Full disclosure: I was invited to Gangchu Chicken for a media preview and tasting. It was not my first time trying the concept. All opinions are my own.
When I first had Korean Fried Chicken, I was looking for something to eat in Seoul with a friend and I was tired of the usual suspects. On nearly every corner we spotted these chicken and beer concepts. What’s so special about that? I thought to myself. Little did I know, Koreans had mastered making fried chicken in a way that I hadn’t even tasted in the United States.
Korean Fried Chicken is double-fried to give it a special amount of crispiness and not deeply fried to give it a light flavor on the ends. They have a ton of different sauces in Seoul and almost every spot has a story behind it. It’s also notoriously expensive and usually only comes with radishes or their version of chips. Of course, things are different in America.
Gangchu is the brainchild of the team behind Ichicoro Ramen. They took the inspiration of Korean Fried Chicken or K.F.C. and made it their own. The final result is an absolutely delicious version that may not be the same exactly as what you’ll get in Seoul, but in its own way a masterpiece.
Almost every sauce I tried was delicious and although they had to iron out the crispiness over time, on my last visit the chicken was just right.
I am also quite in love with the Perilla Ranch dressing they have and I am usually more of a blue cheese kinda guy. We also had a kimchi pancake that was delicious during my visit and also the Gangchu Cheesesteak.
The last time I had a sandwich this good it was when The Refinery briefly became a sandwich and burger concept and I have always believed Korean food was made for the Philly. It is comfort food at its finest.
They sell a variety of soju cocktails and beer from 7venth Sun, all delicious and quite refreshing as well. You really cannot go wrong if you want to grab a drink here and they are open late.
The options are certainly all over the place, but that means there is also something for everyone. I love the outdoor deck that was built as a consequence of COVID-19, maybe one of the good things the pandemic created. The servers were friendly and the road certainly wasn’t easy to getting Gangchu open from discussions with proprietor Noel Cruz.
I always do a quick scan on my way out of the restaurant and I saw Korean people enjoying the food, probably comforted by it, which is always a good sign. I highly recommend Gangchu.
Gangchu Chicken & Beer. 6618 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 723-4264
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