With the growth in popularity of Korean fried chicken in Singapore, it’s no surprise that these delicious, crispy treats are starting to become more commonplace in Singapore. When I was in Junction 8 and discovered the Korean fried chicken stall, I Like Chicken, nestled within the mall’s food court, I was instantly drawn to the wide variety of flavours and cheap prices.
I Like Chicken, located within Food Junction, boasts 12 different Korean fried chicken flavours.
The Original flavour costs S$6.50 for 6 pieces, S$10.50 for 10 pieces and S$15 for 16 pieces.
The other 11 unique flavours of chicken are Sweet & Spicy, Garlic Soy, Jalapeno, Creamy Onion, BBQ, Spicy Gangjung, Sweet Garlic, Creamy Cheesy, Mala, Honey Mustard and Durian, all priced at S$8.50 for 6 pieces, S$12.50 for 10 pieces and S$18 for 16 pieces.
Wait, durian fried chicken? Yes, you read that right. I had to do a double take when I saw this eccentric flavour on I Like Chicken’s menu. With such a diverse spread of both traditional Korean fried chicken flavours and more novel ones, I was excited to try out I Like Chicken’s rendition of this popular Korean dish.
What I tried
I ordered four flavours of Korean fried chicken, each with six pieces each for S$8.50 per flavour, and soon, the reason behind I Like Chicken’s cheap prices became quite clear.
Instead of using cut parts of a whole chicken like other Korean fried chicken restaurants, I Like Chicken uses boneless fried chicken, where about 40% of each piece consists of fried batter as opposed to actual meat.
Personally, I love fried batter, but others who prefer meatier varieties may be a little disappointed.
All four flavours had the same fried chicken base, but with different sauces and seasonings. The fried chicken on its own was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The meat didn’t have much of a strong flavour on its own, but its springy texture and ultra crisp exterior was wonderful in terms of texture.
The slightly blander flavour of the meat made it a great base for the assortment of different sauces and seasonings.
The first thing on I Like Chicken’s menu that I absolutely had to try was the bizarre Durian Fried Chicken.
This is where I will have to confess that I absolutely despise the smell and taste of durian. I know, I know. But durian just so happens to be the one fruit that instantly activates my gag reflex. Hence, for this article, I brought along a dining companion who actually likes durian for me to gather a more unbiased opinion.
The Durian Fried Chicken came with pieces of golden brown fried boneless chicken drizzled generously with a creamy yellow durian sauce. When the staff passed me the boxes, my senses were immediately overwhelmed by the strong, pungent smell of the durian sauce.
First, I shall share my experience with the Durian Fried Chicken from the point of view of a durian hater. Hence, if you do enjoy durian, please take this portion of the review with a grain of salt.
Tasting the Durian Fried Chicken sent my tongue on a roller coaster ride, and not in a good way. The first thing I tasted was the pungent, overwhelming taste of the durian, followed by a mellow, surprisingly pleasant sweetness.
Right after, I was hit by a wave of strange creamy milkiness that was similar to mayonnaise. It was the strangest experience as new flavours would surface every split second, leaving me feeling borderline disgusted and extremely confused.
Needless to say, that was the first and last bite that I took of the Durian Fried Chicken. I would describe the durian sauce as being a sweeter version of mayonnaise with an evident, creamy durian flavour added. Personally, I was thoroughly repulsed, but my durian-loving companion had a slightly different take on the dish.
Watching my dining companion try the Durian Fried Chicken was highkey comedic as her reaction rapidly shifted between surprise, pleasure, confusion and nausea.
Though my companion was initially also turned off by the pungent smell, she was pleasantly surprised when she tasted the Durian Fried Chicken, describing it as being sweet, savoury and slightly citrus-y. She found the strength of the durian to be medium, and described the taste as a sweeter and less sour version of sour cream or mayonnaise.
My companion found the combination of the crispy fried chicken and rich durian sauce to be unorthodox yet complementary to each other, as the strong flavours from the durian sauce accentuated the slightly blander chicken.
Though she complimented the first piece of Durian Fried Chicken, her sentiments changed as she had another piece. According to her, the durian sauce got incredibly jelak due to its richness, yet she somehow felt compelled to keep eating despite its bizarre taste.
Finally, the full force of the jelak-ness caught up with her, and soon enough, she was feeling as nauseated as I was by the strange combination. At the end of our meal, her mind was made up: the Durian Fried Chicken was a no-go for her too.
In summary, I Like Chicken’s Durian Fried Chicken is an interesting dish that doesn’t exactly work harmoniously, but if consumed in small portions, durian lovers may enjoy it. Unless you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I’d advise against ordering this. Seriously.
Next, we tried a more normal flavour on I Like Chicken’s menu, the Creamy Onion Chicken. Honestly, I was a little disappointed to see that the Creamy Onion Chicken was not served with fries, as advertised in the display images at the stall. Turns out, you have to buy the fries separately. Oh well.
The Creamy Onion Chicken came with a generous amount of sour cream and onion sauce, as well as slices of raw white onions.
The sauce had a creamy texture and tasted like a sweeter, milkier version of mayonnaise. It had a very mild tartness to it, and the sweetness was further enhanced by a light onion fragrance embedded within it. However, I did find the taste to be a little one-dimensional without much complexity.
The onion slices were crisp, sweet and mild. They complemented the sauce well, bringing out the sweetness of the sauce. I quite enjoyed this Creamy Onion flavour, though it did get jelak after a while due to the creaminess of the sauce (and partially because the base of the sour cream and onion sauce tasted very similar to the base of the durian sauce, of which my taste buds were still thoroughly traumatised by).
Afterwards, we went for a classic Korean flavour, the Spicy Gangjung Chicken. The pieces were coated in a layer of sticky, shiny red gangjung sauce and looked incredibly appetising.
Given how the Spicy Gangjung Chicken on the menu was marked with three chilli symbols, I expected a high level of spice, but unfortunately, I found the spice level to have no kick. The sauce was pretty sweet with a hint of saltiness, but was extremely one-dimensional and had no other discernible flavour profiles to it.
As for the spice, it took a few seconds for it to come. The sauce started out sweet before slowly developing into a very low, dull heat. People who are spice intolerant may find it to be too hot for them, but personally, this was very mild for my standards and not worthy of three chilli symbols.
My dining companion, on the other hand, chugged water after trying a tiny bit of the gangjung sauce, claiming that her mouth was on fire. Then again, she thinks pepper is spicy and can barely finish a whole bowl of mee siam due to the spice, so take her words with a grain of salt.
The final flavour we tried was the Mala Chicken, which I found unique. I was interested to see how I Like Chicken blended two incredibly popular dishes from China and Korea into one.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that the mala flavour was relegated to powdered seasoning instead of actual mala ingredients like peppercorn and chilli.
The mala powder seasoning was too salty and the spice itself was very mild. The seasoning had a light mala aftertaste, but definitely wasn’t strong enough to satisfy any mala cravings. Instead, I was hit over and over by the overwhelming saltiness that coated the fried chicken a little too liberally.
Like the Spicy Gangjung Chicken, this Mala Chicken had been marked with three chilli symbols on the menu. Similar to its saucy counterpart, I did not find the Mala Chicken to be spicy at all. Rather, all my senses were overwhelmed by the saltiness.
For the relatively cheap price, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be blown away by a rich, authentic mala sauce, but the mala powder was pretty disappointing. I’d give the Mala Chicken a skip in favour of their other flavours.
I Like Chicken is one of the cheapest places to get Korean fried chicken in Singapore, and although they don’t stand out much in terms of quality, for the price, it is a great place to enjoy a quick, affordable bite of fried chicken.
With such tender meat and a lovely crispy batter, I will most certainly return for I Like Chicken’s affordable Korean fried chicken. Except for the Durian Fried Chicken, that is. I’ll be having nightmares about that dish for months to come.
Expected damage: S$7 to S$15 per pax
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Our Rating: 4 / 5
I Like Chicken
9 Bishan Pl, Junction 8, Food Junction, #04-01, Singapore 579837
I Like Chicken
9 Bishan Pl, Junction 8, Food Junction, #04-01, Singapore 579837