DaWa Korean fried chicken is the shit

This KFC has affordable pricing and a liquor licence, too.

DaWa kfc Korean chicken montreal
Watch your back, Colonel Sanders — DaWa in NDG is a new Montreal KFC

DaWa has been open in Montreal since late March, occupying a space across from where the Dunkin’ Donuts once stood on Sherbrooke in the Deeg. Instead of offering 11 herbs and spices straight outta Kentucky, this place serves up their fried chicken with a Korean crunch.

Kentucky and South Korea couldn’t be further apart geographically speaking, but when it comes to chicken, they speak a similar language. That is, if you discount the DaWa menu, which humorously calls their family meals “Fried family” (this MF Doom song immediately sprang to mind).

A family fried half-and-half seemed like the best deal: nine pieces of regular fried chicken, nine pieces of Korean-Tao chicken (i.e. General Tao), a basket of fries and two small servings of anodyne coleslaw for $24. In both cases, the batter-to-chicken ratio was well-calibrated. The batter on the regular fried chicken, with a lighter brown hue compared with the Colonel’s, was crunchy, and amazingly made the same improbable sound when bitten into as the canned crunch noise you get in commercials. The spices in the batter didn’t overwhelm, nor did they taste particularly Korean, but the combination was mildly sweet, mildly spicy and had some subtle complexities. The chicken itself wasn’t as incidental as when you get a bucket of KFC — with every bite, there was enough tender meat to offset the crunchy batter.

The Korean-Tao wings were understandably spicier and sweeter, but thankfully not goopier – the amount of glaze administered to the wings was just right. DaWa’s secret weapon, though, is their more adventurous garlic teriyaki wings. They have boneless “sunsal” wings on the menu, which we didn’t try because we’re not grade schoolers.

DaWa has a liquor license as well. There’s Sleeman on tap, but the canned Sapporos or even the Soju (Korean vodka) felt like a better deal in hindsight. That being said, I and my dining posse received ice cold mugs with our $15 pitcher. The four of us paid a combined $62 (before tip) for a family fried, 10 wings and a pitcher of beer, and we were all sated by the end. It was a solid bargain.

It’s a tiny place, with a few tables and a television set for soccer-watching. There are also a few tables outside of DaWa for NDG people-watching, and they deliver.

If you’re a carnivore with a fried chicken craving, DaWa fills the need with more aplomb than your standard Kentucky bucket. Heck, it might even give Kenny Rogers’ Roasters and its glowing red signage a run for its money.

DaWa, 6135 Sherbrooke West (NDG), Montreal 514-508-3665

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