“Chimaek” essentially is a portmanteau of the words “chicken” and “maekju”, which means beer in Korean. The Chimaek syndrome in Korea probably caught on in the early 2000s with the advent of greater national interest in major sporting events such as the World Cup, the Asian Games and the Olympics. Koreans enjoy watching the games with their friends and families, and never fail to have a basket of freshly roasted or fried chicken and a can of beer in front of them.

This quintessentially Korean combination has been brought to global attention, especially in Asia, after the protagonists in the Korean drama “My Love from the Star” are shown to enjoy chimaek on a regular basis.

Given the nationwide popularity, Koreans get very creative when it comes to the way chicken is prepared. Roasted and fried chicken are two of the most popular methods of preparation, amongst others such as steamed chicken (jjimdak). There are many new creations that have been invented by chicken-cookers across Korea, including, but definitely not limited to, Pa-dak, Snow Chicken and Soy Sauce Chicken, amongst others.

Pa-dak, which has seen a meteoric rise in popularity recently, is basically fried chicken topped with spring onion and pa-dak dressing. The most probable reason behind its popularity is that the spring onion helps neutralize the typically oily fried chicken – Koreans generally are not huge fans of very oily food. This also explains why the chicken is always had with white radish cubes, which helps neutralize the oily taste.

Another popular menu that has been introduced by the franchise Nene Chicken, is “Snow Chicken”. Snow Chicken is fried chicken topped with sprinkled cheese or vegetable flakes. Snow Chicken is perfect for those who love to have everything with cheese!

A classic from Kyochon, is the Soy Sauce Chicken. This menu could be called the Holy Grail of Korean chickens, as it has maintained its extremely high popularity since the early 2000s until today. Marinated in Kyochon’s signature sweet and salty soy sauce, this is definitely worth a try.

A very original and new menu that’s being served at Hanchu (not a franchise), is the Green Pepper with Pork. Green pepper is stuffed with pork, fried then served. In addition to serving such a creative menu, Hanchu is best known for its fried chicken, which has been ranked as one of the best in Korea. 

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In addition to Hanchu being one of the best chicken restaurants in Korea, Gyeyeolsa Chicken has been ranked as one of the top 3 chicken restaurants in Korea as well. Serving the good old original fried chicken, the 30-year-old Gyeyeolsa has what it takes to make some of the best-fried chicken in Korea.


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