If Austin's dining scene has seemed like the same old same old, blame it on our citizens. For far too long, the homogenous population drove equally homogenous cuisine. Finding chicken-fried steak was easy; finding quality Korean food, not so much.
But according to the city’s planning and zoning department, those population numbers are shifting. The Austin-area Asian community is especially booming, almost doubling since the ‘90s. The numbers have attracted a new generation of businesses, like New Jersey-based supermarket chain H-Mart, which is set to open its first Austin outpost and an attached new food hall concept on February 15.
Now Bonchon Chicken, founded in Busan, South Korea, is coming to Round Rock. The location will be the first for Central Texas, although there are three franchises in the Houston suburbs and another in The Colony near Dallas. The chain is most popular on the East Coast, with several locations clustered around the Washington, D.C. and New York City metropolitan areas.
Bonchon is known for two things: long waits and delicious Korean fried chicken that has attracted the attention of major outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The chicken comes in several cuts and in soy garlic, spicy, or half-and-half flavors served with a side of pickled radish.
Although menus vary slightly between locations, area diners can expect traditional Korean dishes like ribeye bulgogi; bibimbap; and japchae, a stir-fried dish with glass noodles, marinated beef, and various vegetables. There are also several fusion dishes on the menu like Korean tacos filled with spicy chicken or bulgogi beef and kimchi coleslaw. Sides range from edamame to onion rings to fries sprinkled with house seasonings and Parmesan cheese.
The location will be at 2800 S. I-35, near West Louis Henna Boulevard. Although a Facebook page has been created to tease the opening, there’s no word yet on the exact date. CultureMap has reached out to the Bonchon corporate offices to request more information.