kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 4, 2017

Almost Noodle Club: Korean Fried Chicken Wings

For various reasons, I have been spending lots of time on the road.  In the past two months, I must've made at least a half-dozen trips to the other side of the island. 
  • The Help developed an interest in Japanese whiskey, so of course we had to stop at the liquor store in Waimea and check out the selection at Costco.  
  • On another weekend, my vacuum broke, and Costco just happened to have a good deal on a Shark (I killed 2 Dyson's in a span short of a decade so I was ready to try something else).  
  • I just "happened" to be at Costco when they started selling Christmas trees, so that trip turned out into a full-weekend activity...decorating the tree.
And there were a handful of trips between all of those, including a trip just to Waimea to check out the local wool for sale at the Waimea farmer's market (Parker School).

In spite of the good restaurants in Kona and Waikoloa, The Help and I have been regulars at Noodle Club, making the detour to Waimea instead of heading straight home on the Saddle.  Noodle Club is owned by the same gentleman who owns Village Burger (must try the Ahi Nicoise salad there), and like Village Burger, Noodle Club is an awesome eatery.

It might come as a surprise that one of my fave things to eat there is NOT a noodle dish, but a chicken dish.  I said "one" of...I have many favorites there.   I find the KFC...Korean Fried Chicken...difficult to resist.  The sticky, sweet, spicy sauce surrounding crispy chicken lollipops is not the Korean chicken many of us grew up with (like Kay's Lunch Center or the kine one of the aunties makes).  It has a unique flavor, as well as a unique look.  Noodle club wings look like the meat has been pushed upwards on the bone, giving a lollipop appearance.

I will be the first to admit that my version is not exactly like the KFC you get at the Noodle Club, but it's equally delicious.   I also refuse to spend the time to make the chicken look like a lollipop.  If you want the experience the chicken lollipop, then make the drive out to Waimea.  If you want a delicious meal without too much hassle, then this recipe might be just what you need.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3 lbs chicken wings
     1/4 c flour
     2 tbsp cornstarch
     oil for frying
     1/4 c brown sugar
     1 tbsp honey
     3 tbsp rice vinegar
     2 tbsp shoyu
     6 tbsp gochujang (spicy Korean bean paste)
     1/4 tsp sesame oil

Cut chicken wings apart at the joints; discard tip portion.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss with flour and cornstarch.  Set aside.  Heat 1/2-3/4" oil in a skillet.  While oil is heating, prepare sauce by combining all remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Fry chicken pieces until golden; this may take up to 25 minutes (15 minutes on the first side; 10 minutes on the second side).  Remove from oil and drain.  Fry all chicken pieces.  When all chicken has been fried, return each chicken piece to oil, frying for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Remove 3 pieces at a time.  Drain on paper towels then place in sauce, turning to coat.  Continue until all chicken has been coated.  Return all chicken pieces to sauce and coat again before removing to a serving platter.
Sapporo, Japan
October 10, 2017:  Day 2

Since our hotel was across the Hokkaido university campus, The Keeper suggested we walk the ground of the campus before embarking on another day of gluttony.

The campus could have been a university on the east coast or looked "collegiate".  The architecture was very western.  Walking the grounds brought back memories of my own college days.

The leaves were turning color. . .reminded me of my trip to Connecticut in the fall.

The fun part of this trip was the opportunity to wear Doc Martens and things I made.   I went full Nelkin on this day:  Caragh, Transitus and Las Cruces.

Don't get me wrong...I often DO wear things I make AND I always get strange looks from The Help, often with a comment like, "this isn't Puget Sound" or "we are not in Canada now".

We met up with the rest of the gang and headed to Nijo Market for breakfast.  Nijo Market was similar to Jougai Ichiba (from the day before).  Of course, I was gonna get seafood for breakfast!
Nijo Market

While walking around Nijo Market, I found shine muscats!  $15 USD was a small price to pay for mouthfuls of joy.  I had to take a pic because I don't think anyone at home would believe I actually bought "grapes".

A few of us ended up having breakfast at Ohiso.  After watching DHS eat crab at breakfast the day before, there was no way I was gonna miss out on crab.  I decided to try the hairy crab and salmon don.  The mini was about $11 USD, which I figured would hold me over until the next meal.  I also got a small bowl of ikura, a bargain at $3.40 USD.

I was actually not impressed with the hairy crab.  The meat wasn't as tasty as Dungeness nor was it as sweet as king crab.  But at least I can say I tried it.

On the other hand, the ikura was superb.  Perfect flavor.

I couldn't find the picture of the awabi (abalone) sashimi from this place.  I even had a pic of the innards, which The Keeper made DHS try.  She said it was nasty.

We had some time on our own after breakfast, so I decided to go on a treasure hunt which took be back to Sapporo station.  I was looking for a special store.  I was just about to give up, but then I arrived at the promised land!

OMG.  Kanariya was awesome.  I just wish I could speak and read Japanese.  I bought a bunch of pattern books (which I will probably never use) and some omiyage for a few special Ravelry friends and some friends who sew.

I could have stayed at Kanariya much longer, but I had to meet up with the pandas for lunner (lunch + dinner).

We caught a bus to Sapporo Beer Garden.  I tried out the panorama feature on my camera, but I just couldn't make it work properly.  The beer garden building is red brick (many old buildings in Sapporo are red brick).  I guess we were hungry so we went straight to the dining hall and got started.

I was worried about liking lamb, but after stuffing my face with jingusukan (Genghis Khan, to the rest of us), I decided I like lamb.  I love the helmet-shaped grill!

This is a cook-your-own place.  You can have as much as you want, be it meat, veggies or drink.  Nakaz and I couldn't get enough of the melon soda (since we can't drink beer).

And no visit to the Sapporo Beer Garden is complete without a picture of the iconic brew kettle.  It was huge!

Before heading back to the hotel, The Keeper and I bought some goodies from the station:  (clockwise from upper right) Little Mermaid steam cake, Little Mermaid melon pan, parfait, and Kinotoya cheese tart.  The steam cake was similar to other steam cakes I've eaten.  It was mild flavored and very light.  And yes, the bottom right pic IS melon pan, or at least what the Little Mermaid Bakery calls melon pan.  It was delicious, but it did not taste anything like the St. Germain version of melon pan.  I'm glad The Keeper bought it for me to try.  The parfait was very good (apparently parfait in Japan is a "thing") and easy to eat.  There was a small slice of cake and a few cornflakes (yes, like cornflake cereal) atop the parfait.  I found that interesting.

The Kinotoya cheese tart gets it's own paragraph.  It is definitely a no-miss treat when visiting Sapporo.  The aroma of the cheese tarts baking is incredible.  It must be so difficult for people in the waiting area to resist buying a some.  Although it looks like it might be "egg-y", it is not.  I think the color automatically makes you think its custard.  But it's definitely more cheese than custard.  I wish I had eaten another one or two before leaving Sapporo. 

It was another day of eating.  Thankfully, it was less eating than the previous day, and I knew that the next day was going to be another adventure.