When I heard that my favourite Korean fried chicken restaurant has recently launched a new late night weekend menu at their Davie Street location, I knew I had to go. I gathered up #JoyDiaggi & friends together for a Korean food, drinks, and k-pop night. After all, their chicken is amazing, so their food has to be just as good. And I don’t know about you, but when I order Korean fried chicken, I am always looking for a side to pair with it, for all those bites in between. And with this menu your options are more than just fries.
We would order the entire menu as k-pop music played it the background. We had a total of 6 dishes and there was more than enough food for our group of 6. Nene also offers alcoholic drinks like beer and soju to accompany your meal, but sadly we did not partake in any today.
I love Tteok-bok-ki (Korean-style rice cakes), so was happy to see 3 different varieties of it offered on their new menu. The first is the traditional version: Korean spicy rice cakes in a spicy sauce with oden and hashbrown. This was prepared perfectly chewy with other elements to sort through for a varied texture and taste. I am familiar with the fish cakes and the seafood balls, though felt that the hashbrown was an unusual curve ball. However, it is one that suited as it offered a nice crispy element to the dish, and the spicy sauce it sat in became its dip.
For those who like the texture, but not the heat, look to Nene’s Rose Tteok-bok-ki instead. The same amazingly chewy tubes of rice cake and assorted fish cake, but in a parmesan cheese sauce with only hint of spicy cream. This had a heat rating of only 1 chilli pepper on the menu, as opposed to the spicy Tteok-bok-ki and its 2. I preferred the rose for its creamier and slightly sweet sauce, this is a great remix of one of my favourite Korean dishes.
For more Tteok-bok-ki look to their Top Grilled Spicy Chicken dish. You get a handful of spicy rice cakes alongside boneless chicken thigh, green onion, and hot sauce. This had a heat rating of 3 chilli peppers. It is great for sharing as each scoop up we took including plenty of stringy stretchy cheese, and you can only have so much of its spiciness before beginning to pant. Here, it would have been nice to have a side of pickled radishes to help cut into the heat.
For something less spicy, but just as fun to share, go for their Chicago Fries. A mound of French fries topped with pepperoni, olives, and mozzarella cheese. It ate like pizza fries but with a sweeter sauce than any marinara. And thanks to all the toppings, even after the dish cooled and the fries lost their crispiness, I still found myself going back for more given how well dressed they were and how much flavour the cheese and the black olives added.
For a more traditional Korean dish/side look to their Nene Kimchi Hot Pot. A hot, cast-iron bowl brought to your table still bubbling, filled with a neon red broth that includes kimchi, pork, tofu, and vegetables. It tasted exactly as expected and warmed you inside and out with only a 1 chilli pepper rating of heat.
Not new to the menu per se is their Double-Double Boneless Chicken box. This is a set of 4 different types of chicken served together: Swicy, Creamyon, Soy Garlic, and Snowing Cheese. Where previously in order to have their newer “Creamyon” fried chicken flavour, you had to have an entire order of it. Here you get a whole chicken’s worth of food but in 4 different flavours for easy picking & choosing. The Swicy and Soy Garlic flavours are classic, available at most, if not all other Korean fried chicken places. A sticky sweet, yet spicy glazed chicken and a sweet and garlicky teriyaki adjacent chicken flavour. My favourite Nene chicken flavours are the Creamyon and Snowing Cheese. Although be warned, both are best eaten fresh, before the starchy cheese powder gets absorbed into the chicken and you lose that mouth coating salty and cheesy flavour from the Snowing. And before the thick creamy-on sauce causes the chicken to lose its crispy nature.
Dine in and add on fries for extra, or take it to go in one of their popular set boxes.
In short everything was delicious, and all the above are highly welcomed additions to their already popular menu. Now you can come down or order a full Korean feast with Nene and now just their chicken. And I have to correct myself, and begin calling them my favourite Korean restaurant, not just Korean fried chicken hot spot.
1231 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N4, Canada