by Mike Sula
It's more troubling to worry about the reasons why—high corn prices due to drought and mandated ethanol production—and what these may mean for future food production in general.
But hey, chicken wings, right? Don't be a Chicken Little.
Which elegantly brings me to the subject of Dak Korean Chicken Wings, the Edgewater storefront chicken hawker that opened just after the holidays, specializing in the sweet, sticky genus of K(orean)F(ried)(C(hicken) known as tongdak. You might be most familiar with this kind of bird from those found at Lakeview's wonderful Crisp, or Toreore Chicken & Joy at HMart, or perhaps even at the late Cheogajip/Pizza Chicken & Love Letter.
Actually, the chicken at Dak is more of a combination of those and the hot, sticky gampongi you get at Great Sea and other Chinese-Korean restaurants, in that these are simply wings—not delicate frenched drumettes, but massive double-jointed freaks of poultrydom that when nestled together in the basket resemble a coiled avian mutation ready to strike out in revenge for your passive support of concentrated animal-feeding operations.
At Dak, you have two options: a spicy barbecue variety slathered in a sticky-sweet, not-very-hot chile sauce, or an even sweeter soy-garlic variety (both can certainly be amped up with squirts of gochuchang or rooster sauce). You will tangle with them, though they're not fried particularly hard, and the sauce tends to degrade the crispiness of the skin. When you're done you will need to hose down. Think of it as a refreshing shower after an invigorating workout.
Their sweetness makes the accompanying side of crispy pickled daikon (aka moo) almost a necessity, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend combining them with the bland bi bim bop. If you don't care to battle the wings, there are various meaty stir-fries—chicken, bulgogi, and bulgogi with the chewy cylindrical rice cakes known as dukbokki. Plus egg rolls, dumplings, kimchi, and a selection of Western and Korean soft drinks, including Lotte-brand juices like rice, Asian pear, and grape, all with delicious chunkage in suspension.
Dak Korean Chicken Wings, 1104 W. Granville, 773-754-0255