I didn’t think I’d led a particularly sheltered life, but somehow the wonder that is Korean fried chicken escaped me until a few months ago when I stumbled across Gami Chicken & Beer in Shafto Lane, and never looked back…and then there was NeNe Chicken in Victoria Park. NeNe is an established brand that has been in operation for 16 years and has over 900 outlets in South Korea, although it’s relatively new to Australia.

I was invited to the NeNe Chicken launch “feast” in January but sadly was unable to attend, so decided to go along for lunch during the week with my friend Linda.

You can see the full Australian NeNe menu here, which includes varieties of fried chicken such as “garlic” and “snowing vegetable”. I’m not sure whether all of the items are available in Perth, I don’t recall seeing the burgers on the menu.

Linda isn’t a big fan of chilli, so we ordered a “half and half” large plate of sweet & spicy (“Swicy”, apparently) for her and of course the “Freaking Hot” for me. Unfortunately it wasn’t clear which was which, and Linda dug in without checking first…

The Freaking Hot packs a surprisingly decent kick, probably not by Korean standards, but the average Australian palate will find it confronting. This is as spicy a dish as you’re going to find anywhere mainstream, and will certainly out-punch your average curry house. I didn’t find it a struggle but will confess to a little lip-numbness when I first tucked in.

Our two varieties of NeNe Chicken were really saucy, and I’ve heard a few complaints that it’s just too much. There were no complaints from me, it was moist on the inside with a crunchy outer coating smothered in ridiculously spicy sauce. I absolutely loved it πŸ™‚

I’ve only tried the dry chicken at Gami so find it hard to compare the two – and I’ve heard the same complaint about the saucy version of Gami – but making a call at this time would be like choosing a favourite child.

I photographed these folks in a glamorous pose to demonstrate the way you need to eat your NeNe chicken – with disposable plastic gloves. Not very classy, but awesome.

I’ve been craving NeNe Chicken almost daily since I went there, which makes me wonder whether there’s something suspicious in it or if it’s just damn good. I’m guessing the latter.

I’ll be back soon for more of that Freaking Hot.