One of the best parts about watching K-dramas is seeing the characters heartily eat, from K-barbecue and street food, to Korean fried chicken and soju. Just looking at them fill up on rice, barbecue, and all the banchan (or side dishes) you could possibly want can easily make anyone hungry.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a Hallyu fan to know that Korean food is one of the tastiest out there, especially with how quickly Korean restaurants have been multiplying. Kko Kko, for one, has been serving Korean-style fried chicken and other traditional fare for a little over a year now. Even with four branches under her belt, owner Grace Lee shows no signs of slowing down; her newest concept Kko Kko Home just opened this October in Kapitolyo.
“We started Kko Kko Home thinking it would just be our commissary,” says operations manager Ian Ma. “But the space was too big, so we thought of turning it into a restaurant as well.”
Though Kko Kko will be opening more branches soon, Kko Kko Home is special because it’s also the test kitchen for Grace and her mother Song Soon Il. “This has been in our pipeline since the very beginning,” shares Grace. “We wanted a place where my mom and I could try out new recipes before translating them into something we could bring to the other branches.”
But Grace adds that her mom will be more hands-on in this kitchen. “She’s been cooking for us for most of her life and she still does,” says Grace. “So she has all these recipes. And now [at Kko Kko Home], she can also whip up whatever dish she wants whenever she wants.”
So if you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to eat a home-cooked Korean meal, here’s your chance. It helps that this new branch steps away from the hip and colorful look of the other Kko Kko branches for something that resembles a suburban home. Potted plants and wooden chairs that look like they’d easily fit in anyone’s dining room complete the homey vibe.
Because Kko Kko Home is the test kitchen, you can expect lots of new dishes at this branch, even before they hit the rest of the stores. “While we do offer the same menu as the rest of the branches, you also get to be treated to something more special here,” says Grace. “It could be a special of the week or a special of the month. This is where you’ll get to try our new dishes, and we’ll also get to see the reactions of the customers and go from there.”
Soon to arrive at Kko Kko Home would be the first of these specials, the Samgyetang or Chicken Ginseng Soup, considered a power food by most Koreans for its health benefits. The soup has a strong chicken flavor that’s almost intoxicating, and the herby note of ginseng in the otherwise mildly seasoned chicken adds a layer of comfort to this dish. It easily matches the laid-back ambience of the restaurant; you could almost imagine your mom cooking this for you to nurse a cold.
Daeji Bulgogi Dosirak
Mix everything all up!
The Dosirak, too, looks like a packed lunch that can beat the usual office pantry food any day. The Daeji Bulgogi (P208) is #BaonGoals. Not only does it look picture-perfect in its tin container with a perfectly fried sunny-side up egg, but you also get a hearty meal with thinly sliced tender pork that’s marinated in a spicy soy glaze, kimchi, and spicy fried dilis. Mix everything all up to get the full delicious experience from the blend of a rich runny yolk, the tart kimchi, and the rest of the sweet-spicy elements with the rice.
Chicken Cheese Fondue
Kko Kko made a splash when it first opened because of their Chicken Cheese Fondue (P658/half, P988/whole), and it’s easy to see why. Immediately, you’ll want to take snapshots of the bread bowl filled with gloriously gooey melted mozzarella cheese and make all your Instagram followers drool with envy. Aside from the cheese, an order will get you onion rings, French fries, and chicken chops tossed in a special sweet-spicy glaze that’s so addicting, you might end up finishing the whole serving on your own. It’s a good thing the cheese is just too good and gooey to resist. Instead of masking the already-tasty glaze of the chicken, the melted cheese amps up its flavor, adding a rich and creamy layer to the crisp skin. It's proof that cheese really does make everything better.
But if you’re in the mood for something more straightforward, there’s the Yang Nyum (P368/half, P598/whole) or crispy fried chicken tossed in your choice of classic soy, sweet chili, or Oh-My-Garlic glaze. You might think it’s difficult to get fried chicken wrong, but a lot of fried chicken fanatics would beg to disagree. Fortunately, Kko Kko’s version won’t disappoint with the ultra-crispy breading and moist, perfectly seasoned chicken. The lip-smacking glaze is only the icing on the cake (or chicken).
Another easy crowd-pleaser is the Snow (P368/half, P598/whole) or Kko Kko’s flavored chicken popcorn. The restaurant’s crunchy yet juicy fried chicken is back, this time as bite-sized chunks. But the most impressive element here is the cheese powder, which doesn't taste artificial. Instead, you get a creamy savory taste that you won’t be able to get enough of. Thank the universe these are boneless, because you’ll just want to pop these in your mouth one after the other. If you prefer something spicier, you can get Snow tossed in Fire Chili, too.
Right now, Kko Kko Home offers a menu close to what the other Kko Kko branches have, but with this branch being Grace and her mom’s culinary playground, expect more delicious surprises in every visit. And who doesn’t love surprises (and fried chicken)?
*This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.