Who can remember a time when chicken wings weren’t on a menu? Started as a bar appetizer in the 1960s, wings are now the star of the show. And they certainly shine bright at Bonchon’s.
The Korean-based and internationally loved fried chicken purveyor has opened its first franchise in Fairfield County at 1565 Post Road. The grand opening was held on Oct. 7. Bonchon has four other locations in Connecticut: West Harford, Manchester, Storrs and New Haven.
Leo Chung, a partner and head manager of Bonchon’s in Fairfield believes the Connecticut shoreline town was the right spot for his second Bonchon’s (he is also an owner of the store in New Haven). Why? Because it’s a college town (Chicken wings and college students? Is there another more natural match?), has a great vibe and summers provide plenty of beach traffic.
Worldwide, chicken wings have become a favorite, and perhaps no more so than in the United States. The chicken wing is certainly king on Superbowl Sunday, with Americans eating 1.38 billion wings—four wings for every man, woman and child in the U.S.—on that day alone according to the National Chicken Council. Moreover, they’re popular year round for any occasion, lunch, dinner or snack.
Bonchon’s which began in Chung’s native South Korea (he now calls Stamford home) in 2002, has 95 locations in the U.S. and over 335 worldwide. Those who love fried chicken know Bonchon’s special sauces and super-crispy wings.
“I would need to check with Bonchon headquarters before I give our secret recipe away,” laughed Chung when asked how they achieve that special crispiness. He did concede, that the wings are double fried. And it’s the frying, Chung mused, that is one of the things that make Bonchon wings so popular.
“Wings are a comfort food,” said Chung, “and it’s hard to deep fry them perfectly at home.”
Soy Garlic, Spicy and Sweet Crunch are the only flavors Bonchon fried chicken comes in. While items on the menu may change slightly based on local country tastes, the sauces, especially Soy Garlic, don’t change anywhere. Ever.
“We brush our sauce onto our fried chicken,” explained Chung. “The sauces are more of a twist on an Asian tasting profile, that’s what makes them so unique.
“We call it a secret sauce. We don’t give it out on the side; it’s always coated on the chicken.”
And when it comes to his favorite, Chung said he likes to go with the menu’s Half and Half where you can choose two out of the three sauces for your order. He picks Soy Garlic and Spicy.
While fried chicken and wings are a staple, you’ll find Asian Fusion items and other foods based on traditional Korean cooking to choose from, like Bonchon’s chicken sliders and Korean tacos. Vegetarians don’t have to worry either, vegetables abound (in salads and out) and several dishes can substitute tofu.
“We do have a full bar,” added Chung, “There are so many great nearby breweries and we’re happy to showcase local craft beers.”
Chung says business has been very good since the soft opening on Oct. 1, with an even split between those eating in and taking out.
“The local Asian population has been excitedly checking us out,” said Chung. “We see members of the fire and police departments that are around the corner from us. The whole town has been excited and supportive.”
Bonchon’s at 1565 Post Rd. in Fairfield is open Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit Bonchon Fairfield on Facebook.