The Korean Fried Chicken (fondly called KFC in short) is catching on in Singapore like the Kpop and Kdrama. Although not growing at the lightning speed of the bubble tea or kopi-roti era – they were mostly gone just as fast – it is undeniable that the KFC is as sustainable as the Korean influence and we will expect more players on the bandwagon.
Choo Choo is the latest KFC brand in Singapore and probably the most ambitious. Started from a humble outlet of 20 plus seats in Bali Lane early 2014, it has since grown to 5 outlets, one of which in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Comparing to the older counterparts like Chicken Up and Four Fingers (read about our review of their Tampines 1 outlet HERE), Choo Choo nearly par in the no. of outlets using only half the time!
Seeing its rapid expansion, we naturally filled with anticipation when we visited their newest outlet in Toa Payoh. The restaurant is designed to make you feel at home. There are cosy sofa seats, high table and chair like the chill out corner in your home, and cute Japanese rabbit plush toys around to cuddle.
Perhaps, we have expected too much, we were a bit disappointed with their food quality and service standard.
Our main order was the 8 pieces chicken, which we have splited half crispy and spicy. There were 6 flavours to choose from by the way. The spicy was similar to those offered by the competitors; red, sweet and hot. However, the crispy was uninspiring, lacking the solid crunchiness that we desired of a fried chicken wing. The pieces were equavilent to 4 chicken wings hence it could not satisfy a couple. Therefore, we have added the Spam rice burger and Injeolmi Bingsu.
Rice burger is another pride creation of Choo Choo. It is a mixture of seaweed and rice with meat and kimchi fillings. The Spam rice burger we have ordered has the ham and kimchi in between. For the pleasantly mild taste and “feels healthy” factor, we actually prefers the rice burger over the title fried chicken.
Choo Choo Toa Payoh is currently the only outlet that house their desserts brand, Oppa. For those unaware, this is how a Korean lady call their elder brother or an intimate senior male friend.
Oppa dessert has many types of bingsu (the Korean version of our local ice-kachang or Taiwan’s shaved ice) on its menu that you will be spoil for choices. As first timer of the Korean dessert, we have go for the “thumb up” Injeolmi bingsu. We were unsure whether a typical bingsu would taste so blend. Instead of the overwhelming sweetness expected from a dessert, Injoelmi bingsu was more like a “muah chee” freeze.
The service staffs at the outlet were friendly and knowledgable of the menu but tends to be distracted even though the restaurant was only half filled during our patronage. They served the obviously shared dishes without side plates; Our request for extra chilli sauce was forgotten; Customers were advised to purchase mineral water (company policy though).
We are in dilemma of the final verdict for Choo Choo. The chicken is typical and dessert is awkward but the rice burger is able to cover the shortcomings. They have a nice restaurant aptly for the family dinner-out but the serving size and pricing does not commensurate. We would suggest for those who have yet to experience the KFC to give it a try for the sake of catching up with the current trend.
Restaurant: Choo Choo Toa Payoh
Address: 600 Toa Payoh Lorong 4, #01-05, Singapore 319515
Tel: 6255 2023
– they do not serve ice water. Bottled mineral water is available for dine-in at S$2.00+.
– GST is chargeable on top of the pricings stated on the menu.