Bairro Flame Grilled Chicken
B1-1919 31 St SW
Calgary, AB T3E 2M8
For me, fried chicken is one of those things im always on the look out for. I love a gooooood fried chicken. Like Gus’s, or Fremont Diner. Even the recipe in Thomas Keller’s Adhoc at Home is pretty good. But i dont want to fry chicken at home – it’s a big pain. Oil, mess, time. I dont eat it enough to warrant cooking it at home. I just want a place i can go to get my fix. In Calgary, Bairro is that place.
One day last fall, I was driving down 17th ave SE and I see a sandwich board that says “Bairro – Flame Grilled Chicken”. I like piri piri chicken, but im not a big fan of Nando’s. It’s been dry, and boring, and lacking in complexity and flavour. I figure they might do it better, so I give it a shot.
As i pull up, it has the look of a chain. Not the most auspicious of starts.
After a busy day this past summer checking out various tourist sights in Seoul, I hopped back onto a train back to the suburbs to where I was spending some nights sleeping early on in my journey. On the short walk back to the residence from the station, I noticed a boisterous establishment that seemingly was a pub/fried chicken kind of joint. I suggested to my travel mate that we go check it out – despite having finished eating a hearty dinner an hour before – but was told there was a better place they knew about, and the family I was staying with vouched for it. Sounded good to me. It allowed some more time to digest our dinner and was really convenient too, as all it required was a phone call, as they delivered! A change into some more comfortable clothes later and soon enough the door bell was ringing.
Reportedly there is an outpost of this popular Korean-style fried chicken known as Kyochon Chicken in Koreatown (Los Angeles) as well, but its the first I’d heard of it. Not being able to read anything around me probably had something to do with it. The logo I’d seen before though around the Korean capital city. It seems to be mainly a delivery/takeaway kind of business model. I think the places that serve Korean chicken that I’ve seen here in the GVRD are kind of like that (lots of “to-go” orders), but have seating areas as well where the beer (that goes so well with these things) flow freely. As this was a second dinner, I just asked that we get a dozen or so and I wanted to try the original flavor, so not enhanced with the sweet-spicy sauce that really makes Korean-style chicken so yummy.
205 – 3355 North Road
As alluded to at the end of this previous post, the meal journey of that day was far from over. In fact, it continued along the same chicken wing theme, as we ventured along the streets towards the Burnaby-Coquitlam border. After being rebuffed at Mexican Chicken Hof and Honey’s Bistro since they were both not open for the day, we decided on a longer journey out to Port Moody to check out Rehanah’s Roti.
But suddenly out of the corner of our eye we saw the humorous signage for Chicken Party.
A quick lane change and entry into the parking lot where this business was housed. Was it some kind of party house stocked with poultry-themed costumes? An exclusive entertainment club for chicken farmers?
7624 6th Street
Another completely random, TOFTT kind of outing. As I dug up the Urban Spoon reference for the address to be included in this posting, I was amused to see that someone had beaten me to this place – er, make that rather bewildered that somebody had actually decided on their own to have a meal here before my impromptu visit. Surprise, surprise, it was none other than the adventurous author of I’m Only Here for the Food!
Chicken Delight only stood out as I drove by looking for a quick daytime bite to eat because of its gaudy, outdated colorful signage. You know the kind, complete with windows plastered over in uncoordinated posters trumpeting various deals, combos and specials you can get inside. A funny thing though, after I stepped inside (and became the only customer) I learned that one of the items on their posters wasn’t even available. False advertising at its finest. Its you can’t order it, take it down please.
101-403 North Road
Yangnyeom Chicken is something I’ve discovered previously at Mexican Chicken Hof, and had neglected to follow up on at another nearby establishment that I was aware served it as well, until now. Honey’s Bistro is literally just up the street on the other side of Lougheed Highway, and I would say is a more visually common setting of what one might expect of a Korean Hof, albeit a slightly dated one. Part western, part eastern, it strides that unusual balance between these two worlds, though Honey’s leans slightly more to the west, and my guess is that it used to formerly be a more Canadian-style pub or eating house. The main thing though that gives the Korean-ness of it away are the flat panel displays on the walls, showing popular Korean tv and music programs.
Despite already haven eaten dinner nearby (a future post), I decided to pick up a box of fried chicken wings and drumettes- minus the sauce – to go. I wanted to first taste their chicken straight-up before considering coming back for the Yangnyeom version. Not surprisingly, I ended up eating some of it when I got home (and the rest the next day) despite having had dinner already. So much for dieting.
Fritou Halal Fried Chicken
216 Saddletowne Circle NE
Fried chicken is one of those things everyone can do, but most people fail to do well. In reading Thomas Keller’s new cookbook Ad-hoc at home, he describes his recipe for fried chicken as “if there’s better, I’ve never had it”. While Keller may be onto something, that doesn’t mean I have to take his word for it. So i’ll keep looking…
Fritou Halal Fried Chicken is part of the Fritou Chicken chain. Each independent owner buys equipment and supplies from Fritou, and then operates the chain in their own preferred method. In this case, as indicated by the name, they offer Halal chicken.
Mexican Chicken Hof
A1-341 North Road
H.O.F. Those three letters mean nothing on their own. Unless you happen to be in South Korea and your eyes are swimming around looking at an unfamiliar language and fonts. Especially if you are in a busy commercial zone full of restaurants, bars and other entertainment establishments in busy areas such as Kangnam in Seoul.
Derived from the German word hoffbrau meaning ‘royal or court brew’ which originates back in the days when beer was only available to the elite, its now often associated with German taverns. The Koreans have adopted part of the terminology as their own, and in the modern day, a hof could be described as a Korean pub or drinking spot. Incidentally, one of the very first hof’s I visited in Seoul over a decade ago was very much patterned after a German brew house, complete with huge beer steins, and delicious sausages on the menu.