South Korea is known for its beautiful scenery, interesting traditions and flavoursome food. A thriving popular culture has also produced a wave of television soap operas that are compelling and rather addictive.
In one internationally renowned series “My Love from a Star” (translated title), the female protagonist is shown to have a love of beer and fried chicken. Thus, a cultural movement with loyal fans and curious bystanders indulging in this tasty combination. As a result, sales of fried chicken have markedly increased and many Korean restaurants specialise in creating this delight.
On my gastronomic journey, I found my way to Kanzi Lounge. This is a relatively new establishment that boasts a live DJ at dinner time, funky decor and a club style atmosphere. Their specialties include a South Korean fusion style meals and of course, fried chicken.
One important fact to note that many fried chicken recipes call for flour as an ingredient used in the coating. In my youth, my mother always made fried chicken with a simple egg wash, turmeric, salt and paprika dressing. So, this dish was always unintentionally gluten free. However, when dining out it is always best to check with the restaurant staff. Those who are not coeliac can simply push the coating aside. The coating of well cooked fried chicken comes away cleanly from the meat. If you are coeliac, it is best to ensure no flour or soy sauce have been used in the preparation of the dish.
Kanzi Lounge offers a multitude of non gluten based dishes that are enough to satisfy any foodie. In my case, I made sure to take a supplement to counter the effects of gluten and let myself indulge for an evening.
So, after being seated by a lovely host and ordering some fine beverages from the funky bar, it was time to check out the menu. I already knew what I wanted, but it’s always nice to have a look at the various offerings. I’m glad I did, as the grilled pineapple (a personal favourite) was not something I expected to find here.
Before long, our waitress returned with the wonderful collection of side dishes presented before a meal at most Korean restaurants. Each little morsel provided a wonderful explosion of flavour and accompanied my beverage perfectly. One simply cannot visit Kanzi lounge without sampling one of the many wonderful drinks on offer.
Before long, our main meal was on our way to the table. There was no missing this dish, as it consisted of a whole chicken presented on a long wooden dish, served with a generous side salad and wedges. Our initial side dish had opened up my appetite and with the tantalising aromas, I was ready to tuck right in.
At the first bite, the crunchiness of the coating broke through to the most unbelievably juicy meat. The spices used in the coating were perfection in their simplicity. In fact, Kanzi offers the choice of a spicy, plain or soy based coating. I chose a plain coating in order to evaluate the flavours without any distraction. Usually, I do not enjoy fried food unless it is drenched in some form of chilli sauce. This was the first in a long time that I did not reach for any sauce, rather enjoyed the succulent portions of chicken in their full glory.
I did mention the grilled pineapple, and this arrived as I was devouring the lovely chicken. Juicy, sweet and cooked to perfection, this little side dish provided a perfect contrast to the savoury meat.
By the time I was finished singing along to my favourite tunes, compliments of the fantastic DJ and thoroughly satiated from a wonderful dinner, it was time to pack up the uneaten portion (just as nice when reheated the following day) and retire for the evening.
Kanzi Lounge is fun, vibrant, great value for money and a place I will certainly visit again.