Bonchon, Cross Street, bb.q Chicken, and Calvin’s Korean Chicken—San Diegans can’t seem to get enough Korean fried chicken. What’s not to like? Crispy, sweet, spicy, salty, delicious… it’s practically its own food group, if you ask me. But it sounds like we haven’t reached peak chicken yet—South Korean chain BHC Chicken is opening later this year at 9450 Scranton Road, Suite 112 in Sorrento Valley.
Launched in 1997, BHC is a poultry powerhouse, with over 1,500 locations across South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore and millions in annual revenue. The first (and currently only) location in the United States opened in 2023 in Los Angeles, but doesn’t appear to be the last by a long shot. Considering that the largest Korean community in the United States resides in greater Los Angeles, it was the ideal place to launch what they call a “test lab” for the rest of the country, and with San Diego’s penchant for chicken, it sounds like the perfect next move.
BHC menu favorites include both traditional Korean dishes such as tteokbokki and rabokki, as well as more Western-style options like fried chicken sandwiches and fries. But it’s their fried chicken dishes that promise to satisfy any palate, including signature flavors like Gold King (a blend of Korean soy sauce, honey, and garlic) and Bburinkle (Korean cheese seasoning).
Cheesy Bburing seasoning comes on french fries, cheese sticks, and cheese balls as extra-savory sides as well. (Skip the ketchup and instead snag a side of lemon yogurt sauce for dipping. I love heat, so I prefer the sweet and spicy dipping sauce for that extra kick instead.)
San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events
Mujer Divina Heading to Downtown Chula Vista
After a chef gets painted with the Michelin brush, their every move is watched breathlessly and discussed endlessly. Priscilla Curiel is no different—her famed eatery Tuetano Taqueria first moved from San Ysidro to Old Town, with hungry fans following her every step of the way. Its temporary closure late last year set her up for what she hopes will be its permanent home in Chula Vista, which she estimates will open in March or April.
But foodies need not wait for spring to get a taste of what Curiel is cooking up in Chula Vista. The second location of her grab-and-go coffee and burrito concept Mujer Divina opens next week at 218 Third Avenue. “I’m scared, but ready to go,” she jokes, adding she hopes to open her doors on Monday, February 12 if possible. (In the meantime, she encourages patrons to keep visiting the original location at 310 E. 8th Street, Suite A in National City.)
Once open, she’ll be able to focus on finishing Tuetano and an additional concept dubbed Mujer Divina Breakfast House, both of which will be located next door at 216 Third Avenue, Suites A and B. Curiel explains that she’s keeping the to-go Mujer Divina concept for those on the run, but will expand the concept and menu into a more sit-down experience. The menu will remain “Mexican, 100 percent. I adore my cuisine, my culture,” she promises. “I want to give the most authentic that I can cook for my beloved customers.”
Dave’s Hot Chicken Continues Its Fast-Casual Takeover in Mission Valley
If there’s a fast-casual restaurant opening more restaurants than Dave’s Hot Chicken anywhere in the country, I sure as heck don’t know about it. The Southern California-born chain began as a parking lot pop-up in Hollywood before exploding across the United States, opening over 100 locations with hundreds more on the way.
San Diego can expect its sixth Dave’s Hot Chicken to open in early March at 2075 Camino De La Reina in Mission Valley. Deryl Pangelinan, COO of Dave’s Hot Chicken San Diego, says they hope to officially open March 1 in the former Greenspot Salad Company space, and promises at least six more locations across the county in the future.
“Our goal is to open 12,” he explains, pointing to neighborhoods like Chula Vista, Otay Lakes, and National City as possible locations. His group already operates outposts in Pacific Beach, El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, and Mira Mesa, and he says not only is their franchise group the first one in the company’s history, it’s also the largest. But while expansion looms large on their business plan, Pangelinan says they aren’t going too fast or sacrificing the spirit of Dave’s.
“We’re expanding strategically,” he promises. “It’s a destination brand—what better place to be than a destination city?”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times—more places need to serve spaghetti with clams with red sauce! If you have a recommendation, please send them to [email protected]. (Not white wine sauce, not squid ink, not mussels, not cioppino. Noodles. Red sauce. Clams. Please?)
I don’t drink much wine (I prefer cider), but if anyone wants to take me on a date to Finca, I will daintily sip whatever you put in front of me. Actually, let’s make it a group outing—I like to share as many plates as possible. As long as we order at least one XL duck confit croquette and charred octopus, I’ll be happy.