirdest of all were the foods that offered no middle ground whatsoever. They were the foods that no one was simply “meh” about. Throughout our childhood, these were foods that we either super absolutely loved or very much absolutely hated. Let’s look at those top contenders of what drove us wild, whether good or bad. Let’s celebrate that divide!


A meal that could arguably drum up suspicion from the get-go, casserole has a history of being a thick, creamy jungle of who knows what. However, sometimes it could just be a savory cascade of all your favorite goodies inside a deliciously layered festival of flavor.

Brussels Sprouts

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Well, well, well… look what food’s become the big ticket item in hip gastropubs these days, the food that was steamy, bland nonsense back in the day. This is a food that sincerely, wholly depends on who’s at the kitchen’s helm. It could either be crispy Heaven or boiled Hell.


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A loaf of meat? Incredible. A loaf of meat? Gross. Yes, this truly drove a wedge between families, as some would consider it a mysterious piece of meat combo that could get you insanely sick or a wonderful combination of all things savory.

Banana Pudding

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A relic leftover from the era when suburbia exploded, this recipe features a crazy amount of cream (just as a lot of things did back then). Not everyone was into that as youths. In fact, some kids hate biting into such floofy nonsense, only to get a bite of a Nilla Wafer, which wasn’t exactly Oreo. But then there were those who adored banana pudding. It was unique! It was carefree sugary mania! It tasted like a season that didn’t exist! In short, it was paradise found.


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This one definitely carries over into adulthood, with some of the kids who hated mushrooms turning into fungi lovers. Growing up, this could make or break pizza. They could be tolerated or savored in soups. It was sibling against sibling, spouse against spouse; rare was it for an entire household to agree if mushrooms were good.

Goat Cheese

When it comes to tang, goat cheese would basically slap around your tastebuds. You were just trying to enjoy your pizza, sandwich, or what have you, and in came this flavor that was super tangy aggressive and entirely without chill. But for others, it was such a weird, unique flavor you couldn’t help but love it. Goat cheese took otherwise predictable meals and gave them a tangy, cheesy twist. It was always just the right amount too, so it never got to be too wild.

Black Licorice

To you, this was either a lie posing as candy or a very unique sweet treat that not enough folk appreciated. Some argued it was for old people; some argued that most people’s mouths are just broken. It was either a pungent funk or a pleasant surprise. No one will ever agree and we’ll fight about black licorice until we’re all dead.


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These remain insanely divisive, but everything was magnified when we were kids. For the most part, these were too weird to add to anything and even stranger to add little fish to the most sacred of all kid’s meals — pizza. But to those craving salty meat, what delivered like anchovies? Plus, they always came in a bunch, so it felt like a relentlessly giving snack.

Nilla Wafers

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These always seemed like adult cookies, like the kind of sweets people who never lived enjoyed. They’d eat these for some reason, even though ice cream sundaes and every kind of candy bar existed. But, on the other hand, these were still cookies and cookies are chill and can always be dunked in milk and make your day right.


Ah yes, the coconut wars of our youth, where it could ruin Halloween or save a birthday cake. If you were anti, you’d take a bite of something and a slow realization would sweep over you as you spit out everything in your mouth. It wasn’t ever sudden. If you were pro, then you licked your lips and would accidentally eat, like, five helpings of anything with coconut. That was like consuming summer and feeling the sunshine course through you.

Blue Cheese

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Sure, the idea of eating moldy cheese outright sounded unappetizing for some (insane even), but for others, blue cheese brought with it a pure, scrumptious, wild tang. There was no taming it and no one who loved it would’ve want to anyway. But the naysayers wouldn’t come near it.


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Not everyone loved the jiggly sensation of whatever alien life form Jell-O counted as. Some found it unnerving at best and just a waste of time and energy otherwise. And yet, the other half of youngins were crazy all about it. Any flavor ruled; all of it was good. Somehow it felt like a health food you could play with?

Cream of Literally Anything Soup

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You’re born with the cream-of-soup gene or you aren’t. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. What may feel like eating soapy sewage to one individual may seem like devouring a warm sweater for your stomach on a cold day. And so on and so on.


This one can be blamed on simple science. According to SciShow, for an estimated 4-14% of the population, cilantro can taste like soap, due to a group of olfactory-receptor genes called OR6A2. It picks up on aldehyde chemicals, which are found in both cilantro and soap. However, to everyone else, cilantro is an amazing addition to anything from tacos to soups to pastas and it should be celebrated accordingly.


With strange foods, polarizing opinions seemed inevitable. But a raging debate over bananas never made sense to me, and yet I saw it happen time and time again in my youth. I would watch someone bite into the long, yellow fruit like a monster and laugh about how good it was and then I’d behold a livid other person wanting to watch a world of banana-lovers burn to the ground. One day, there will be a war. Which side will you be on?


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How Fried Chicken Is Getting Foodies Massive Instagram Engagement

Fried chicken is the new bacon.

The iconic dish isn’t just a crispy, poultry treat on a lazy day. In fact, it might be one of the most popular foods on social media at the moment. Specifically, Instagram.

Foodbeast Publisher, Elie Ayrouth, pointed out on the latest Foodbeast Ketchup Podcast that different foodie Instagrammers are breaking the platform’s algorithm by posting pictures of fried chicken, a role that was once filled by bacon many years ago in the heyday of the foodie renaissance.

The average fried chicken post has more engagement and likes than any other food right now. We used some food photos from our buddy Paul of @paulsfoodhaul to illustrate how fried chicken is cracking the code, as you can see below.

Photos: @PaulsFoodHaul

Data was culled from 15 different food influencer’s Instagram accounts. Five different photos were stacked together, and if fried chicken was in that list, it would pull exponentially more likes and engagement, Ayrouth explained.

It’s not like the influencers are doing it on purpose, either. If you look at most food blogger’s Instagram feeds, there’ll be one fried chicken photo for every ten food photos.

Fried chicken just blows up.

In the podcast, Ayrouth mentions that some food bloggers even admit to frequenting less than exceptional chicken spots, like Raising Cane’s, simply for the likes.

While Raising Cane’s makes a decent chicken tender, and their dipping sauce is pretty delicious, what brings influencers back seems to be the unexplainable amount of Instagram likes and engagement that each photo from the chicken finger chain brings.

The podcast touches on all the possible reasons why fried chicken is suddenly so popular. Reasons include the taboo behind not being able to eat it every day, the visual texture created by that crispy breading, or the that there’s a variation of the dish in practically every culture the makes fried chicken a common denominator.

A simpler reason for this fried phenomenon, Evan Lancaster points out:

“The aesthetic will always carry the joy.”

If you’re one who lives for posting food photos on Instagram, snap a couple fried chicken pics and see how they stack up compared to the other dishes on your feed. Even if nothing comes of it, you’ll just have some delicious fried chicken to munch on.

Hit-Or-Miss Now Trending

Sushi Mosaics Are The New Mesmerizing Food Trend

Move over sushi donuts, the newest sushi trend to take Japan is a serious work of art. Literally. Mosaic sushi is the beautiful new trend that Japanese foodies are going crazy for — and we can see why.

The idea behind the trend may be simple, but the results are gorgeous. Just like you would with tiles in a traditional mosaic, sushi mosaics are created by arranging various pieces of sushi into multi-colored blocks. Simple yet brilliant.

If you don’t believe us, take a look yourself at some of the hypnotizing pieces of edible sushi art that are taking over Instagram feeds everywhere. You’ll quickly be convinced that sushi mosaics are the trend to trump all trends.

Mosaic Sushi 1

Photo:  @bigmom10

We love the woven cucumber on the sushi pieces in this mosaic, created by Japanese food blogger @bigmom10 (also, amazing Insta handle, just saying).

Mosaic Sushi 3

Photo: @chinamisakmoto

The decorations on these sushi pieces are so meticulously done by blogger @chinamisakmoto and it gives this work of art some gorgeous variation. It’s almost too beautiful to eat… almost.

Small Mosaic Sushi

Sushi mosaics can be made in all different shapes and sizes, as made clear by these adorable little mosaics made by blogger @tsukicook.

Mosaic Sushi 2

This one… this one is just an optical illusion. A beautiful sushi mosaic by blogger @perhotsky had us seriously staring at pieces of sushi for five straight minutes. We do not wish we had those five minutes back. They were wonderful.

We’re hoping that this trend makes its way west quickly; we could drool over these delicious mosaics all day long. Want to copy the trend yourself? Check out this easy tutorial to try your hand at this raw art form.


These 6 Food Trends Are Already Taking Over 2015

Every year something new in food makes the headlines. From bacon weaves to grilled cheese, people love reading about and looking at pictures of delicious things they probably shouldn’t eat. Some foods, however, tend to be more interesting than others.

We dug around and found a handful of popular food trends for this year. Expect to see more of these pop up on your newsfeed in the months to come.



A variety of donuts from OC Donut Bar 

The deep-fried breakfast pastry has seen many changes through the years. From its more iconic forms to some of the newer innovations, donuts have become an ever-changing staple that brings a smile to the morning commuter.

Sure, we enjoy them as a breakfast snack. However, donuts have unexpectedly been a prominent item in next-level dessert trends. Afters Ice Cream, for example, have become known for their popular ice-cream stuffed donuts. Their signature item, the Milky Bun, features flavored ice cream served inside a warm donut. Toppings optional.

The OC Donut Bar, another Orange County-based bakery, is known for many innovative takes on the donut. One of the biggest, baddest donuts in their menu is the gigantic Pop Tart-like pastry they call the Big Poppa-Tart Donut. The Donut Bar also gets seasonally creative with products like their reindeer-shaped donuts for Christmas and Cadbury Creme donuts around Easter.

High-profile baker Dominique Ansel created a pastry that turned heads around the world: the Cronut. Taking the best qualities of both donut and croissant, the Cronut took on many imitations since its debut. Fast food chains would turn out their own variations of the product, albeit under a different name, and join in on the success.

Somewhere between our kale salads and paleo diets, we thought it would be delicious to use donuts as replacement for hamburger buns. We were right, of course. We wouldn’t call it the norm, but using donuts to hold together burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches has now become far from unusual.

Ballpark foods


Fritos Mac & Cheese Dog from Dodgers Stadium

Ballparks will never go away. At least in the foreseeable future. People love watching sports and ball parks cater to that love while creating a sense of community and camaraderie.

Sports or no, people still have to eat. Baseball stadiums have been stepping up their food game year after year. This year, however, a majority of them went all out. Don’t be surprised when you see an all-bacon buffet, deep-fried Doritos balls, or Blue Moon Creamsicles more and more. It’ll be like a year-long county fair.

One item, in particular, made national headlines: The Churro Dog. Which we’ll get to in a bit.

We’re embarking on a world where popcorn and nachos will be the healthier option, folks.



Lamb Waffle from Ink Waffles. 

Like donuts, waffles have become an incredibly popular replacement for starches. Whether it’s burger buns, pita breads, or flour tortillas, everything looks better with a waffle.

Popular waffle house Bruxie is one of the first to bring waffles into the mainstream. With a wide variety of waffle sandwiches on the menu, the theme began to bring forth other waffle-inspired eateries. The popular Iron Press at the Anaheim Packing District features some hefty waffle choices while Ink Waffles, currently located in Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market does a full menu.

Waffling, yes a verb, has also made many headlines. Utilizing a waffle maker, folks can take the most mundane of foods and turn it into a waffle. Be it donuts, cold pizza, or leftover cheeseburgers, if you can throw it in a waffle maker you’re “Waffling” it.

There’s something about those checkered patterns and crisped edges that just somehow appeal to people. Who needs a panini press, right?

Middle Eastern foods


Peep this chicken and beef gyro. 

So the Halal Guys are coming to California, in case you didn’t hear. While Middle Eastern foods have been around forever, there’s something about the combination of meat, veggies and sauce that make folks go crazy.

The east coast, specifically New York, is the perfect example of this. Many falafel spots are filled, night after night, with enthusiastic patrons ready to get their shawarma on. With news of the Halal Guys move to the west coast going viral, it seems Middle Eastern cuisine is something to get hyped for in the months to come.

The food is presented as a healthier alternative to other cuisines, offering lighter choices that aren’t caked in oils and grease.

Middle Eastern cuisine is still relatively unknown to a good chunk of the world. While Asian foods have pretty much been defined across the globe, there’s still an unfamiliarity with food from the Middle East. While foods like falafels, hummus and shawarma have become more commonplace, a mystery surrounding dishes like fattoush, tabouleh and baba ghanoush still remain for most people.

While the hype train for Middle Eastern fare is slowly building, we expect to see a consistent trend in the near future.



The infamous Churro Dog. 

The Churro itself, a deep-fried stick of dough coated in cinnamon and sugar, is a pretty impressive creation of man already. This is a fact. If you start adding it to stuff, however, it’ll start taking a life of it’s own.

Between churros stuffed with jelly, churro ice cream sandwiches and churro popcorn, you can pretty much turn anything into a churro these days. Some kid in California even made a Chocolate Churro Quesadilla that turned heads.

Recently, the infamous concoction called the Churro Dog went viral. The monstrous beast featured a simple churro stick wedged between a donut and topped with multiple ice cream scoops, topped with whipped cream, caramel and chocolate drizzle. The dog is available at Chase Field in Arizona and has since been the product of many recreations, including the one above.



A bowl of spicy tuna poke topped with mango, avocados, greens and sauce. 

The poke buzz has been climbing the charts as of late. The dish of raw fished seasoned with spices and sauces has been a popular craving for anyone looking for something light and tasty to snack on. Either served with rice or chips, poke is probably one of the more versatile dishes in recent news.

Lighter than cooked fish and relatively cheaper than sushi, poke originates from Hawaiian roots. While it comes from the islands, Poke can sometimes be found on Japanese menus. The dish utilities many Japanese condiments including sauces, spices and toppings.

Recently, popular Orange County-based PokiNometry has been making headlines. The quick-service Chipotle-style poke restaurant allows customers to create custom dishes feature various types of poke.

We’d take a bowl of poke over a fast food fish sandwich any day.


TREND REPORT: Kimchi is Actually More Popular on Social Media Than Cronuts + Sriracha Combined


Food trends are a fickle beast, as highlighted by our own Charisma Madarang in her trends piece last week citing that Grilled Cheese was actually more talked about on social media and blogs than Cronuts, Poutine & Juicing, combined.

The correlation proved so interesting that I was curious to go a few levels further. The surface level buzz around blogs, Twitter and Facebook seems indicate that  Sriracha and Cronuts are trending above all else, but with data at our fingertips, it’s evident this is no longer the case.

Utilizing Microsoft’s new social listening tool and gleaning data on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, we were quickly able to aggregate and analyze both share of voice and sentiment towards a select group of food terms that interested us. We picked: Juicing, Ramen, Kale, French Press, Cronut, Poutine, Grilled Cheese, Sriracha and Kimchi.

Here are the high level conclusions we were able to glean from the data we got back:


More people are talking about ‘Kimchi’ than the cumulative total of people talking about ‘Cronuts’ and ‘Sriracha’


People currently love Ramen and continue talking about it positively. Of our sample set, it was hands down the most talked about item:



While Grilled Cheese was the third-most discussed item, people talked about it more negatively than any other item on our list:



Juicing had the highest sentiment of anything on the list. People love juicing, they love talking about it, and they talk about it positively:


70% of Ramen mentions came from a website or blog, the heaviest non-social media presence of any term we searched



People still love Kale. It was the second most talked about item on the list, and had the second highest sentiment behind juicing:



Health items like Juicing + Kale are the most positively talked about items on the list:



Here’s the complete infographic from our Microsoft Social Listening report:

food-story-full home_screen_overview_food-story


Olive Garden Hopes to Lure Millennials with New ‘Tapas’ Menu


In their latest effort to appeal to millennials, Olive Garden is introducing small, portion-controlled plates to the menu. The new dishes will include deep fried risotto balls, chicken skewers, garlic hummus and Pizza Fritta Napoli, aka fried pizza dough topped with alfredo sauce (above photo).

Apparently, this is the right step for restaurants to be taking. Millennials are “looking for items they can share, sample, that allow them to graze,” explained Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc.

According to Bloomberg, Olive Garden began testing the new lineup earlier this year in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan and plans on using these dishes to gauge customer response before launching them nationwide. 

However, as the chain moves towards smaller, tapas-style plates aimed at 20 to 30-somethings, they may be in danger of alienating patrons who visit for large, family-sized dishes. While Olive Garden found success with their never-ending pasta bowl, as its boomer clientele ages, their sales have seen a significant decline in “five of the last eight quarters.” The key will be finding a menu that’s able to attract new customers, while still keeping long-time diners that made Olive Garden a family name.

Although Olive Garden hopes the shrunken portions will encourage mass “grazing,” other major chains have beat them to it. Applebee’s recently rolled out half-priced appetizer specials, while Cheesecake Factory offers their own petite plates including Ahi Tartare, Crispy Crab Bites, and Chicken Samosas. 

Personally, as a 20-something, I’m all for change. Just don’t get rid of the breadsticks, Olive Garden. If that happens, I’ll quit you.

H/T + PicThx Bloomberg


Ripe Tomato Hairstyle is More Hipster Than Thou


Tomatoes are delicious and go great with everything from bacon weave bowls to eggy Spanglish sandwiches. (What did you think we were going to say, “Arugula salads”? Get outta here!) They also protect you from dick cancer, which is always awesome. So, it only makes sense that these mouthwatering  fruits finally get the credit they deserve via . . . hair. Hey, baby steps.

While this “Ripe Tomato” hairstyle is created by hipster-central Hiro of Osaka-based salon Trick Store, Brian of Kotaku notes that the ‘do hasn’t gone mainstream, yet. Japan has been on the forefront of reality-bending hair trends for eons, so this little tomato is actually on the tamer side. Although, if it was edible, that would be some next level sh*t.

H/T Laughing Squid + PicThx Kotaku


H/T Laughing Squid + PicThx Kotaku