An emerging restaurant to be reckoned with to the rising number of chicken based diners is Bon Chon. Bon Chon in literal translation is “Original Village” but probably would mean more to us as “Hometown”. Established in 2002 by founder Jinduk Seh due to the growing popularity of fried chicken in South Korea, his years of experience in Korean Cusisine was his advantage in rising above the rest.In fact, his Soy Garlic was so good within five years has built his first franchise in Leonia New Jersey and finally in New York. Now it boasts of 30 branches in America. It reached the Philippine shores in 2010 and as of the moment has ballooned exponentially to 41 branches. For franchise opportunities just go to their site.There are a few well designed Bon Chon restaurants like the one in Midtown New York, but I have to say, the one in Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall needs a little face lift. For one the place is just too bright in front. I get the feeling the foreground customers are spontaneously going to bust out into a show tune. There’s enough space, I guess, although I would prefer a little bit more to eat comfortably. Any place I eat where I can hear the other table’s conversation is a little too cramped for me.Recently I’ve been remiss of picking choice menu items and just order a group meal. It’s actually practical because (so they say) you get a bit of savings and removes the headache of picking what to eat. So I ordered the Team Bon Chon Group Meal priced at Php 645.00 (US$ 14.45) consisting of three thigh parts original flavor, three thigh parts hot and spicy, a small side order of Kimchi Coleslaw, one order of regular fries, one order of Chapchae, four orders of rice and four glasses lemon iced tea. At the price it was offered, affordability is definitive. Five out of five stars rating for price.I’ll start with the main dish which is the soy garlic chicken. I don’t know if it tastes as authentic as the original recipe made by the founder but I can tell you it is perfect for the Filipino palate. Just the right amount of sweetness and saltiness for us Filipinos but may be a bit too much salt for some foreigners. The hot and spicy variant was true to its name, it was quite hot. My rate is five out of five stars.
The Kimchi was very spicy, of course, but even though I haven’t eaten real Kimchi yet, I have to admit I did expect more from the taste than just ordinary coleslaw laden heavy with pepper. This one I could do without. As I understand all kimchi variants are fermented, the one served apparently was not. I would have probably enjoyed the type served in New York called Dongchimi which is basically white radish fermented in vinegar. The one served here, however, was quite little for four people and had very little flavor to offer. My rate for this dish is one and a half stars.The fries was just what you’d expect, it was deep fried with a bit f salt. Since it was just one order we were, of course, wanting for more. My rate is two stars out of five.This next dish deserves recognition. Chapchae, or Japchae, is a Korean noodle dish usually served at parties and/or special occasions and with good reason because this dish is very flavorful. The noodles are made from sweet potatoes which gives it that gelatinous composition. Stir fried with a variety of vegetables like carrots, onion, spinach and mushrooms, flavored with beef soy sauce and sugar then served with sesame seeds on top. Very tasty, I just wished there was more of it served than what we got which was probably just enough for a single person. Five out of five stars for taste.The iced tea served tasted like it was brewed and each glass was enough for a single person so they get three and a half stars for taste and volume.
We left the place sufficiently filled but not enough to say we had a blast. I’d go back there for taste but I feel you’d need to order a few more dishes to be fully satisfied.