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CM Chicken – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

Chicken, fried then cooked in a charcoal grill. Need we say more?

Several of you have been asking for me to swing by Choong Man Chicken since it opened, noting a specific curiosity around the Red Hot chicken variety. Plopping down in the bustling Korean Fried Chicken establishment, it’s cozy, a little crowded, and smells like tasty, tasty chicken.

The menu is concise, allowing you to choose from three different types of preparation. Regular, Tikkudak, or snow, some interesting concoction of thinly sliced rings of onion on top of their chicken with a creamy sauce of some sort. There’s also an option called “Cheese Monster” which we’re still a bit curious about what all that entails.

Along with some basic sides, you can also get gizzard or Lemon Spring Onion Chicken. Ultimately this place has all the things we enjoy and will easily become a go-to in Columbus. The biggest complaint from folks is that it feels a bit pricey for what it is, but with the amount of chicken you get, it’s worth trying at least once.

Behold! The Red Hot Tikkudak. This chicken is fried then tossed into a charcoal grill to bake further, all while the glistening red coating of addictive gochujang gets stickier and tastier. The Lady of the Farm was already one tender in on the Curry Tikkudak and had begun to lightly perspire. “If this is hot, yours is bound to be spicy.” I raised my eyebrows, knowing she was right.

Left hand gloved, right hand available for soju, Sapporo, digging bones out of the half chicken, etc, I began my Choong Man journey. The sauce is sticky, sweet, and spicy, giving off the comforting taste of a standard gochujang, but pulsing with some extra oomph. Whether it’s the sheer volume of gochujang per piece or a little extra red chili added to the mix, the Red Hot level had begun to loosen my sinuses.

Reversing a nose drip back into my head, I offered a small piece to my wife. She glared at me, untrusting. “You’ll be fine,” I chuckled. Popping a chunk of chicken into her mouth, the cagey look turned to fear, then anger. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” she yelled as she reached for her water. Assuring her it would dissipate, I logged in my notebook that this was at least in the upper realm of heat.

Carving my way through the rest of the half chicken (it’s seriously like they cut a chicken down the middle and then just slapped at the half with a knife), the heat and flavor stayed consistent. The napkin to my right looked like the calendar scrawlings of an insane person, but with tiny nose drops instead of flint or ash.

Finishing the chicken, I sat back, satisfied. It’s a good burn, and one that I would get again. If you remember Bonchon when it was around CM Chicken is similar, but better. As for where this sits on the list, we’re placing CM Chicken at #54.

You can find Choong Man Chicken at 1132 W Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220.

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