By Daniel Park
Chicken, Chicken, Chicken. Yes, the 2 legged brown bird. Everyone likes chicken (well except for certain people, like vegetarians, but that’s beside the point). It seems like McDonald’s has to step up their game. According to the KB Financial Group Research, as of 2013, South Korea is estimated to have about 36,000 chicken restaurants compared to McDonald’s 35,000 outlets, worldwide. Now, some of you may be saying, “Oh no, 1,000 difference ain’t so big.” We’re talking the whole 6 continents against a country smaller than Ohio.
The Korean’s addiction of chicken and beer is huge. Neither of these foods originated Korea, but a culture has been created from them. “Chimaek” the word combination of chicken and maekju (the Korean word for beer) was created from the love of the food. It’s funny because there is a joke/slang term referring to chicken as “god”. Of course there is no religion made from chicken, because that’ll be kinda crazy (not kinda, but very).
Let me blow your mind with something other than Korea having more chicken restaurants than McDonald’s in the world. According to Statistic Korea, the market for fried chicken is worth 3 trillion KRW (or about $3 billion). Yes, that’s insane. Even I can’t comprehend that number. To be quite honest I don’t know anything about economics, so I shouldn’t be talking about the topic anymore. All I know is that it’s a big number.
There are plenty of varieties of chicken in Korea. Chicken doesn’t simply come down to the KFC kind of chicken, there are different recipes. Some people like to add special sauces, make a soup, create a salad, etc. etc. Most popular of them all are traditional and yangnyeom (sweet and spicy sauce) chicken. These two types probably make up the top 2 favorite foods of most Koreans, including me. Of course there are plenty of Koreans who dislike or despise chicken, but it is still amazing the vastness of Korea’s chicken culture. KFC should maybe rebrand to Korean Fried Chicken.