Karaage offers new taste
by Lauren Kim
Mixing Japanese cuisine and Southern soul food in their fried chicken, Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. offers unique flavors.
The restaurant, receiving praises from notable food critics and appearing in the popular “Chickenwatch 2k18” series on Buzzfeed, has gained interest from numerous customers. With its popularity, customers often wait in line for some time to enter the establishment. To avoid long lines, it is advised to arrive a few minutes prior to opening.
Upon entering, customers are welcomed with a warm greeting and a cozy interior. The restaurant is small and can be cramped with employees bustling and customers crowding.
When taking orders, the employees show amiable and diligent manners. They make sure they can satisfy their customers by asking specific questions about how the orders should be prepared.
The restaurant does not serve typical fried chicken. Their trademark wings are based on a Japanese-style technique applied to Southern fried chicken. Inspired by the Japanese karaage chicken, the restaurant marinates the meat overnight with ginger, garlic and soy to keep flavors concentrated. The karaage chicken is also fried in rice bran oil, which is extracted from the husk of rice and has a mild flavor. The restaurant, however, maintains Southern influence with its style of batter and fry, as well as the pieces being served with honey.
The restaurant serves their meals by chicken dinner sets ($13.75 per set). A dinner set for two people includes six pieces of mixed drum stick, wings and thighs (if requested, drums and thighs can be substituted with chicken breast), two regular sides, chicken rice and house-pickled ginger. A dinner for three people includes nine pieces with three regular sides and a dinner for four people has 12 pieces with four regular sides. Extra side dishes can also be ordered á la carte.
The chicken dinner set for two people is a filling meal. Topped with house-seasoning, the tender, juicy meat bursts with flavors. The chicken has a crispy, tempura skin that is distinct from American-style chicken. Complimentary, the restaurant’s house-made sweet and spicy ponzu sauces are served for customers to enjoy with their chicken. The vinaigrette of the sauces blends in a tart-tangy taste.
Customers can choose from a number of side dishes, but the mac and cheese ($3.30) is perfect. It is also an Asian fusion recipe. The outside is topped with seaweed and breadcrumbs, while the inside is stuffed with cheesy and creamy pasta. The curry-creamed corn ($3.25) is another recommended dish. The spice of the curry mixed with the creamy corn gives a sweet, savory taste.
Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. also serves appetizers, such as the battered potato chips ($4.00). The thin and light crisp of the potato makes a nice snack to eat before the main meal.
Located at 122 S. Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. is open from 5:30-10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from 5:30-11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.