Kokio: A dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of Korean cui­sine

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Mohamed Samir

The hunt for the per­fect poul­try restau­rant never ceases.This time, our quest brought us to a tiny restau­rant hid­den deep in Maadi. Find­ing a hid­den gem is the big­gest part of the fun for many, and the Daily News Egypt team had some talks about a Korean restau­rant in Maadi whose en­tire menu con­sists of fried chicken op­tions.

Find­ing the restau­rant was not an easy mis­sion, even for a Maadi res­i­dent, it is very hard to come across this restau­rant by ac­ci­dent, as it falls on an ob­scure cor­ner in a cosy street called Road 232.

Over the sound sys­tem, K-pop mu­sic was play­ing. In the open kitchen, a Korean cook greets ev­ery­one who takes a seat while, be­hind him, a young Egyptian man watches over the deep fry­ers.A Korean man, with his coal-black hair, waits on the cooks to ful­fil the or­ders.

Kokio is some­thing of a con­tra­dic­tion; the place is very cosy and mod­er­ate in size, with bright pis­ta­chio green walls and mod­ern-look­ing dec­o­ra­tion that does not look or feel very Korean.The first thing we no­ticed was that there was one small Korean fam­ily eat­ing there at the time, a cou­ple with their lit­tle girl.

The restau­rant is based on a dish deeply con­nected to fast food cul­ture, as fried chicken is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Korean.

The menu fea­tured three main items: whole chicken or half chicken, chicken strips, and chicken wings, with plenty of op­tions vary­ing from soy-fried, spicy, to gar­lic. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are some seafood op­tions such as cut­tle­fish and squid, along with sides of home­made fries, sweet po­tato fries, and cab­bage. How­ever, the menu also con­tained an ex­otic ap­pe­tizer called fried pu­pae, which is fried silk­worm.

We were told that they are fried in peanut oil. We de­cided to taste ev­ery vari­ant of chicken they of­ferd, and we wanted to test the fried pu­pae dish, but the waiter de­clined and told us this dish can­not be served to fe­males, who made up half of our team.

The or­der took less than 30 min­utes to ar­rive. The first thing you would no­tice about it was the ex­te­rior.The soy-fried chicken had an in­fused golden coat­ing, with a bruised shade of crim­son.

With the first bite, the chicken crack­les un­der your teeth, its skin crisp and its meat un­fail­ingly moist, you can feel the soy flavour,not over­whelm­ingly, but just a hint of the dis­tinct taste that makes the chicken dif­fer­ent than any other fried chicken I have ever tasted.

I am no stranger to chicken that drips with grease onto the white bread be­neath, but that was not the case with Kokio.When it comes to the spicy-fried chicken, it had a kick of chili pep­per, pro­nounced, but not over­pow­er­ing.

The wings were spec­tac­u­lar, glazed in sweet chilli sauce, a lit­tle spicy, but within bear­able range, with the same de­li­cious crisp and ten­der­ness.

The plain strips were fried ex­tremely well, re­tain­ing their ten­der­ness and juici­ness in­side, yet in­cred­i­bly crunchy on the out­side.Sim­i­larly, the soy-fried wings were fried just as well, but were even tastier thanks to the soy in the bat­ter of the gen­er­ously sized wings.

All in all, the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing, and if you are a fried chicken fan, you will not be dis­ap­pointed. In terms of prices, they ranged from EGP 150-200 for a whole chicken and EGP 120 for the strips.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Egypt

© PressReader. All rights reserved.