Taiwanese fried chicken is becoming a thing in Philadelphia's Chinatown.
The thickly breaded birds are not to be confused with the now-familiar twice-fried Korean fried chicken (e.g. Bonchon), which seems dainty by comparison.
The new Cheers Cut (122 N. 10th St.) specializes in mammoth, fried, katsu-like cutlets that are served in a cardboard sleeve. You can also get some of the largest squid ever to grace a restaurant plate.
New around the corner, at 938 Race St., is Chi Ken (267-273-1136), an offshoot of a Brooklyn shop that also specializes in chicken and squid.
Chi Ken's most popular dish seems to be popcorn chicken, an easier-to-eat version. It's also one of the best values in Chinatown. An order is $5, but order it as a bento and for $7, you get about a generous serving of crispy chicken, a small scoop of corn, half a hard-boiled egg, a portion of pork-topped rice (reminiscent of lu ròu fan) with half a link of pork sausage, and a side of steamed broccoli and cabbage that has been sauteed in scallion sauce.
Ketchup is provided at no charge; they charge 25 cents extra for ranch, honey mustard, Thai-style chili sauce, and sriracha sauce.
Ramen, now listed on the menu, should be available soon, an employee told me.
For a laugh, don't miss the milk teas, sold in plastic bottles shaped like human torsos. "Lady milk tea" and "muscle milk tea" are Taiwanese spin-offs of a Japanese energy drink; they're supposed to have some sort of "enhancement" properties, but...
It's open from lunchtime till late.
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