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Korean Fried Chicken: Crack the Code in Boston

Korean Fried Chicken: Crack the Code in Boston

Korean Fried Chicken: Crack the Code in Boston

The Craving Hits

It started with a simple craving. A hankering for that perfect combination of crispy, golden-brown skin and juicy, flavorful meat. You see, I’m a self-proclaimed fried chicken connoisseur, constantly on the hunt for the holy grail of poultry perfection. And as luck would have it, my taste buds were demanding a visit to the land of kimchi and K-pop – Boston’s Chinatown, to be exact.

Shojo: A Mecca for the Modern Asian Palate

I had heard whispers of a place that might just hold the key to my fried chicken desires – Shojo, an Asian fusion restaurant nestled beneath the iconic China Pearl dim sum house. [1] Shojo had been on my radar for a while, praised for its innovative take on traditional Asian cuisine. As I scrolled through the Reserve app on my phone, looking for the perfect Friday night spot, Shojo’s name jumped out at me, and I knew my search was over.

A Culinary Adventure Awaits

With eager anticipation, my dining companion and I made our way to Chinatown, navigating the bustling streets until we reached Shojo’s unassuming entrance. Stepping inside, we were greeted by a sleek, modern interior that felt worlds away from the traditional Chinese restaurants that surrounded it. This was a culinary adventure, and we were more than ready to embark on it.

Cracking the Korean Fried Chicken Code

As we perused the menu, one item in particular caught my eye – the Korean Fried Chicken. Now, I had tried my fair share of fried chicken in my day, from the classic southern-style to the spicy Nashville variety. But this was uncharted territory, and I was determined to unlock the secrets of this Korean-inspired masterpiece.

A Delightful Surprise

When the dish arrived, I must admit, I was taken aback. The chicken pieces were coated in a vibrant, reddish-brown batter that glistened under the dim lighting. It was a far cry from the pale, breaded exterior I had expected. But as I took my first bite, all doubts were immediately banished. The crust crackled and shattered, revealing tender, juicy meat that practically fell off the bone. The flavors danced on my tongue – a perfect harmony of savory, spicy, and just a hint of sweetness. [2]

Unraveling the Mystery

Intrigued, I set out to unravel the mystery behind this Korean fried chicken. What was the secret to that stunning color and irresistible crunch? I delved into online forums, scouring through discussions on the best fried chicken spots in Boston and beyond. [3] The consensus seemed to point to a few key factors: a cornstarch-based batter, multiple frying cycles, and a liberal use of spices like cayenne, paprika, and white pepper.

The Art of Marination

But the real breakthrough came when I stumbled upon a thread on Reddit that hinted at the importance of marination. [4] Apparently, the folks at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis, Tennessee, were known for their meticulous process of soaking the chicken in a spicy buttermilk mixture before frying. Could this be the secret to Shojo’s masterful Korean fried chicken?

Experimenting in the Kitchen

Armed with this newfound knowledge, I set out to recreate the Shojo experience in my own kitchen. I started by marinating chicken pieces in a blend of buttermilk, hot sauce, and a medley of spices. After letting the flavors meld for 24 hours, I dredged the chicken in a cornstarch-based batter and fried it, not once, not twice, but three times, just as the online chatter had suggested. [5]

Perfecting the Technique

The results were promising, but not quite there yet. The color was right, and the crust had that satisfying crunch, but the heat factor just wasn’t as intense as I remembered from Shojo. Back to the drawing board, I experimented with different chili peppers, playing with the ratio of cayenne to white pepper. [6] And then it hit me – the key might not be in the batter at all, but in the marinade.

A Breakthrough Moment

I decided to take a page from the Gus’s playbook and amp up the heat factor by infusing the buttermilk with a generous dose of chopped fresh jalapeños. The transformation was remarkable. As the chicken sizzled in the hot oil, the spices seemed to penetrate deep into the meat, resulting in a flavor explosion in every bite. [7]

Savoring the Final Product

With a triumphant grin, I plated my homemade Korean fried chicken, admiring the glistening, ruby-red exterior. It was a work of art, to be sure, but more importantly, it was a taste sensation that rivaled anything I had experienced at Shojo. As I sank my teeth into that first juicy morsel, I couldn’t help but let out a satisfied sigh. The code had been cracked, and the fried chicken gods had smiled upon me.

Conclusion: A Culinary Journey Worth Embarking On

From the vibrant, modern ambiance of Shojo to the laborious, yet rewarding process of perfecting Korean fried chicken at home, this journey has been a true adventure for the senses. Whether you’re a seasoned fried chicken aficionado or simply in search of a new culinary thrill, I encourage you to embark on your own quest to uncover the secrets of this beloved dish. Who knows what delightful surprises await?


[1] Tiny Urban Kitchen. (2015, January 29). Shojo Boston.

[2] Olivesdinner. (n.d.). Veggie Grill Copycat Recipe: Koreatown Tacos.

[3] Reddit. (2022, July 27). Can we talk fried chicken?

[4] Reddit. (2018, March 26). Homemade Korean Fried Chicken Drumsticks.

[5] The Fried Chicken Blog. (2013, July 16). Gus’s Fried Chicken Update: July 16, 2013.

[6] Yelp. (n.d.). Search for “Best Korean Restaurant” in Boston, MA.

[7] Yelp. (n.d.). Search for “Kentucky Fried Chicken” near Point Loma, San Diego, CA.