Korean fever came upon us many many summers ago but this did not stop hordes of Singaporeans queuing to get a piece of the new Chir Chir chicken, plus a sip of their Chir Cream Beer. Chicken and beer is so popularised in Korea that there is a term for it – Chimaek culture (Chi for chicken and Maek for beer). Well, I am sure the Americans are not amused considering they had their buffalo wings and beer decades ago and no one even remotely called it a culture.
Before I even saw the chicks, I wanted to compare it with the other very popular Korean chicken brand with a perpetual queue. I built up an expectation and mentally challenged the new bird to knock them off that high pedestal. My verdict? Well, taste is subjective but I definitely found my new love. And with two more outlets planned this year, it will be easier (I hope) to get my four fingers on these lovely fowl.
Let’s start with the Chir Cream Beer (S$13.90 for 350ml mug). Beer with freshly whipped, slightly sweet, cream. Korean drama fans will know this – it is called “latte kiss” from a popular series. Interesting how a simple act on screen, becomes adapted into an interesting beverage. A friend squirmed at the thought of cream on beer but it tastes good, with the sweetness battling with the bitter notes of the beer. Stir the cream into the beer to give it a creamier texture or just have the cream and beer separately. Whatever. Just quickly serve me the chicken please.
You can choose a whole chicken, wings (seven pieces) or tenders. And they come in three different options – Fried, Garlicky or Spicy. Prices range from S$26.90 for a whole fried chicken, to S$28.90 for seven spicy wings. The fragrant Garlicky is my favourite as it has a good combination of sweet, savoury and spicy. The Fried version comes in second, with six hours of marination in special house seasoning, and its crispy batter. Both the Spicy and Garlicky chicken comes with roasted sweet potatoes and fried toppoki (Korean rice cake). It is a pity you cannot combine the various flavours in one dish; you have to come in a bigger group to try all three.
But wait, there are another two sharing dishes that you have to try. So you either come back again or call in your contingency “makan kakis” to help.
Nest Snow (S$32.90) is spicy Cajun tenders atop sweet potato puree sitting in cream sauce with olives, peppers and broccoli. It is topped with a dollop of their freshly whipped cream. This dish is creamy and slightly heavy so it is best shared among a few people.
Now to up the ante in your threshold of spiciness. The Spicy BBQ Roasted Chicken (S$32.90) is a whole chicken, marinated for 12 hours, oven-roasted, then slapped on with a very spicy BBQ sauce, and pan-fried to ensure the sauce is evenly coated on every piece. Wow, this is fire in the mouth! But after the pain subsides, you just want to reach for another. A friend commented that this is best eaten at home, when you can take your time to torture your taste buds again and again. I love it. Something to think about Grey.
The most unique dish for the evening has nothing to do with meat. It is the Honey Grape Salad (S$18.90). Sweet seedless grapes swirled in house-made ricotta and whipped cream and sprinkled with walnuts, almond and pine nuts. It is served with two honey-garlic tortillas which eaten together with the grapes, balances the sweet and savoury very well. I never had a grape salad before. There are salads with grapes, but seldom a salad made just from grapes. Thumbs up! The menu does not have desserts (my second tummy grumbles…), so this is the closest you get if you want a sweet ending to your meal.
Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory
313 Orchard Road, Singapore 239985
Opens 10am to 10pm from Sundays to Thursdays and 10am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
For Reservations (for 10 pax and above only), call +65 6509 8364