Korean Fried Chicken vs Japanese Karaage vs Taiwanese Large Fried Chicken
As far as comparisons are concerned this isn’t really as fair as you would think. All three types of fried chicken present here are in different forms.
Korean fried chicken is served as whole pieces of chicken with the bone while karaage is boneless chicken fried pieces and the Taiwanese fried chicken here is a large fried cutlet with bone but flattened. I guess I could have even tossed in General Tao/Tso into this comparison but what really defines it is the sauce moreso than the fried aspect of it. I’m pretty much sticking to comparisons of fried chicken that isn’t sauced. I’ve never seen a sauce-less General Tao. I also completely forgot to consider torikatsu (panko breaded chicken) although that often also has sauce on it too.
There are a few places in Montreal that specialize in Korean Fried Chicken and I picked Mon Ami for my choice as they are one of the earliest places to come to the scene and have multiple locations. For the Taiwanese there is only one choice here, which is the fairly new Montreal location of Hot Star, a chain from Taiwan. Karaage seems like a mandatory appetizer on the menu of ramen shops so I decided to go with the karaage from Kinton Ramen, which is a chain of ramen restaurants from Toronto which has opened multiple locations in Montreal recently.
Korean Fried Chicken
What differentiates Korean fried chicken from American fried chicken is that the Korean version is fried twice. However, I still find Korean fried chicken (plain version) to be somewhat similar to American fried chicken in texture and taste so I don’t really feel like the Korean version is very unique unless you get different sauces which tend to be overpriced compared to just the plain version. I like that Korean fried chicken is normally not very greasy. Mon Ami makes good fried chicken even if I don’t find it particularly unique.
Karaage is usually cut up into boneless chunks of approximately the same size. It can vary depending on the restaurant and the picture I have below is one with spicy sauce on it. No matter where I have it, I always find Karaage to have a batter that is distinctive and noticeably different from American fried chicken. Like how Tempura is distinctively Japanese, karaage batter just seems different even though I can’t explain it. I personally think it’s better to get the non-spicy version. It would be nice if a Japanese chain that specialized in karaage opened a location here.
Taiwanese Large Fried Chicken
The Taiwanese large fried chicken shown in the image below is the Korean flavored one. It’s served in a paper bag and is a large flattened piece of chicken. A substantial portion of it has no bone but part of it does have bone. The original flavor tastes distinctly of five spice seasoning which makes it easy to recognize. I find it to be a bit greasier than I like. Its flattened state makes it more convenient to eat.
They’re all great and in the end it comes down to personal preference. But for me I’d more likely go with Japanese because it tastes more unique than Korean. The Taiwanese one is a bit too oily for me to have as often and normally I can get my Taiwanese fried chicken fix by eating Taiwanese popcorn chicken instead. When I do want something less oily, I would opt for Korean fried chicken.