November 17, 2010
Bon Chon Chicken, the Korean foodie favorite in New York, is finally here in Manila! This is the official Philippine franchise from Korea and NOT a franchise of the 4 Fingers Bon Chon in Singapore.
Bon Chon is the original double-fried chicken from Korea. The first fry removes all the fat and makes it "paper-fried crisp" and then the second fry includes the secret sauce.
The chicken is bigger than that of Chicken Charlie's and a bit more expensive also. I liked its soy-garlic flavor, which has ginseng as a secret ingredient. The sauce was a bit bitin, though, and did not cover the entire chicken well.
Bon Chon's ambiance feels like a classier fast food setup / quick self-service restaurant where you order at the counter and wait for your food to be served at the table.
To give a perspective on the price, a combination of 3 drumsticks + 6 wings at Chicken Charlie would only cost P279 (P31/chicken), but at Bon Chon Chicken, it would be P365 (P41/chicken).
Despite that, just hearing stories of New Yorkers lining up for this chicken, I would gladly pay for the additional premium because I can already get it here in our home country. :)
This corner table is nice, especially if you are on a date. The simple silhouette artwork on the walls add a nice touch, too.
For me, the best tables are those that face the garden. The al fresco tables are definitely the best place to eat. The Ayala Garden view is the main reason why I've been going back to this row of restaurants everyday.
The drumstick is bigger and costs P62 each. The skin is really crispy and there's no added layer of flour. I find the sauce more subtle -- it seems like it's teasing you to take a bite again and again.
For some reason, they don't allow mixed sauces in the chicken combos so we had to order the drumstick and wings separately.
The best parts are the chicken wings (P31/pc)! Here, the sauce is more evident, and you can enjoy cleaning up every inch of meat and skin with your teeth. I liked the spiciness, which was just right for me, but my wife found it too hot.
This is the best side dish for me, with its flavorful kimchi kick. The chicken also goes well with the pickled radish.
We also ordered the Chicken chop with rice. This turned out to be more value-for-money because it has two big pieces of chicken breasts coated with the sauce.
Bon Chon is marketed as offering healthier chicken because the fat is drained and ginseng is used in the sauce. Nevertheless, I'm still not buying the healthy angle since the chicken is double-fried.
We were fortunate to meet Scott Tan (twitter/@scotttan) who owns the Philippine Franchise and THE president of Bon Chon Korea and USA -- Mr. Jinduk Seh. He is leaving Manila on the 23rd to open the Bangkok franchise, so get the rare chance to meet him while he is here in the metro.
Scott was chosen because he was the most persistent among the Bon Chon franchise bidders. I'm glad he franchised direct from Korea instead of the 4 Fingers in Singapore.
We are indeed happy that Bon Chon is finally here in Manila! It was a bit anti-climactic for us, though, since we experienced the double-fried crispness from Chicken Charlie (which has a more Pinoy-tasting sauce).
Overall, Bon Chon is definitely better (and more expensive too), but they just need to be more consistent in coating their chicken with the sauce so that their customers get the full taste experience.
Bon Chon Chicken Philippines
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City
(No reservations; No phone number yet)
Operating Hours: Everyday 11am to 10pm
1st Option: Park on Makati Ave., near the corner of Ayala beside the Makati Stock Exchange
(closed on Sundays & holidays)
2nd Option: Park in the Basement. The entrance is along Paseo de Roxas, right after you turn from Ayala
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals and we are not connected with the owners in any way.
P.S. Here is the schedule of the Christmas at the GARDENS featuring Parol! The restaurants row will be busy at night and maybe we will be back for the Makati Inter-School Christmas Caroling Competition.
Christmas at the GARDENS featuring Parol! Official Schedule
Celebrate Makati's New Christmas Tradition - A Thousand Stars, A Thousand Lights.
November 17 5.30 pm | Beginnning of Symphony of Parols, a Lights and Sound Show and formal launch of Restaurants at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.
November 17-December 23. 6.00-8.00 pm | Symphony of Parols. A Lights & Sound show (Every 30 minutes): With special weekend shows on December 18 and 19.
November 23 6.00 pm | Holiday Dance Fusion at the Gardens. Free Dance Lessons from Professional Instructors.
December 1 to 3 and 6 to 10 5.30 pm | Makati Inter-School Christmas Caroling Competition.
December 1 and 8 6.00pm | Christmas Serenade at the Gardens. Free Concerts by Renowned Performers.
December 15 to 23 6.00pm | Anticipated Simbang Gabi.