With modern innovation around fried chicken pushing craveability and creativity to new heights, the challenge is finding the right balance of adventure and familiarity with your customer base. “Our Korean Chicken is a unique take on emerging flavor trends delivered in an approachable, low-risk way,” says Michael Slavin, newly appointed Culinary Director for Houlihan’s, Inc. “It has appeal with our loyal guests, who are always up for trying something new, but it also appeals to new guests who are just discovering Houlihan’s. The best part for me is taking the cult following of down-home fried chicken and adding interest with an authentic Korean sauce. We’re moving far beyond Buffalo chicken, and even the trendy Nashville Hot—it’s time to experience gochujang.”
This dish is well balanced with bright palate stimulators, including soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, cilantro, green onions and charred pineapple. “We brush the warm plate coast to coast with gochujang sauce, then the stir-fried rice is mounded in the center, followed by garlicky green beans layered with charred pineapple relish,” says Slavin. “We finish by crowning it with a citrus-marinated chicken breast, which can be grilled or fried, brushed with gochujang sauce and sliced green onions. The pleasantly bold spice from the red chile combined with the savory fermented umami is a really new and interesting flavor for Houlihan’s.” He sees a number of possible extensions, including seared shrimp, roasted pork, or even a fresh-grilled vegetable at center plate.