Chimaek comes to Bangkok courtesy of popular chain Chir Chir
SOUTH KOREA’S drinking culture of chimaek, the pairing of fried chicken and beer, is often portrayed through its popular drama series as the favourite comfort food of their leading characters. Given the love for all things Korean, it comes as no surprise that the trend has swept through many Southeast Asian countries and Thailand is certainly no exception.
The South Korean chain Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory known for its fusion take on the culture of chimaek recently opened its first outlet in Bangkok on the sixth floor of CentralWorld and offers more then 30 chicken dishes in different flavoured combinations.
You can have fried chicken with a variety of sauces like garlicky, sour and sweet, spicy, cream cheese and even whipped cream or have it cooked with pasta, Korean noodles, fried rice and tteok-bokki (stir-fried rice cake). A whole roasted chicken seasoned with BBQ sauce, rosemary or garlic is also offered for those preferring to lay off the fried dishes.
“I think Thai people like to eat chicken more than pork, beef and duck. We bring fried chicken in a variety of choices from the traditional way to fusion style. We don’t only offer chicken in different cuts, but also as half the bird and a whole one to share among friends and family members. We use only fresh, not frozen chicken and marinate it in the brand’s special sauces imported from South Korea to ensure consistency in flavour,” says Darren Tan, managing director of Chir Chir (Thailand).
In the eight years since it was launched, Chir Chir has opened 80 outlets in South Korea and 20 in China and has expanded to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Thailand is its most recent outlet.
Chir Chir – pronounced “chi-ruh chi-ruh” – gets its name from the sound of bubbling oil when the chicken hits a deep-fryer and embodies the dining culture of |chimaek that is a combination of “chi” for chicken and “maek” from maekju for beer.
Opened three months ago, the casual 175-sqm Bangkok outlet is decked out with comfy sofas – some in a semi-circular shape – with funky wall illustrations of chicken, faux eggshells, egg cartons, and chicken figurines adding a playful touch. It can accommodate about 100 diners.
“We use local chicken and each bird weighs 1.1 to 1.3 kilograms. This size is good for both deep frying and roasting as the meat will retain its juicy texture. The chicken is cooked to order and customers can expect to wait about 10 minutes to be served,” adds Tan, a Singaporean entrepreneur who holds the master franchise of the brand in Thailand.
Crispy Fried Wingettes
Chir Chir’s signature fried chicken is available in three varieties – crispy, garlicky and spicy and can be enjoyed in a choice of cuts ranging from drumette, wingette and boneless tender (Bt129-Bt149 for six pieces), half (Bt240-Bt260) and whole (Bt460-Bt490).
Garlicky Chicken Tenders with a mug of Cream Beer
The chicken is marinated with house seasonings before being lightly battered and deep-fried. The outer layer is crispy but the inside remains soft and juicy. The original Crispy
Fried Chicken is served with salsa and honey mustard sauces while the Spicy Chicken is seasoned with a sticky sweet-and-spicy chilli sauce. The Garlicky Chicken is tossed with crispy garlic flakes and chopped spring onions.
Kkan Pung King
The best-seller among Thai customers, according to Tan, is “Kkan Pung” (Bt260 for half, Bt490 whole), a dish of crispy fried boneless chicken and tteok-bokki in a spicy-and-sweet sauce served with a dipping of fondue cream.
Rose Cheese Chiqueen
Prepared tableside on a tabletop stove is Rose Cheese Chiqueen (Bt310 for half, Bt570 whole) featuring crispy fried chicken tenders in rosy mozzarella cream cheese, together with potato wedges and cherry tomatoes. The waiter pours the fondue over the chicken just as the cheese melts, making this a perfect dish for all cheese lovers.
Another cheesy dish is Nest Snow (Bt310 for half, Bt570 whole) with spicy Cajun chicken tenders on a bed of rich cream cheese, sweet potato mash and broccoli and topped with freshly whipped cream and grated cheese.
Spicy BBQ Roasted Chicken (half)
The popular roasted choice comes with a spicy BBQ sauce (Bt310 for half, Bt570 whole) that is marinated for over 10 hours before oven roasting. It is served with soft-boiled egg, baked potato with sour cream and salsa sauce.
Spicy Seafood Soup
Also well with trying is the Spicy Seafood Soup (Bt299), which boasts mussels, prawns, crayfish, and squid in a spicy clam-based broth.
Honey Grape Salad
Dessert comes in the form of fruit salad. Honey Grape Salad (Bt259) offers chilled, sweet and seedless green grapes with walnuts, pine nuts and almonds dressed with ricotta and whipped cream. A baked tortilla drizzled with honey and garlic adds a crunchy touch.
To complement the chicken, Chir Chir offers a mug of Cream Beer (350ml/Bt169 and 650ml/Bt269), local draught beer crowned with freshly whipped cream for a bittersweet aftertaste. Drinkers love to make a moustache with the cream and post the results on their social media sites.
Mocktail of Passion Yellow Tok! Tok!
Perfect to overcome the oiliness is a jug of Tok! Tok! available in both non-alcoholic (Bt239) and alcoholic (Bt339) servings in four flavours – passion fruit, berries, green grape and blue lemonade. A soda charger to fizz the drink is placed tableside when the order is placed.
Other drink choices to wash down the meal are Sparkling Soda (Bt159) – a tall glass of fizzy soda water infused with either blueberry or passion fruit concentrate topped with lemon slices and sweet basil leaves.
Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory on the sixth floor of CentralWorld, Bangkok is open daily from 10.30am to 10pm.
Call (02) 252 2204 or visit www.Facebook.com/ChirChirThailand.