Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

FUKU, 163 First Avenue (between East 10th and East 11th Street), East Village

Listen, I’m just as excited about the latest trend as everybody else. I’m super stoked to see the new Star Wars movie and I’ve been dying to try David Chang’s super hyped fried chicken sandwich since it debuted earlier this year. But I’m late to the game and that’s ok with me. I won’t see Star Wars on the first weekend with all the crowds that bought tickets weeks in advance. And I didn’t wait in the crazy lines this summer to have a taste of this spicy sandwich.

I went on with my life and when the hype calmed down a bit, I finally found my way down to Fuku. I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon rather late in the lunch rush. There were no lines, but the tiny bar was pretty full with eaters.

Since I let everybody else figure out what’s worth ordering here, I knew to ask for the off-menu Koreano. The cashier tried to sell me on another secret special (with peanut sauce) that sounded good, but since it’s my first time, I wanted to try the one that’s been hyped.

After paying with credit card (strangely, they do not except cash), I found a seat and went to town.

The Koreano at FUKU

The Koreano is the exact same fried chicken sandwich as their original, but has some shredded daikon radish on top.

If you’ve followed the food world this year, you know that fried chicken sandwiches are definitely the dish of the year. Shake Shack debuted one, Chik-Fil-A debuted in the city, but David Chang’s version has been the most revered. I finally understand why.

The gigantic piece of chicken is comprised of juicy thigh meat and a super crispy breading that hides lots of spices and flavor. It’s sold as a spicy fried chicken, but I didn’t find too much heat on its own. Even more flavor hid inside the bottle of magical Ssam sauce. I guess Chang bottles this and even sells it in stores. The funky flavors of ssämjang (fermented bean and chile paste) mingle with the sweetness of sherry vinegar and the spiciness of kochujang. It’s truly incredible and addicting. By the end, I think I had used up half the bottle.

But the excellent, game-changing chicken sandwich didn’t even need the sauce (it was just that the sauce was soo good). The simple buttery roll and tangy pickles were enough. And with a side of their thick cut sweet/salty/spicy steak fries, it’s a worthy fast food meal. Now if only I can figure out a way to sneak this sandwich into a screening of Star Wars. Maybe one day.

FUKU
163 First Avenue (between East 10th and East 11th Street),
East Village
momofuku.com/new-york/fuku/
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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