Back to Boka: Delicious Fried Chicken

A half-half plate of spicy and teriyaki wings at Boka: Bon Chon, NYC.

Last May I went to a restaurant called Boka: Bon Chon on St Mark’s place in Manhattan.  I wanted to take my mom out for something nice for Mother’s Day and she’d never had Korean food so it seemed like a good choice.  We were both very satisfied with the food we ate, and after hearing back from some people that the fried chicken there is really awesome, we decided we’d go back to try it out at some point.

We finally did manage to get back there and try the fried chicken at the end of last month and it is amazing!  We only ordered a small plate because we weren’t sure if we’d like it or not.  Now I wish we’d just gotten a big plate of the fried chicken and nothing else.  Just looking at the picture is making my mouth water.  The skin of the chicken was crispy and tasty and the meat wasn’t oily.  I could sit down and eat a bucket of the stuff.  Well, maybe not the spicy fried chicken.  The spicy fried chicken has a real kick to it.  I can’t figure out which I like more.  I think I actually prefer the spicy kind, but I probably couldn’t eat as much of it as the other.

Fried dumplings from Boka: Bon Chon, NYC.

We also got a plate of fried dumplings.  They were crispy and looked nice, but the inside was a bit mushy.  Maybe that’s the way they’re supposed to be.  I don’t know, but my mom didn’t care for them too much.

A 'box lunch' from Boka: Bon Chon, NYC.

We also ordered this.  I don’t recall the name of it now, but it’s a spicy chicken ‘box lunch’.  I was surprised when they brought it out, because the tray looks just like trays used at Korean restaurants in Singapore.  I’m not sure if it’s still there, but I specifically remember there was a Korean restaurant that used these trays in the basement level of the Cineliesure (?) Mall in the Orchard Road area.

We figured that between the chicken, the dumplings and the ‘box lunch’, we’d have more than enough to eat for two people, and we did wind up bringing some of the chicken and dumplings home as leftovers (which disappeared quickly that same night).  It was pretty filling, especially since we were eating it all with white rice.

In the future, when I go to Boka: Bon Chon, the fried chicken will always be one of my choices.  Maybe the best option would be to get a large order of the fried chicken and another dish (like a bowl of bibimbap) and then ask for smaller plates and share the meal.

Lungs, Ears and Brains: Exotic Filipino Foods


The meat on the plate is actually pig lungs, boiled and fried.  My wife and her brother enjoy it and convinced me to try some.  It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t think it was all that good either.  I probably won’t eat that again.  The meat on the stick, however is a grilled pig ear.  It was served with a brown gravy.  I thought about it after some of the stuff I’ve eaten, a pig ear really isn’t that weird.  I mean, I’ve eaten chicken feet and snails before, so why not an ear?  It wasn’t that bad.  It had a decent taste to it, though I didn’t care too much for the crunchy cartilage parts.  I finished it off.

Philippines Feb 09 - 096

This is pork sisig.  This is a short order type of dish that’s sometimes served as lunch and often served while drinking.  Up until recently, I believed it was just pieces of pork.  I didn’t really question it or think about it.  Turns out this is made from pig brains though.  Well, partly pig brains.  This dish became a popular part of Filipino cuisine as a result of the US establishing an air base in Pampanga province, called Clark Air Base.  Filipinos would buy the unused pig heads from the base commissary and this is the dish they developed from trying to make use of them.  I’ve actually tried this.  I didn’t know it was made from pig brains at the time.  No one thought to tell me either.  Sisig is such a common dish here, now found pre-packaged and branded in grocery stores even, that my wife and relatives likely don’t give it a second thought.  Now that I know, I don’t think I’ll ever look at it the same way again.  I’m still not sure if I’ll eat it again.

Filipinos are pretty creative about making sure no part of an animal goes to waste.  I’m sure you’ll see that as I post about, and perhaps try, more of the unusual ‘delicacies’ found here.

Muslim Food

A few weeks ago I posted an article about some Muslim food we’d tried. It was called Chicken Murtabak and it was pretty good. It took me almost a year to get up the courage to try out Muslim food. I think it was mostly because of paranoid fear over being poisoned or having my food spit on by Muslims because of where I’m from.  Not to mention I spent some time in Iraq.  Ya, sounds kinda silly and stupid right?  But, for years the US media has been pushing it down our throats that all Arabs/Muslims could potentially be dangerous, and I spent a long time in Iraq and Kuwait, worrying about whether a guy was going to say hello or blow himself (and me) up at any moment.  So, maybe the fear wasn’t so unfounded after all, but then again most people here ask me where I’m from.  They don’t seem to recognize the accent.

Anyhow, we enjoyed the murtabak and had decided we would go back for more, but we put it off because it messed up our stomachs a bit. Tonight we finally decided to eat there again. The stuff tasted so good we were willing to risk stomach problems! Plus, we think it was the curry that’s served with the dish that caused the problem, so we were careful about how much of it we ate this time around.

As we walked up to the “Indian Muslim” stall, the guy behind the counter had an amused look on his face. Maybe there aren’t too many white guys that order Muslim food in this area? Well, that probably goes without saying. Anyhow, we got another order of murtabak, mutton this time, and a cheese roti prata. I also went to the next stall called “Muslim Food” and got an order of chicken rice. It had another name in front of that, but I can’t remember what it was. So, we had a pretty good spread of food between the two of us.

The mutton murtabak was good, but my wife says she likes the chicken version better. The cheese roti prata was fantastic. I’m going to get more of those tomorrow at lunch time. They remind me of cheese sticks from the US, or like a slice of New York cheese pizza without tomato sauce. It’s not that big, but they’re only 1.50 apiece so it’s not too bad a deal. Plus, I think I can get them cheaper around the corner from there. As for the muslim version of chicken rice, it was surprisingly good. It tasted as if it had been grilled over a real fire, which is a plus for me. I love grilled food! It also had a nice sauce poured over it. The rice was seasoned with garlic, which I enjoyed. Plain rice usually doesn’t do it for me. There was also a cup of a clear broth. That’s typical with meals purchased from hawkers here in Singapore. I wasn’t expecting much from it. Usually it’s just a chicken broth. Again, I was surprised. It had been seasoned with onion and garlic and tasted great!

It’s hard to get over cultural stereotypes, but in this case it was a good thing I did because I’d have missed out on a lot of good food.

BBQ Chicken

The first time my wife and I took a walk through the E-Hub mall at Downtown East in Pasir Ris, we saw a very nice looking restaurant on the entry level floor.  The name of the place is simply “BBQ Chicken”. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and we finally had the opportunity to go back.

The place is very clean and very comfortable.  We were seated in a nice booth in the corner.  We took a look through the menu.  It’s packed with a lot of great choices.  You can get everything from salads to sandwiches to stuff off the grill.  Looking at the posters on the wall, I think their “main attraction” dishes are made with chicken quarters that are cooked over charcoal, possibly using some sort of light olive oil.  They did look tasty, but we were in the mood for something a bit lighter than that, so my wife got a chicken salad and I got the chicken tortilla meal.  We also ordered an appetizer called koshi.

My chicken tortilla sandwich was pretty good.  It was nothing spectacular, but it was very satisfying.  The fries were a big greasy, but that’s ok.  The coleslaw was surprisingly good.  My wife’s salad was fantastic.  The vegetables were fresh and the chicken in it was surprisingly tasty.  I think it must be prepared the same way as the grilled chicken.  The koshi dish can be seen in the picture above.  It is 3 shish kebabs of chicken mixed with onion and red bell pepper.  They were very good.  My wife liked them a lot and said she could make a whole meal of them.

I can’t say much about the place.  The food wasn’t extraordinary or unique.  It was just good.  We’ll be going back though, and next I plan on trying one of the grilled chicken meals.