Korean fried chicken: Watch how Tampa Bay restaurants cook the dish

Korean drama, music and culture helped pave the way for the country’s cuisine in Tampa Bay, including this popular comfort food.
Published Nov. 17, 2021

There’s a new craze in the restaurant world, in the form of KFC — that is, Korean fried chicken.

The dish has taken off on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, in recent years, and has made its way to Tampa Bay.

The chicken is double-fried and often accompanied with a sauce made with gochujang (a Korean red chili paste). It’s then served with sticky rice and drizzled with scallions and crushed peanuts or sesame seeds.

Mee Ae Wolney, owner of ANJU St. Pete, decided she wanted to bring Korean street food to St. Petersburg after her last visit to South Korea in 2017.

“Some time ago, I did notice that Korean fried chicken is kind of a big thing in Korea; it started taking off,” Wolney said. “The last time I visited Korea was in 2017, and you couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing Korean fried chicken on every corner.”

Korean TV dramas and pop music started becoming much more popular in the U.S. in recent years, but Wolney wasn’t expecting people would love the dish this much.

“People really seem to like it,” Wolney said. “Korean fried chicken is not too different from your classic southern chicken in that you want something that’s crunchy and fried, it’s soul satisfying and very comforting.”

Bill Brody, owner of Soul of Korea in Temple Terrace, didn’t know about the K-craze until a customer asked him to play a K-pop song.

“I didn’t realize the popularity was so big over here,” Bill Brody said. “I’m glad to see it happening.”

Along with his wife, Young Brody, he took over the restaurant three years ago. Bill oversees the business , while his wife does all the cooking.

“We’re a mom-and-pop restaurant, one of a kind,” Bill Brody said. “We’re a pretty good team together.”

He met his wife 22 years ago in her restaurant while on a three-day layover in Seoul.

“The flavors and everything she’s bringing here to Tampa is the exact same thing if you were sitting in a restaurant in Seoul, Korea,” Bill Brody said.