Imagine Socrates lived in present day Hong Kong and was about to be put to death by drinking a cup of hemlock (charged, no doubt, with corrupting the gwielos of HK). He is allowed a last meal, but the prison guard says he’s not allowed a Morty’s Pastrami sandwich and it has to be less than £15 a head. There’s a good chance he’d scratch his chin, pontificate, then turn to his mates Crito and Plato, and say “brothers, fetch me a huge bowl of Korean fried chicken”. The dilemma is thus: where would his bros go to find this chicken?
There is no shortage of Korean restaurants in Hong Kong, and my experience so far had been that they were all of a good standard. But what we were really craving was a Korean restaurant that almost exclusively served fried chicken. “Why?” you ask, left eyebrow slightly raised, about to lay some serious cuisine inspired smack-down.
Quite simply, we wanted to see how good the fried chicken could be when every scintilla of the chef’s energy was put into its preparation.
Uncle Padak was a short walk from our apartment, up a relatively steep hill that reminds you one must endure trials and tribulations before being rewarded. The exterior of the building is nothing out of the ordinary, but looks at least 30 years newer than the façade of Affinity Kitchen.
As you glimpse inside you will see various posters for Korean beers (which quite amusingly feature debonair blokes who almost certainly have never drunk beer sinking a cold one) and, of course, huge plates of fried chicken on the tables. This was exactly what we were looking for, and we would prevaricate no longer.
The menu has all sorts of fried chicken on offer, in basically any combination imaginable. We ordered the half boneless soy chicken and half chicken wings and thighs with sweet and sour sauce. It also transpired it was Happy Hour, so we picked up a few beers at basement prices.
As is customary, we shared a small kimchi between us, as well as some freshly chopped radish palate cleansers. It wasn’t long until The Plate arrived, delivering our precious cargo. It was a veritable mountain of chicken, with peaks of thigh and valleys of wings.
There is no need to give a play-by-play rundown of this meal. It was delicious from the first bite to the last. Perfectly battered, perfectly fried, good quality meat and filling. For the amount we ate, the prices were very reasonable and the alcohol cost next to nothing.
Back to our original question – when asked to fetch Socrates his chicken, Crito and Plato would go to Uncle Padak’s.