Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smoper Chicken: The Best Korean Chicken in BGC!

Yup, you read it right, I swear by this place! This restaurant (for me at least) serves the best Korean fried chicken in the whole of Bonifacio Global City! Move over Bon Chon, 'coz you got nothing on Smoper Chicken!

Living in BGC for as long as I did, Smoper was my version of BGC comfort food. The servings were big, the chicken was spicy, and the price tag was pretty cheap! So when I got an invite to check out Smoper Chicken's new dishes, the immediate answer was, "Hells yeah!"

Smoper Chicken is  located at One McKinley Place, in between Seattle's Best and the 7-11. The store is still relatively new, having opened on April 2012. Little known to the Filipino crowd, Smoper is actually a very popular Korean chain with over 800 branches, with the franchise being brought to BGC to test with the crowd and because of the very affordable price points, is now a favorite for students, condo-dwellers in the area, and office workers.

Check out their menu. I always order the two-piece chicken with fries (the breast part slathered with spicy sauce, please!), and for P150, that's a pretty awesome deal. When I have company over, I just order a box of 6, 10, or 16 pieces of chicken, bake a couple of spuds and that's dinner for you!

We started our dinner with Kimbap, a Korean sushi filled with strips of carrots, cucumbers, pickles, kani, and tuna. This was a nice start to the meal, although the rice wasn't the sticky kind and it didn't come with any kind of dipping sauce. I like my kimbap with a bit of heat from wasabi, and biting into it, the kimbap was a tad dry, with the pickle juice giving the whole thing a bit of flavor.

If you want to take kimbap to the next level, you can order Smoper's Fried Kimbap. Although it was surprisingly oil-free, I think frying it to be quite unnecessary. The freshness of the cucumber, carrot and mango are lost.

On to what I was waiting for - the fried chicken! I've never ordered the thigh part at Smoper, simply because I'm not a huge fan of dark meat unless the fowl happens to be duck. The thigh parts were slathered in Original, Soy Garlic, and Curry sauce. Jericho loved the curry sauce, as it was sweet and masala-like at the same time.

The chicken wings that were served were slathered with their spicy sauce, so needless to say, this was what I was eating for most of the night. I can't help it, I love my spice. The sauce on Smoper's chicken is always finger-licking good, unlike the very dry coating on it's competitors. I suggest eating this with your hands and just getting in there!

You can choose from a variety of sauces when you order: original, spicy, soy garlic, curry, and tukgangjung, which has more of a sweet-spicy blend that a lot of Filipinos love.

According to owner Jieun Bae, who moved from Korea to Manila more than five years ago, the sauces are all from Korea. Jieun, a Korean national married to a Filipino, adds, “That’s why Smoper Chicken is very unique because you have more choices.”

I'll let you in on a little secret: When the spicy sauce just isn't doing it for me that day, I ask for their secret super spicy blend. They go best with wings and can make your eyes burn and your tongue shrivel up from the heat, so don't tell me I didn't warn you.

The part I always order when getting my fried chicken fix at Smoper is the breast part. I think you get your money's worth with these babies as they're way bigger than either the wing, thigh, or drumstick parts and you get more of that crisp, delicious coating, as well.

A new roll out is Smoper's Bibimbap, the most straightforward take on the dish, with equal parts of shredded carrots, lettuce, mushroom and chicken and a sunny-side up egg on top.

Another favorite I order when Jericho is there to help me eat is Japchae - glass noodles topped with strips of chicken, spring onions, carrots, and mushrooms. This is Korean comfort food, the only other thing I recommend on the menu that isn't spicy.

I didn't taste the Beef Bulgogi - the presentation just threw me off. The beef looked dry and a bit sparse in such a big plate, with bits of onion and green scattered about the plate.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Popcorn Chicken, and although I found it to be dry, I like that I could try out all the different spices by dipping the little nuggets in. Also, the portions for their Popcorn Chicken probably double that of its 'hotshot' competitor. You see what I did there?

If you're not into chicken, you can always order Smoper's Fish Sticks! I don't know what kind of fish they use, but it's relatively firm, and holds its own against the sauces. I find this to be particularly nice with the curry sauce.

The guys at Smoper made us try their newest rice topping, Curry Rice. This is best eaten right away, as the curry amalgamates into a glue-like texture when left out for a period of time. The curry rice, much like the curry sauce, was a bit sweet, with bits of diced chicken, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes in the mix. This is perfect if you plan on going in for a quick lunch.

Another new rice topping dish is Smoper's Jajang Yang - made of a red bean paste with bits of diced chicken in the mix. I didn't like this at all, but Jericho said it was ok and that it reminded him of tausi.

So when mucking around BGC with your heart set on biting into finger-lickin' Korean chicken, ditch that other place and try Smoper for a change. Stick to their raved about chicken with an order japchae on the side, or be adventurous and try their rice toppings! I promise you won't regret it.

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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Smoper Chicken
+63 2 846 3424
One Mckinley Place,
26th Street corner 4th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open Monday - Saturday, 10am to 11pm