Korea boasts one of the most well-developed delivery food cultures in the world – when one thinks of Korean food, not only do traditional dishes such as kimchi jjigae or bibimbap come to mind now – I bet you think of fried chicken and tteokbokki, made fresh and delivered straight to your doorstep, just as instantly.
With the advent of useful delivery apps like Baemin, Coupang Eats and Yogiyo, it’s easier than ever to order food online. Given the current global situation, delivery is also a much safer way to enjoy your favorite foods without leaving your house. Just as the up-and-coming rapper Lee Youngji famously said in a video shared to her Instagram – “Stay at home and eat only delivery food! Just eat tteokbokki!” – delivery apps are definitely a great asset to us.
I’m sure you have your favorite chicken brands, or maybe ones you’ve never actually tried but always wanted to. Maybe you’ve longed to taste BBQ’s Golden Olive chicken after seeing it featured in almost every Korean drama you’ve watched, or maybe you’re dying to try BHC’s Ppuringkle chicken after hearing rave reviews. So many other places come to mind – Kyochon, Nene and Pelicana – and though I’ve enjoyed meals from all these places, I’d like to share some of the newer, up-and-coming brands that are starting to reach mainstream markets in Korea.
Doesn’t the name remind you of something?
Just like the well-known fashion house, Puradak has modelled itself as the ‘high-end’ brand among all fried chicken brands. Delivered in a dustbag and sleek black packaging, it looks every bit deserving of the title.
Not only does the packaging scream luxurious, so does the taste – if you’ve ever found fried chicken too greasy for your liking, you’ll like Puradak’s cleaner, less provocative taste. I originally tried Puradak just for the novelty of it, but it ended up becoming the brand I order from again and again as it’s flavorful but not overwhelming.
I love crispy chicken, so I usually go for the Puradak Chicken, their version of the Original-flavored, normal fried chicken. Their seasoned chicken has also found a loyal following, with many people loving the Toowoomba and Black Aglio chicken. Both are a creative spin on pasta, with the Toowoomba chicken utilizing its namesake spicy cream sauce and Black Aglio being heavily garlic-flavoured. Their General Hot Chicken flavor, modelled after American Chinese cuisine, is also a steady favorite.
Puradak chicken is available in single flavors, as well as half-and-half for those who enjoy multiple options. Every order comes with the customary radish pickles, and the specific store I order from always includes extra prawn crackers as a little treat.
Tteokbokki has become a representative of delivery food, in recent years, with chains such as Yupkki Tteokbokki and Sinjeon Tteokbokki enjoying massive success and popularity. Who’d be surprised? The combination of spice and cheese is the perfect food to destress with, made even better when paired with their massive variety of sides such as fritters and rice balls.
Over the years, many new players have joined the field, such as Eunggupsil Tteokbokki, at one point a venerable fad of its own for its unbeatable spice levels. Recently, the market has made way for a new player – Baedal Tteokbokki, otherwise known as Bae-dduk.
To be honest, I haven’t even tried Bae-dduk; it’s popular to the point of being hard to order. People set alarms just to be able to catch them at opening time – ordering is almost as intense as concert ticketing. It’s supposedly just that good. They say that you’ll never order Bae-dduk just once; it’s so addictive that you’ll go back for it again and again.
Rose tteokbokki has arguably become the hottest trend in food recently, with multiple tteokbokki places releasing their own versions of the dish. Similar to rose pasta, rose tteokbokki employs the use of a heavy cream in the sauce, which balances the usual spice to make for a pleasantly flavorful taste. Among all the players, though, Bae-dduk seems to have taken the forefront as everyone’s rose tteokbokki of choice, as proven by how hard it is to order.
Though ordering dessert online isn’t as common a practice in other countries, the sheer frequency at which desserts are ordered and delivered in Korea just serves to drive home the point of just how developed Korea’s delivery systems are.
While desserts range widely in variety and are often chosen on the basis of personal taste, a single place stands out as becoming increasingly popular – Waffle University.
The croffle trend that swept Korea a while back led to people taking notice of its predecessor – the humble waffle – once more. Waffle University, which offers a large variety of flavors and toppings, found their orders increasing steadily.
As briefly mentioned above, I enjoy plainer, less strong foods and tastes, so my go-to order at Waffle University is always a plain waffle with added apple jam and cinnamon powder. Many customers enjoy the whipped cream-topped options with plenty of fresh fruits and sweet sauces, though – they’re also very customizable, which allows you to order your dessert exactly to your liking.
Besides waffles, Waffle University also carries various types of coffee, ice cream and other drinks, making it the perfect one-stop place when you’re craving something sweet.