Calling all the chicken lovers!
Pungmi Chicken in Suncheon, South Korea is known for their Garlic chicken. Coated in the crispiest layer of batter and deep fried in a pressure cooker, Pungmi has been serving up quality chicken since 1984.
They were having a fun event where you could upload a picture of you kicking a jegi (the Korean version of hacky sack) on social media for a free order of rice balls!
They do not have outdoor seating, but had many seats available indoors. They also had a second location on the same street for nights when it gets crowded.
You can get a discount by ordering their menu sets, so I ordered the Pungmi lunch set (available until 5 pm). They also sell regular fried chicken, chicken gizzards, beer, and other drinks.
The lunch set came with a whole garlic chicken, sprouted rice balls (새싹 주먹밥), and a bottled soft drink (I chose Coca Cola) for 23,000 Korean won ~$20.
The meal also came with side dishes including picked radishes (단무지), which is key when eating Korean fried chicken, kimchi (also a staple), cabbage salad with ketchup and mayo, and some sauces to dip the chicken in. Their ingredients (chicken, rice, kimchi, garlic, and cabbage) were all harvested in Korea.
The chicken is fried whole, and they rip it for you when they bring it out to your table. I was really impressed by how the batter was thin yet super crispy and not that oily. It was perfectly fried, while the meat was very juicy and tender!
They are very generous with the amount of garlic they coat on top of the fried chicken (and it is fresh garlic), so it did have the strong, spicy taste of garlic. If you are a big fan of garlic, you would like it but even though I do like garlic, it was a bit too strong for me when I ate the chicken alone.
If the garlic taste is too strong, fear not because there are a variety of ways to enjoy this chicken!
You can eat it dipped in the spicy and sweet red sauce, or pair it with some cabbage salad.
The kimchi also paired well with the chicken and gave it a nice spice.
The rice balls came in a giant bowl packed with fresh herbs and dried seaweed, and then you could make your own rice balls based on the size you wanted. The herb mix was savory and tasty. I especially liked the combo of rice ball, chicken (dipped in red sauce), and kimchi on top!
Even though the garlic taste was a bit strong, I their batter was exceptional so I might be back to try the original flavor if I am back in the area.
The meal definitely filled me up, so I was ready to walk around Suncheon Bay National Garden afterwards!
You have to walk across a long colorful “Dream Bridge” decorated with various phrases in hangul and pictures drawn by children all over the world depicting what they want to be when they grow up.
This garden is very impressive, and it is so big that they have a trolley system that takes you from station to station. Suncheon is known for being a garden city so I highly recommend checking it out to see beautiful gardens and architecture inspired by countries around the world.
Address for Pungmi Chicken: South Korea, Jeollanam-do, Suncheon-si, Seongnamdwit-gil, 3 KR
Address for Suncheon Bay National Garden: South Korea, Jeollanam-do, Suncheon-si, 국가정원1호길 162-11 KR