As the holidays steeply approach, you might find yourself at a mall to do some last-minute shopping.
You’ve been on your feet for hours, rifling through what’s left after an entire November of Black Friday sales and all the perkier shoppers’ pickings. You’re in need of some sustenance, and you’re led to the Park Place Mall food court, 5870 E. Broadway. They have more local options than you might have realized, and one in particular looks especially new: Oh My Chicken, a Korean-style fried chicken stand.
What might seem like unassuming quarters is home to, arguably, the best fried chicken in Tucson. I only include the disclaimer because fried chicken is the kind of comfort food that, even when it’s bad, is good — who’s to say which is best, really?
Chef and co-owner Myungjin Choi spent two years adapting the chicken recipe from what he used in Korea. Even though they ship the same ingredients from abroad, the export versions of those ingredients required tinkering. While the recipes are secret, known only to him (his brother Jason, a full-time accountant and full-time partner at Oh My Chicken, doesn’t even know the recipe), it involves sometimes days of marination to achieve the right, perfectly crunchy, effect.
My editor recommended I check out Oh My Chicken after she and her boyfriend tried it. He called it the best fried chicken he’s ever had. They advertised the chicken as perfectly crunchy — crispy without being tough. I drove out the same day.
Their menu is simple. You’re eating fried chicken, but you can choose how.
I tried the tenders, a childhood favorite, but you can also order bone-in pieces. Then there’s the sauces. I tried their sweet chili sauce, made with gochujang. It was delicious, and more flavor-spicy than hot. Other options include a honey or garlic soy dip and hot chili.
Myungjin became a restaurateur first in Korea, inspired by his mom who owned a restaurant for years. He came to Tucson three years ago to follow his brother Jason, who came here for school as a kid. Jason realized no one else here was making Korean fried chicken, and that people would travel to Phoenix just to try it. He was determined to make Oh My Chicken the best in town.
After searching for the perfect spot to open, the brothers eventually waited an entire year to secure their current space at the mall.
The typical order at Oh My Chicken comes with fries and a sweet, tangy red cabbage pickle. Each item is executed as well as the chicken itself: the fries are custardy on the inside and crisp outside, the pickle inundated with flavor without being too soft. But if you’re in the mood to mix it up, you can also order the chicken on a bed of salad or rice, or in sandwich form.
The menu item that eluded me was their tteokbokki — a thick rice noodle dish I fell in love with at Kimpo Market. At Oh My Chicken, they make their sauce in-house and get their noodles shipped from a Korean importer in Los Angeles. But the four-piece chicken meal alone was more than enough for a lunch (and I came with an appetite).
They also serve Korean soft drinks like sikhye, a rice punch like horchata, but flavored with malt instead of cinnamon and spices.
I was elated to have leftovers in my passenger seat on the ride home. A week later, I’m looking for excuses to go back to the mall.
Oh My Chicken
Location: Park Place Mall food court, 5870 E. Broadway
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
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