There’s something about drinking beer and eating fried food that really hits the spot. And in South Korea, beer and fried chicken go so well together that this combo has developed into a national favorite with its own name: chimaek (치맥).
The word chimaek is the result of combining CHIkin (chicken) and MAEKju (Korean for beer). While the consumption of the two has been around for decades, the term’s popularity soared during the 2010 World Cup when fans would enjoy chimaek as they watched games.
When you’re ready to bite into the crispy deliciousness of Korean fried chicken, here are some chimaek spots in Seoul worth visiting.
Before setting foot in Seoul, you might have already heard of two Korean chicken chains: BonChon and Kyochon. But you’ll want to give Kkanbu Chicken a try, too. This chain can be found all over Seoul and it serves a variety of chicken dishes, sides, and beers. Plus, they offer a delivery service for added convenience and easy access to delicious chicken.
Kkanbu Chicken (깐부치킨)
Like Kkanbu, Ddobagi Chicken is another Seoul chain known for chimaek. Its branch near Sangsu Station is popular among students from the nearby university. It’s also pretty close to the Han River which makes its take-out discount quite a hit for those wishing to do a BYOB chimaek picnic by the river.
Ddobagi Chicken (또바기치킨)
27 Wausan-ro, Seogang-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Chicken in the Kitchen
This place became well-known after being featured on a local TV show and has kept a name for itself among Seoul’s thousands of chimaek spots. Unlike many chimaek places around Seoul, Chicken in the Kitchen serves bigger cuts of fried chicken. Rock music fans will enjoy the cool vibe in this restaurant.
Chicken in the Kitchen (치킨인더키친)
4-42 Wausan-ro 29-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Relatively new to the chimaek scene, Sai Chicken has gained quite a reputation among chimaek fans. Located in an alley, Sai Chicken takes its name from the Korean word for between: sai. It can be easy to overlook this little chicken spot; but if you’re on the hunt for a great chimaek experience, be sure to seek it out. And don’t forget to order the sukju side—a bean sprout salad that pairs very well with the chicken and beer.
Sai Chicken (사이치킨)
257-3 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korean food is known for packing quite a punch when it comes to spiciness. At Hanchu, diners can get a taste of Korean peppers through the restaurant’s best-selling gochu chicken. It’s a crispy serving of chicken with just the right hint of heat. Be sure to also order the fried stuffed peppers which really go great with beer and fried chicken.
68 Nonhyeon-ro 175-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This spot is frequented by many young Koreans who enjoy the restaurant’s hip and trendy atmosphere. If you decide to make this a stop on your chimaek journey, order the garlic and pepper fried chicken and have your camera ready. The chicken is set on fire before it’s served and makes for an awesome chimaek souvenir photo.
Oksang Dalbit (옥상달빛)
2F 411-2 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nonsense Whole Chicken
As the name suggests, this chimaek restaurant serves up a whole fried chicken cut into pieces for easy eating. And that’s the only thing they serve. The chicken might be a bit different from the glazed and battered chickens of other chimaek places, but it’s still worth a try if you can’t get enough of fried chicken. But take note that drinking alcohol is mandatory here. You can’t buy chicken without purchasing beer or soju, but isn’t that the point of chimaek anyway?
Nonsense Whole Chicken (엉터리통닭)
225-154 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This might be a bit different from the usual chimaek affair because there’s no alcohol involved. But fans of dakgangjeong, or Korean sweet and spicy fried chicken, will want to try the chicken at Qus located in Mangwon Market. Choose from a number of sauces and enjoy the bite-sized crispy chicken as you walk around. Or pick up some chicken and buy your choice of beer to create your chimaek.
Qus Dakgangjeong (큐스닭강정)
27 Mangwon-ro 8-gil, Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
After tasting and drinking your way through chimaek in Seoul, learn how to cook Korean fried chicken through KKday’s chimaek cooking class and bring the experience home.
*Featured image from Kkanbu Chicken on Facebook