July 5, 2016
Here’s the deal about Korean fried chicken – we can never get enough. Flavourful sauces and marinade, the right amount of crunch, and most importantly, spice done right; what’s to hate? Which is exactly why we’ll never tire of discovering a new hole-in-the-wall KFC joint, even with multiple additions joining the scene everyday.
Our latest obsession: OPPA Chicken, a cosy, homegrown café founded and headed by Singaporean Debbie Wu, who first conceived the idea on a leisure trip to Seoul. Determined to bring home a piece of the culture she’d fallen in love with, she returned to Korea for two months to work in the hot kitchens and learn the recipes firsthand from local chefs. Today, she’s OPPA Chicken’s head chef – and the sole maker of the secret sauces for all the chicken dishes.
Tucked along the bustling South Bridge Road, OPPA is all neon signboards and funky Korean aesthetic (think wooden-industrial style interior). It’s a great central location, which might explain the daily office-working lunch crowd; even more so now that OPPA’s introduced its newest offerings – quick, affordable OPPA One-Bowls.
Created with the time-starved office worker in mind, the One-Bowls are essentially an all-in-one set meal you can chow down under a time (and budget) crunch. Joining in the fusion food trend, the meals come in a wide variety of noodles or rice (ie. carbs) accompanied with a piece of chicken (ie. protein) in your choice of flavour. And at under $8 a bowl, that’s crazily affordable. We ended up with the traditional Korean Japchae Noodles ($6.90) and Kimchi Fried Rice ($6.90), both with sweet Yangyum chicken on the side.
The Kimchi Fried Rice was fragrant without being overly sour – great for those less keen on the sharp tang of Korean kimchi; but our hearts were won over by the Japchae noodles – stir-fried sweet potato glass noodles that were as springy and chewy in the mouth as they were tasty.
Shoutout to the OPPA Topokki ($6.90), a generous serving of everyone’s favourite chewy rice cakes, which we ordered at Level 3 spiciness, upon Debbie’s coaxing. It’s the restaurant’s standout dish, but in short: we died. Be warned that the spice is deceptively delayed; at first we swallowed it down confidently, pleasantly surprised at our own tolerance as Debbie’s eyes widened in horror at the possibility that OPPA’s prized spicy topokki might have finally met its match. And then it hits you, right at the back of your throat, and you think you might never eat again. Wash it down with the Fruity Soda Pop ($4.50) – at least afterwards we could taste again.
But of course, OPPA is first and foremost a chicken joint after all, which is probably why we’ll be returning soon just to gorge on the chicken. The Yangnyum was sweet and light, easily binge-able the next time you crave a good saucy KFC. We also had to try the chicken highlights – OPPA’s best-selling Honey Garlic and Flaming Yangnyum chicken ($11.90 for 8 winglets, $17.90 for 12). If you’re a fan of sweet flavours, go for the Honey Garlic; though our personal favourite was the Flaming Yangnyum, which was all kinds of YAS with the perfect spicy kick. The chicken, which also comes in Original and Soy Garlic flavours, is available in Small (6pcs) to Large (18pcs) sizes – so you can share, or have it all by yourself.
And when you’re done with your entire, finger-licking meal, don’t forget to wipe down with the cheeky towelettes – “extra safe”, if you know what we mean. All in all, definitely a place to check out, whether you’re on a budget, or looking for a new favourite hangout to splurge on fried chicken. We hear new items will be coming to the menu soon too, like individually packaged watermelon soju – perfect for pairing with your chix.
Address: 274 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058823
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon to Sat)
More info at facebook.com/OPPAchicken