Top omakase operator opens Korean fried chicken eatery in Rhodes

A Korean favourite fries out the door: Flying Chook's soy garlic fried chicken.
A Korean favourite fries out the door: Flying Chook's soy garlic fried chicken. Photo: Supplied

With Korean chicken the sleeper food hit gaining serious traction across Sydney, the peckish don't have to look far. "There are at least 30 fried chicken specialty shops, it has grown exponentially," says the latest entrant to the party, restaurateur Kenny Lee.

Lee isn't your typical KFC (Korean fried chicken) operator in a city littered with examples such as Gami and Chicken V. He's co-owner of Kuon Omakase, a 10-seat $200-a-head luxury establishment on the edge of the Sydney CBD.

While the lockdown launch of Flying Chook wasn't ideal timing, the Rhodes newcomer had a nimbleness Kuon – which serves diners up to 20 courses – didn't offer. He was able to pivot to takeaway.

"Fried chicken has become a little like a national dish in Korea," says Lee, who grew up just north of Seoul.

Lee has tapped the experience of running a tempura specialty restaurant (Tempura Kuon) to hone the product at Flying Chook. "It's less oily, but really crispy," he says.

While his long-term dream is to open a Korean fine diner, Lee is keen to elevate everyday Korean food. To that end, Flying Chook offers more than chicken. The menu includes bibimbap, the popular Korean mixed rice dish, a classic Korean mussel soup and yukhoe.

"Yukhoe is the Korean version of beef tartare, only it's mixed in with sesame oil, soy sauce and salt," he explains.

Eventually he'd like to open more Flying Chooks. So why did he choose a shopping centre in Rhodes for his first Korean fried chicken enterprise? "There are eight of them in Strathfield, but Rhodes had none," he says.

Open daily noon-9pm.

Shop 83, Rhodes Shopping Centre, 1 Rider Boulevard, Rhodes,