WAKER CHICKEN… WHOLESOME POCKET-FRIENDLY KOREAN FARE

Word must’ve gotten around… I’ve been getting endless recommendations to different Korean Fried Chicken establishments lately! Of course everyone has their personal reasons pertaining their individual choices. Chicken’s tender, chicken’s huge, chicken’s spicy, crispy, cheap, unique… the justifications are varied.

When my pal, Mel, told me about Waker Chicken, she wasn’t the first. The name had come up a couple other occasions. Mel’s exact words were “cheap”, “authentic”, “Korean family”, “call first, long queue”. I was smitten by all the adjectives except for “long queue”! But what won me over right away, was “Korean family”.

Took a little ask around to find the tucked away food court Waker Chicken is located but the mere mention of the name and the kind lady knew exactly what I was looking for. We arrived at a cramped corner stall with just 2 persons running it. A tall Korean gentleman helmed the front while a petite Korean lady (wife?) manned the cooking in the back.

“Korean Family” – check!

The menu was nothing fancy. Just good old Korean family classics.

The menu isn’t too complicated; there are 4 varieties of fried chicken, Original, Sweet Spicy, Soy Sauce and Honey Butter. Also on the menu are some home-style Korean dishes. Stuff most of us would recognize from social media and K dramas!

Clockwise from top left: Honey butter chicken tenders; Korean Tofu Soup; Original Korean Fried Chicken which comes with complimentary chili & sweet mustard sauces.

I always go for the Original cuz that determines the start to something good (or bad!). It has to stand out on its own…, I mean, it takes mere ketchup to mask and salvage the most mediocre chicken. I selected a second flavor, the Honey Butter, because I’ve not tried it anywhere else, and my research showed it’s a popular choice. I couldn’t resist a classic Korean soup and of cos some homemade Kimchi. The bill totaled to just under SGD30 (USD22).

“Cheap” – check!

The thinly battered golden chicken maintained a good crisp even after 40 minutes.

We had our order to go. So it was a good 40 minutes later when we finally tucked into our meal. The first test passed reasonably well. The half portion original chicken was still crispy from the car ride home. Cold, but crispy. The flavor was very subtle. Perfect if you’re not too heavy on the palate. For me, a little dip into the complimentary sweet mustard and chili sauce did the job of giving it that little lift. The downside of this chicken (and this is totally a personal preference), is it consisted of parts from a whole chicken which meant I had to contend with chicken breast cuts. I don’t remember eating a juicy fried chicken breast ever in my life, and this time was no exception. So a couple of chicken breasts were aimlessly nibbled and ignored.

Honey Butter Chicken (Not-So) Tenders

The Honey Butter Chicken Tenders ($6 for 4 pieces) did not take the traveling too well. In fact, it might have gotten car sick and threw up a little!! We got home to a box of soggy chook! Most of the honey butter had melted into the meat. In all fairness, a few orders of honey butter chicken were served while I waited for my order and they looked absolutely delicious! Smokin’ hot and blanketed in a snowy powdery topping! Clearly, this is not suited to go. The tenders, made out of !BREAST MEAT! were dry and far from crispy. Pity, as I could taste the remnants of the honey butter seasoning and I reckon it could’ve been potentially good. So be warned, do not have honey butter chicken to go. Eat it right there and then!!

Don’t let the fiery hue fool you. This spicy soup was just warm spicy.

The Sun Toufu Soup (I’m guessing it is Sundubu Tofu Jjigae) was lovely! Only very mildly spicy and filled with soft tender tofu, needle mushrooms, minced pork, vegetables, a prawn and a raw egg, which of course was no longer raw but pretty well done by the time we chowed down, but still good! At $6.50, the single portion soup which comes with a bowl of sticky Korean rice would make a hearty comforting meal! Think rainy days and Mondays!! Go for this!

Simple no-frills Kimchi

Couldn’t help but pick up a tub of homemade Kimchi. The no-frills kimchi was as basic and classic as one could get. But it is a kimchi that will get you by every breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper without fail. It packs a good punch without overpowering. It’s undoubtedly too spicy for a lightweight like me but my CEO (Chief Eating Officer) enjoyed its simple on-point flavor. I guess some modern kimchis get too creative it takes away the authenticity of it.

“Authentic” – check!

Would I return to Waker Chicken? Well, I believe I would! But I’ll remember the lessons I’ve learned on the chicken choices. (1) Eat on the spot if I pick any of the flavored chickens; (2) Bring a breast meat fan to dine with me! I would also like to try the other dishes on the menu. K dramas and movies constantly have people cooking and slurping piping hot Korean Ramens. Waker’s got a number of’em noods I’d like to get my hands on!

Except for “Call first, long queue”, Mel nailed this place pretty good. I tried to text and call in my order an hour prior, but there was no response (though I did check and tall man verified that it was a valid phone number. He was busy, I guess?) There was no queue but I’m sure that was Covid19’s fault. I was 4th in the invisible social distancing line and it took about 20 minutes for my food to be ready. But by all means, call in to order in advance. You may have better luck than me.

The raw egg was thoroughly cooked by the time we dug in. I will remember to tell them not to break the egg into the soup for my next takeaway. But just look at the abundance of ingredients in there too!
Remnants of the honey butter on that piece of chicken at the top!
A half chicken portion is retailed at $13 while most other establishments price theirs at $17 and above.

WAKER CHICKEN @ 125 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh Singapore 310125 Phone: +65 9777 4879

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post.

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