Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spicy fried chicken comes at a high price

A takeout order of 10 Wings of Fire from BBQ Chicken & Beer.
The storefront on busy Anderson Avenue in Cliffside Park.

Editor's note: Korean food usually is of great value, because of the rice and side dishes included in the price. But that's not the case with takeout fried chicken.


BBQ Chicken & Beer in Cliffside Park is another place we stopped patronizing after I gave up poultry and meat.

The Korean fried chicken restaurant was a favorite of my teenage son, who dares chefs to make his food as spicy as possible.

On Saturday night, we had soft-tofu stew in Palisades Park, then drove to Cliffside for a takeout order of Wings of Fire, prepared in extra-virgin olive oil. 

The spice isn't the only great thing about Korean fried chicken. The pieces are extra crispy because they are fried twice.

But Korean fried chicken has never been a great value, and BBQ Chicken & Beer drove home the point by charging about $1 for each of the 10 wings in my son's order.

Our order totaled $9.58.

Earlier, for $10 at So Gong Dong in Palisades Park, each of us had an entire dinner -- soft-tofu stew, a stone bowl of white rice, a fresh egg to cook in the bubbling broth and four great side dishes, including two kimchis and fresh, seasoned bean sprouts (118 Broad Ave., Second Floor; 201-313-5550).

The shabby interior in Cliffside Park includes worn table tops and chipped wall paint.

At BBQ Chicken & Beer, we waited 15-20 minutes for the takeout order, prompting my son to say service had improved over the 30-minute waits when we had dinner at the restaurant.

My son noted the menu now offers non-meat options, such as salad and a Korean fish-cake stew.

But he soaked in the worn table tops, chipped wall paint and the really loud American hip-hop music, and said he wouldn't want to eat there again.

The Cliffside Park restaurant is part of a global chain, but headquarters seems to have lost track of this outpost.

The bored, young Korean man who took our order didn't give us a warm feeling, either. He seemed more interested in the music selection than in anything else.

We recalled one dinner there when water leaked from the ceiling into pails.

I did like the frosty mugs of some of the coldest beer I've had in a restaurant, so maybe this place should market itself as a bar with fried chicken on the side. 

Look for other Korean fried-chicken places, including Boom Boom Chicken in Fort Lee, Bon Chon Chicken in Leonia and Peck Peck Chicken in Teaneck.

However, I don't believe any of these places use naturally raised birds.


BBQ Chicken & Beer, 555 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park; 201-840-8421. 

More Korean food

A $5.99 lunch box at H Mart in Englewood.

We've had Maine lobsters for $4.49 a pound from H Mart in Little Ferry two Sundays in a row, but after driving my son to Englewood today, I stopped at the H Mart in that town.

A sign said the half-price sale was on through today, but there were no lobsters in the tank.

In another tank, I saw live fluke and farmed tilapia, and on ice, fresh, wild-caught tilapia from Taiwan for only $1.99 a pound.

I decided to buy Sanford-brand frozen green-lipped mussels from New Zealand for dinner tonight (2 pounds for $7.99), and a package of seaweed, vegetable and rice rolls called kimbap with Korean pickles and sliced jalapeno ($4.99).

I also saw 1-pound packages of Campari tomatoes for 99 cents with an H Mart store card, but passed on them so I could eat several big tomatoes from my garden.


H Mart, 25 Lafayette Ave., Englewood; 201-871-8822.


  1. I always call ahead before ordering from the Korean Fried Chicken joints. Like you said the chicken is fried twice, among other things, so it's a pain in the ass to make. It's made to order, so it'll take at least 30 minutes to pick up. Or you could try making it at home.

  2. Thanks. Why couldn't they pre-fry it, then fry it a second time when it is ordered?


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