Up until an hour ago, I knew nothing about Korean fried chicken. So if I say things that seem to describe something exceptional, yet apply to any old Korean fried chicken place, or things that everyone already knows, or things that are flat out wrong, just keep it to yourself, because I don't care.
In fact I still don't know much about Korean fried chicken. What I did know about Korean fried chicken is that it is crispy, an it's supposed to be some pretty good stuff. This was confirmed today with some take-out from Teaneck's Peck Peck Korean Style Chicken. Wow, wow, wow.
They are not kidding when they say it will take 30 minutes to cook your chicken. I called in my order and arrived about 15 minutes later. 20 minutes after that I got my chicken wings. Whatever their cooking method is, it takes a while, and it's worth the wait. The chicken is just silly crispy, and suffers from none of the flaws that too often plague chicken wings--flabby, overly battered, or heaven forbid, breaded. This crispness even stood up to the 20 minute drive home. Which is good, because the place only has about 4 tables, so you'll want to consider eating in your car or carting them home.
The crisp isn't simply crunch, though. It's not as though these things are hard. "Crunchy" can often translate to dry and lifeless. Rather, at Peck Peck, the skin is yielding, and tender, but yet, well, crisp.
I tried both flavors: soy/garlic, and sweet/spicy. A regular $3.95 Sophie's choice. But with prices this low, there's no reason to not order every damned thing you want.
Both had a slightly sweet base. Both had subtle, clean flavors. The spicy heat that snuck up, possibly from Korean red pepper powder, lingered just long enough to enjoy, but reset for the next bite. The garlic and soy was equally as balanced and nuanced. I went back and forth between each, lips quivering, eyes rolling to the back of my head.
Quite frankly I think many people would find that these wings aren't flavored aggressively enough. Especially if you're used to wings being dowsed in Frank's Hot Sauce and poured onto a plate at a pub. But these wings aren't those wings. And these wings aren't dowsed. An observer of the tiny kitchen will notice the owner carefully, lovingly, painting each wing, individually, with the sauce. Like those maniacs who cook competition BBQ do to make their presentation all purdy. The level of effort for a few dollars worth of wings here at Peck Peck is really quite impressive. Even when placed in the to-go box, they were layed out with John List-level care and precision.
The menu is small and chicken-centric, and includes some boneless options, and legs. And rice, and cole slaw, and pickled "veggies." And salads. Aw peck heck, just look at the menu. I scanned it in so you don't have to suffer through blurry-ass cell phone photos on Yelp like I did.
I figured a little fiber wouldn't hurt, so I ordered the pickled veggies at the 11th hour. Cabbage, red pepper, cucumbers, served sweet and sour. Fresh, crunchy, excellent, and a great counterpoint to the crispy fried chicken.
This appears to be a real mom-and-pop operation. Just two people in the kitchen, cooking a lot of chicken with not a lot of fryers. The woman couldn't have been nicer or more appreciative of my business. "Thank you for waiting," she said. "Thank you for cooking!"
I can't say enough about how good this chicken is. Although you probably figure I went on too long already.
Every corner of the world should be so fortunate as to have a place like Peck Peck. You've got 30 minutes, and you've got no reason to go to KFC or Popeye's.
Peck Peck Korean Style Chicken : 250 Degraw Ave : Teaneck, NJ : 201.530.5858 : BYO : Call ahead!