#266: Vons Chicken

11:15AM / 12/12/2021
https://www.vonsroseville.com (local site)
https://vonschickenusa.com (corporate site)

Today I returned to one of my new, top chicken places in Roseville. I discovered Vons in early 2021 and have ordered from them a couple times since then. Today is the first time I dined in.

Vons is a Korean Fried Chicken franchise that seems strictly based in northern CA so far, with most of their <30 locations in the Bay Area. Just 3 that I can see, including this one, are in the Sacramento area. Some more reading on the main website reveals that it originated in South Korea itself.

They offer 2 main varieties of chicken – Roast Oven and Crispy Fried. For each type they have a variety of flavors to pick from, and you can get boneless, drums, wings or a combo of drums and wings. Sides include fries (some flavored fries as well), kimchi fried rice, fried shrimp, man doo (pot stickers) and rice cakes. Previously I have tried the honey butter French fries and the cheddar French fries.

I arrived a little after opening to an empty dining room but a busy sounding kitchen. I took some time to go over the menu and placed my order at the register. This time I went with a combo ($11.99), a mix of drums and wings, and chose the Crispy Yangnyeom flavor. This comes in a choice of mild/medium/spicy. I asked how spicy the spicy was. The cashier said that it will leave a slight burning sensation on your lips. I went for it.

My combo came with a choice of coleslaw or radish (I chose coleslaw) and steamed rice or French fries (I chose the rice and spent $1 to upgrade it to kimchi fried rice). I finished off my order with original flavor soju ($9.95). The cashier grabbed my soju bottle from the cooler near the entrance and also gave me a small glass for it.

I sat down and cracked open the bottle while I waited for my order. I remember drinking Soju (or what I believed until now was soju) in a cave bar in Busan on one of my first international trips. I remember it being cloudy and having a sweet fragrance and flavor. I haven’t had it since. A little googling is leading me to believe what I had that night was actually Makgeolli, which has a much lower ABV, and is much easier to drink, in my opinion. Here’s a couple photos from that cave and one of my hosts pouring a cup with a ladle.

This Soju had little to no aroma, was perfectly clear, and you could taste the 17% ABV. Somewhat similar to vodka it had an astringent flavor to it, while not being quite as “hot”. It was alright but would be best to share given its high alcohol content. I am curious to try the two other flavored variations they have available (Peach and Yogurt).

My food came out very quickly, it had probably been less than five minutes. Served on a tray and in one of the take out boxes with the top opened up I could see the pile of chicken leaning up against the orange-red kimchi fried rice. As with my previous experiences here, I was treated to a more favorable mix of chicken than the menu suggests. I received three drums and one wing rather than 50/50. My other orders have been generous not just with the wing to drum ratio but also with the total quantity, as I received 1-2 additional bonus pieces on those earlier visits.

First I tried a bite of the rice, which I’ve now decided is the gateway food I needed to fully embrace kimchi. It was mildly spicy and did not have the strong vinegar flavor that I usually associate with kimchi (and dislike). I picked at this throughout the meal and made sure to keep some to soak up any remaining sauce left by the wings in the box at the end.

The slaw was a tiny little container of a creamy, delicious and crunchy mixture. I do wish the serving size was a bit larger. It was about 4 bites worth.

On to the chicken. I had hoped to avoid repeating a previous flavor selection but didn’t remember that I had already tried this one before. As before, the drums were a good size and had loads of incredibly tender, juicy meat on them. They were coated with an exceptionally crisp fried batter and then drenched in a viscous, bright red sauce. The sauce was a bit sweet, a bit spicy and a bit garlic-y. Exactly as described, I noted a lingering, but not unpleasant burning sensation on my lips once I had finished everything.

I thought I’d mention the fries here, which I had previously. I was very curious about the honey butter and the cheddar flavored options and tried each one on different visits. Both consisted of a heavy powdery coating. The cheddar flavor was fine but felt a bit synthetic. The honey butter was really unique and bizarrely delicious. I never would have imagined a sweet French fry flavoring being so good. It really did have a sweet buttery flavor to it with a hint of honey. I think this would be interesting to try on the wings (both cheddar and honey butter are available options).

I have yet to check out the oven roasted side of the chicken menu. It’s way too hard to turn down known delicious fried chicken when presented with the choice. Maybe next time (I said that last time). Here are some more photos of the chicken I’d ordered before:

I love this place. I think the chicken is incredible, the sides are pretty great, and the prices are reasonable (especially now-a-days). This is an easy 5 out of 5 for me. I wish there was one closer to work!

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4 thoughts on “#266: Vons Chicken

  1. Last time we went there, we got both the oven roasted and the fried. You must try the oven roasted. It’s really good!

    We’d wondered about the yangnyeom sauce. Thanks, we’re definitely getting it next time. I also want to try the soy & black vinegar.

    And the kimchi fried rice. I’d eat a quart takeout box of it in one sitting.

  2. Oh that kimchi fried rice looks SO good!! I have never tried it – perhaps this will be my excuse to! So happy you are back. 🙂

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