The wonders of the Old Centreville Crossing, the plaza that contains Centreville’s busy H Mart, never seem to cease. I’ve already talked about my affection for the shareable plates at Danji and the Turkish barbecue at Lezzet Mediterranean Restaurant. Now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag about the pitch-perfect poultry at Cheogajip Chicken.
It’s a sad reality that all too often, Korean fried chicken that purports to be spicy is really just sticky sweet with only a shadow of heat, a bone-in General Tso’s. This is not the case at Cheogajip. Order the hot-and-spicy chicken and after a few pieces, sweat will build on your brow. At the same time, the sweet garlicky flavor will fill your mouth, while the chiles will leave your lips tingling with fire, practically combusting. The best way to calm it? Sure you could pick up a few pieces of cool, vinegary pickled radish, but better still, eat a piece of soy garlic chicken, a salty, savory respite.
I’ve even eaten plain chicken at Cheogajip. It’s become hackneyed to call fried chicken shatteringly crisp, but dang, the thin batter certainly does crack like glass as you bite in. It’s not easy to wait to consume your chicken once it’s arrived at the table. After all, you’ve already sat through 15 to 20 minutes of preparation time. But take a minute or two and eat some tteokbokki. (The rice cakes are the spiciest I’ve had anywhere.) This is necessary to avoid burning the sensitive tissues of your mouth with the scorching juices of the chicken. A wait means the difference between pleasure and pain. And there are few things more blissful than finishing off a plate of Cheogajip Chicken.//13814 Braddock Road, Centreville
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