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CheoGaJip - Korean Fried Chicken in Annandale and Centreville


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Inspired by an NYT article that synaesthesia sent about Korean fried chicken, Escoffier and I went to Cheogajip tonight. It is mainly a small takeout place but there are 4 tables for eating in as well. We ordered the popcorn chicken ($8.99) with the spicy dipping sauce. When it was delivered to our table, it was a plate piled high with small, boneless pieces of chicken. Accompanying the chicken was pickled radish and a cabbage salad as sides. The chicken was crispy and not greasy at all. Forget the normal Southern style chicken that's soaked in buttermilk and then dredged in flour before being fried, this was a almost perfectly smooth crisp coating that accented the taste of the chicken without being soggy. The dipping sauce is very subtle. You dip the chicken in the sauce and can eat 3 or 4 pieces before the sauce sneaks up on you with a nice spicy warmth that isn't overpowering at all. For around $10, you leave full, satisfied and with a nice warm glow from the sauce. For $15 you can get a whole chicken with a spicy coating that has more heat than the dipping sauce (this is the best seller among Cheogajip's clientele). There are also wings available. All of the chicken is cooked to order, forget heat lamps or microwaves, you'll have to wait for your order. It's worth the wait. Judging by the number of people who were picking up orders, ordering by phone for pickup seems to be the way to go. Cheogajip has restaurants in Centerville, Annandale and Flushing if you happen to be in New York.

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I love their chicken! I have tried the spicy chicken and the fried chicken, but not the popcorn chicken. You can also get half fried and half spicy. It's cut into small-ish pieces chinese style, not into breast/wing/thigh/leg, so some of the pieces are a little bony. I don't know exactly what the chicken is called, so I have hesitated to call in my orders. The pickles are really good too.

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I had a sudden craving for fried chicken yesterday so we ordered half and half (spicy & marinated) chicken. The price was $17.62 including a bottle of citrus Lipton tea. We preferred the spicy one to the marinated one. The quantity was enough for two people. Saycheese, I think that the guy would understand if you say 'half and half' or 'half spicy and half fried' slowly.

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I have been thinking about going to this place for a while now, so when I ended up in Fairfax Circle last night running errands, that is where I went. Only problem...that location, in the back of Lotte Plaza, is now closed. And, since I was so psyched about trying it, I drove out to Centreville to give it a try. Good? Yes. Worth the 20 minute drive in traffic? Iffy.

I got the half fried and half marinated, the lady working at the counter disuaded me from getting the spicy saying that it is really, really spicy (not what I was looking for). It was a ton of food, even for $14.99, I took half of it home. The fried chicken was good, well worth it, but the marinated chicken was too sweet, too sticky, not very good at all. I didn't get any side dishes other than the pickled radishes that came with it. They also gave me a small dish of salt, pepper and sesame seeds combined together, I dipped some chicken in it, but it didn't seem to fit for me.

Overall, not bad if you are in the area, better than KFC and different than Popeye's.

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How does the chicken here compare to BonChon chicken? Do they have the same kind of coating? BonChon only offers wings and drumsticks so it looks like one difference is that Cheogajip offers the entire chicken.

Funny you should ask - I went to BonChon today for the first time (and loved it), but I've yet to try Cheogajip. Soon!

This non-substantive post will delete itself by the morrow morn.

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I called Bon Chon at 6 PM asking about a takeout order. They said it would be 9 PM before it would be ready. I called Cheogajip, and it was only a 20 minute wait. Since it's about a 20 minute drive from home to Cheogajip, it works out. We got a whole chicken, half fried plain, and half hot and spicy. It didn't take any convincing of the person on the phone. It came with the pickled radish and a cabbage slaw with what looked like thousand island dressing.

The skin wasn't paper-thin and super crisp like Bon Chon. It had a little more coating, like flour or something, and was tasty. It was still very crisp and tasty. The hot and spicy is very hot, but very good. The heat will sneak up on you though.

If I'm going out for chicken, I'd probably want to eat at Bon Chon. They have more tables and have beer :( But for takeout I'd gladly take Cheogajip.

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Ordered half spicy and half mild yesterday for take-out. While waiting, I enjoyed a nice cold Miller Lite and ate some Japanese rice cracker snacks. The chicken took 15 to 20 minutes to cook. The spicy chicken was indeed very spicy - spicier than any dish I've ever had at Hong Kong Palace. We liked the chicken but it wasn't something earhshattering. Will have to try Bon Chon still. I went to the branch in Centreville as I was golfing next door at Twin Lakes. I didn't realize how many Korean restaurants are in that shopping center. I will drag a Korean friend along next time and see if any of those restaurants serves something special.

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I visited the Annandale location for the first time last night. I ordered half roasted and half fried. I later requested to add hot and spicy sauce and wound up paying $2 additional for a side of sauce. It sounds like that was a mistake and that I should have ordered the chicken spicy to start with and I would have gotten a different product.

Nevertheless, the chicken was fabulous and the sauce worked well on both kinds. Of course the fried was better than roasted, but the roasted was good. The cole slaw and the korean cabbage salad were both fine but unexceptional. The $2 side sauce is at least a cup and we used about 2 tablespoons. Now to decide how to use all of that extra goodness...

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Ordered half spicy and half mild yesterday for take-out. While waiting, I enjoyed a nice cold Miller Lite and ate some Japanese rice cracker snacks. The chicken took 15 to 20 minutes to cook. The spicy chicken was indeed very spicy - spicier than any dish I've ever had at Hong Kong Palace. We liked the chicken but it wasn't something earhshattering. Will have to try Bon Chon still. I went to the branch in Centreville as I was golfing next door at Twin Lakes. I didn't realize how many Korean restaurants are in that shopping center. I will drag a Korean friend along next time and see if any of those restaurants serves something special.

[Fuckin' HATE myself for missing the title of this thread before now.

Is it okay to capitalize syllables of a compound Korean word such as this? Grover, could you fill us in on what this (and others, such as Gom Tang E and GoolDaeJee) mean, and maybe also supply the Korean character set so I can put it in the titles? (Can you see how much I give a shit about Google results vis-a-vis authenticity?)

And by the way, if you don't use my dining guide, use Tyler Cowen's.]

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