I’d mentioned in MY SEOUL EATS POST that I love KFC. Nope, not Kentucky Fried Chicken, but Korean Fried Chicken, hehe!
The Koreans started serving fried chicken alongside ice cold beer from as early as the 1970s. But things really really took a boisterous upturn during the 2002 World Cup when lotsa Koreans would eat KFC and drink beer as they were watching the football matches. From then on, it sorta became ‘staple food’, both eat-in and home delivery!
They call the fried chicken and beer combo Chimaek, which actually combines Chicken and Maekju (beer in Korean).
These days, there’re quite a few KFC CHAINS, but my faves (as of now, anyway) remain Kyochon and Two-Two.
I read that Two-Two basically has it down pat since it has so many outlets. Thank goodness quality’s fairly consistent, so you can’t really go wrong. If you’re visiting Seoul, there’s one right at MyeongDong, so it’s convenient.
As for Kyochon, did you know that it’s the one which started the whole double-fried chicken craze in Korea all the way back in 1991?
Yup, Kyochon supposedly invented the whole double-friend chicken technique to remove the fats from the skin and that makes the skin even crispier and the meat more flavorful! Hehe, now you know!
The Chimaek Fever from the Star
Chimaek’s no longer a secret these days what with Cheon Song Yi (Jeon Ji Hyun’s character) waxing lyrical on it in the very very well-loved drama, MY LOVE FROM THE STAR.
She was seen craving for and actually eating chimaek in the drama quite a few times. When she was with Doo Min Jun (Kim Soo Hyun’s character), when she was depressed, and when she was at the hospital with her dad.
Chimaek used to be a darned popular summer thingy, probably coz of the ice cold beer and all. But Cheon Song Yi had single-handedly made it the all-seasons food to crave for! Remember she’d muttered about how the falling snow (or was it first snow?) made her wanna eat chimaek? Ahhhh… what I wouldn’t do to have some now!
All that talk about the drama is making me miss Doo Min Jun! Time to post some pics of the seriously-cute old (400yo!) young man, keke!
Oops! Wrong pic!!
Omona! Still wrong!! But hey, it IS his body in those two pics, k?
Let’s try again, hee!
Fully clothed… Better? *giggles*
Chimaek in Singapore
What about here in Singapore? Can we get KFC too? Of course! I’ve always told everyone that my two fave Korean restaurants here in Singapore are RED PIG and Kko Kko Na Ra.
The former’s a BBQ place and they don’t serve KFC. The latter does, but it’s not a KFC specialty restaurant though. But hey hey hey, we now have an excellent alternative at CHICKEN UP!
All About Chicken Up!
Even before we move on to talk about the food, Chicken Up has already scored some drumstick points!
Firstly, location’s convenient along Tanjong Pagar Road (it’s next to 2D1N, or aboutv 5-10 minutes walk from the Tanjong Pagar MRT station). Secondly, it has fab nocturnal hours! Yessss! It closes at 2/3AM, woohoo! Thirdly, it is KFC specialty place and the ambience is very much like a chimaek place.
And… I guess many of you would be interested to know that other than beer, soju and makgeolli, Chicken Up also serves soju cocktail! Yup, am talking about stuff like watermelon soju, hehe! Go check THEIR FACEBOOK PHOTOS and you’ll see that the watermelon soju is a clear favorite with singaporeans.
So it’s really a perfect place to chill, whether it’s just with your better half, your BFF, or with a bunch of chingus. They have all sorts of KFC and other chicken dishes, as well as a good variety of alcohol and other beverages, to suit every palette and every pocket!
One of my dongsaengs POLKADOTYYANN happens to be a blogger whose niche focus is in all things Korean. She was invited by Chicken Up to hop over for dinner last week, and I went along.
Hey, what better way to usher in the last quarter of the year with good old chimaek huh? Besides, I was never known to be someone who would refuse a drink *burp*
It was a Wednesday and oh boy, judging from the crowd and the queue, I guess everyone’s feeling the drag of mid week. Good thing we were invited there and there was a table waiting for us to save us the wait *Phew!*
But hey, they have one of those modern queuing machine thingy at the entrance!
The last time I saw one was at Overeasy!
Anyway, you just have to punch in your contact number and go find someplace to sit and wait. You’ll be notified on that contact number once a table is ready for your party. And oh, there’re actually chairs provided outside the restaurant for you to sit and wait.
Chicken Up has both indoor and outdoor seating.
Honestly, I’d much prefer to sit outside if we somehow miraculously have four seasons instead of the sweltering heat all year round. So, on a breezier day, go on and try sitting alfresco! I think there’s something neat about having a cold beer outside!
ZZANG! the table’s all ready to receive us!
Don’t anyone dare complain about my photos hor!
There’re lotsa excellent food bloggers out there who can take such beautiful photos, so you can go admire those nice-nice photos all you want, k? People who come to my blog know they ain’t getting that here, hee!
Me? I’m a cellphone photographer of convenience! If it’s convenient, and doesn’t require me to walk a mile or rearrange more than five items, OK, I’ll take the photos. Anything more laychay than that, sorry, then I’ll just make do and take from where I’m already seated.
Yup, meet me, BB who dislikes anything even remotely laychay.
OK, back to Chicken Up!
Wah, they really serve lots and lots of chicken dishes! Under KFC alone, they have:
– Spicy Up
– Crispy Up
– Curry Up
– Ganjang Up (Soy)
Other chicken dishes include:
– Popcorn Chicken
– Andong Chicken
– Suicide Spicy Chicken
– Chicken Cutlet
For noodles, they have Spicy Noodles Up, Black Noodles Up and Japbchae. For soup, they have Fish Cake Soup, Tuna Kimchi Jigae and Ginseng Chicken Soup.
Other than starters and salad, they also have other dishes such as topokki, pancake, sausages, truffle fries, etc. Plenty of choices!
Interestingly, other than a la carte, they actually offer buffet dinner (limited to two hours)! It’s called Death by Chicken, hehe!
And yes, they also have All-You-Drink-Beer (also limited to two hours) called Drown by Beer. Very lethal, both!
If the chicken buffet is too much for you, you can also opt for the 2-pax or 4-pax sets.
Me thinks these are fairly good deals!
The basic $49/99 sets include sikhye, which I like! Sikhye is a traditional Korean drink or what some people describe as a Korean sweet rice punch made with barley malt powder and rice. It’s good for digestion and also good for ‘cooling’ the body down.
Or you can also opt to top up $15 to get soju cocktail. Their soju cocktail choices…. not bad!
Wanna know what we’d tried and what I like? Here goes!
First up, the rose soju!
The rose soju is a wonderful choice for most girls. It smells grrrrreat and it tastes sweet, but not in an overpowering manner. I believe most girls who are not heavy drinkers will like this. It’s also a nice touch for a couple newly in love, haha!
It normally goes for $35, but there’s a combo going on right now where you can have the rose soju and tteok galbi for only $40 (usual $55!)
Yes, this is how they serve the rose soju! On a longish serving dish, complete with a stalk of rose and heart-shaped shotglasses!
And of course, the rose presents lotsa photo opportunities and you can go as sweet or whimsically silly as you wish! Here, meet nae dongsaeng YYANN, hee!
How’s the rose soju?
Gotta preface by saying I don’t really fancy sweet drinks. Yup, I don’t usually drink dessert wine and i’m one of those who take my bubbletea with 0% or the next level up. So can’t say this is my thing, but I’m fairly sure many girls and women would enjoy this.
It smells really nice.
If falling in love has a scent, I’d imagine it smelling something like this. A little like shy pink cherry blossoms blooming in the breezy spring time.
Oh, gotta say the tteok galbi goes extremely well with the rose soju! But whether it’s worth the $20 for an a la carte order, I’m not so sure. Guess I’d much rather place my $20 on KFC or some booze, hehe!
Best eaten whilst hot, this one!
Next up, the apple soju ($25)!
Fwahwahwah! They dug out the apple, including the core to use it as a serving cup!
The apple soju was quite nice… A little tangy and apple-ish, but nice! Cheers!
We also tried the pineapple soju ($30) which I loved!!
I don’t normally like pineapple very much, but somehow I enjoyed this! It’s sweet, but not overly so and the combination of pineapple and soju somehow just did it for me.
If you can’t decide which soju cocktail is your poison, you might wanna know they’ve a soju cocktail sampler listed on the menu. They will let you try five different soju cocktail and you can decide which you like and order the full size. Quite considerate!
And it’s a good way to try the different soju cocktail!
Let’s talk about the food now, shall we? Did you know that Chicken Up prepares your order fresh? I mean they don’t pre-fry or anything like that, so be prepared to wait a little while for your KFC, k?
While waiting, the good people at Chicken Up fed us Kim-Mal-E ($8) and truffle fries ($12)!
Don’t you think Kim-Mal-E sounds like gold sweater (金毛衣!) in Mandarin? *giggles* It’s actually seaweed roll stuffed with glass noodles.
I love love love glass noodles and so I really enjoyed this! Was very good, I thought.
Everyone’s serving truffle fries these days! And am sure you’ve also come across truffle fries that don’t even have a whiff of truffle even when you place it right under your nose.
The truffle fries at Chicken Up? Passed! I don’t mean I’d pass up on it, but that it’s passed the test, keke! But I think it goes better with beer though.
And now, the real deal… the chicken!
We tried three different types of KFC, namely, the Ganjang Up (Soy Chicken), Yangnyum (sweet sauce) and Spicy Up. Hee, I’d also listed them in order of my own preference!
Here, peeps, meet Gangang Up, the soy chicken! This is supposedly most people’s favorite too, according to the menu.
I really like how crispy and flavorful the thin chicken skin is, and it goes well with ALL the drinks on our table, woohoo! Doesn’t feel oily at all!
I also quite like the Yangnyum chicken which is KFC dripped with Chicken Up’s own sweet sauce. This is very kids-friendly!
Then, meet Spicy Up!
Maybe it’s the cut of the chicken. I personally prefer wings and ribs. This serving consists of very meaty parts which I don’t fancy personally. Besides, we were taking too long with the photo-taking and trying out other food that Spicy had gotten a tad cold by the time I got to it…
So, hmmm, this is the least of my fave. Not that it’s bad, just that I’ve had better.
Are you, by any chance, wondering how come there’s no sign of maekju (beer) when I started off with this post talking about chimaek?
Hehe, of course, we’d ordered beer too! ZZANG!
Other than KFC, we also tried the Andong Chicken ($33/48) at Chicken Up.
I love andong chicken! I’ve been trying to find a place that serves good andong chicken in Singapore for years now, but unsuccessfully. Along the way, I’d tried some bland ones, some near-awful ones, and some super sad sorry of an excuse of andong jjimdak.
It’s, in fact, gotten to a point I’d more or less resigned to the fact that I could only eat andong chicken when I’m in Seoul. So I wasn’t the least bit hopeful when the Chicken Up peeps asked if we wanted to try their version.
Yea, I know, it doesn’t look like much. It’s only partly due to my sad photography skills, coz the real thing didn’t exactly look like much either.
But fwah! Surprise, surprise! It was very tasty!
It didn’t really taste like the andong chicken I’m used to, but there’s no denying the Chicken Up version was a very yummy concoction! It’s peppery-hot, and it hit you sorta afterwards, so tread with caution. But it’s good! Even better with rice!
Nom nom! Now I know where to get my fix when I crave for Andong chicken! Not bad, not bad at all!
All in, the Chicken Up outing last Wednesday was a fab one. The food was more yummylicious than I’d expected. And I must say it’s worth every compliment that it’s gathered since it started business back in 2010.
In case anyone’s wondering… Unfortunately, KFC at Chicken Up is not halal-certified, but they’d said on Facebook that they don’t use pork or lard though.
And oh! Did you see RAZOR TV VIDEO that interviewed Singaporeans why they loved KFC so much? It was pretty much mostly shot in 4Fingers though, which I also love!
And… the same Razor TV crew also got two staff to do a blind test of KFC served in Singapore and to pick the best. Guess who emerged the winner?
Yup, Chicken Up ftw!
Oh, go follow them on FACEBOOK coz they often run promos and announce it there!
What’s up with ChickenUp Little?
Seems like business is going swell for them and they’re on expansion mode!
They’ve just opened up a kiosk concept at Bugis! It’s not a full chimaek place like the Tanjong Pagar one, so they’ve calling the Bugis one ChickenUp Little!
So cute hor?
I understand that it’s within a coffee shop, so you can either takeaway or eat it there in the coffeeshop. How quaint and uniquely Singapore! Fancy a Korean fried chicken outlet located within an as-local-as-can-be coffeeshop!
Hours: (Lunch, Mon-Fri) 12nn to 2:30pm
Dinner (Mon-Thu) 5:30pm to 2am, (Fri/Sat) 5:30pm to 3am, (Sun) 5:30pm to 12am
Tel: +65 6327 1203 / 9655 9088
48 Tanjong Pagar Road (S)088469
MRT: Tanjong Pagar Station, Exit A
Chicken Up is at the end of Tanjong Pagar Road, towards the Maxwell direction. It is next to 2D1N BBQ restaurant.
Hours: 11:30am to 11:30pm
Tel: +65 9834 6540
52 Queen Street, #01-05 (S)188539
I’d gone back to Chicken Up last night and woohoo! Am happy to share that it didn’t disappoint during the return visit.
Check out the photos and some notes HERE