Sammy’s Korean BBQ: Come for the KFC, Stay for Everything Else

Earlier this month Sammy Chon’s Korean Restaurant opened up a Philadelphia branch in Chinatown. The opening brought  much excitement to lovers of the Koagie (spicy meat sandwich), Korean fried chicken, and Korean barbeque. To make matters better, affordable lunch specials are available during the week until 3:00, which is huge because Korean bbq can sometimes be a little pricey.

The ban chan came out quickly with kimchee, green beans, spicy cucumbers, and corn.

Korean fried chicken is available on the lunch menu for about $6 with your choice of flavors- soy garlic, honey sesame, spicy, and diablo. Soy garlic is the flavor I am accustomed to from eating KFC in Queens, NY, so I stuck to that.

I can say without hesitation that this tastes nothing like my favorite KFC spots in Queens. But I put that version out of my head and concentrated on what was in front of me. The skin is crazy crispy, we are talking straight up cracker jack crunchy. The soy garlic didn’t have the addictive sweet- salty perfect balance that it should… ok I am comparing again.  These are not bad wings by any means! The chicken was moist and the size of each wing was not too big and not too small. I would definitely get them again to accompany a beer once Sammy Chon’s gets their liquor license.

Everyone these days gets excited when a restaurant serves KFC, myself included. But I get equally excited when jajangmein is on the menu. The combination of  black bean sauce soaked onions, pork, and vegetables over thick, chewy noodles just does it for me. Here, the lunch menu listed “noodles with black bean sauce”, which was the red flag that the noodley object of my desire was close by.

I was very pleased with the Sammy Chon version. It was better than what Nagwon Garden offers. The sauce was thick, the noodles slightly chewy, and the bowl was practically bottomless- all of the things I like to see in my jajanmein. A worthy lunchtime plate at $8.

The bulgogi dolsot is another lunch special($9); a stew of mushrooms and meat that we all agreed was the perfect degree of spiciness. You know, just enough to make your nose run slightly.

While this picture looks like the kombucha culture I am currently growing in my kitchen, it is their soon duboo. I have never really gotten aboard the soon duboo boat, but I have tried them here and their and Sammy Chon’s version was impressive. I know that Jong Ka Jib is the Philly mecca of soon duboo, but I had a palate blow out from the spice . More is not always better. Sammy’s was spicy but had a lot of flavor that was more to my liking.

The service was very attentive here until the end of our meal when we were looking for our bill. And as BridgesBurgersBeer documented, a little yogurt bottle is brought to you at the end of your meal. We felt welcomed by the staff and the rocking K-Pop tunes. Do yourself a favor and check out the Sammy Youtube K-Pop station.

It looks like our main reason for coming to Sammy’s was the least impressive, while all of our other dishes were surprisingly well done. Some other lunch specials cross over the $10 mark but the amount of food you get is absolutely crazytown that it is still a bargain. And with so many lunch specials I didn’t get to try, I know I will be back.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Korean food at reasonable prices
  • Great version of jajangmien and soon duboo

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Not the best KFC
  • Small children might be confused at the music video vixens singing in Korean and wearing baby clothes

Sammy’s,911 Race, (@ 9th t) 215 574 -1778



  • Did we go to the same place? My impression of Sammy’s was totally different. I went for lunch during their 1st or 2nd weekend, and had a terrible meal. Granted, I did go close to opening, so I’ll give them another shot, but the 1st impression sucked. Everything from the dolsot bibimbap to my chajang and fried chicken were terrible. First thing- the rice in the bibimbap was cooked with waaaaay too much water. the result was a congee like texture that did not crisp up at all- it just boiled a bit, and then the bowl was kaput. My chajang came out cold. Both the noodles and the sauce were cold. Fatty sauces should never be served cold- the texture was horrendous and left my teeth and my mouth feeling dirty. The fried chicken was very crisp, but it’s more like super fried Kentucky Fried, than korean fried. One last thing- my server spilled my glass of water all over the table + floor. Luckily, with my cat-like agility, I dodged it. However, all in all, not a good experience. I will give them another try, but, when an asian restaurant fucks up a pot of rice, and then still serves it- it says a lot about quality control. It should have been thrown out, for the chinatown cats to eat. Though even they may have poo-pooed the crap.

  • My experience was similar to Jaimie’s. Wasn’t impressed by the wings, but the (spicy pork) Koagie was bangin.

  • @earl- Jp’s rice under his short ribs (not pictured bc over $10) definitely got crispy and my noodles were hot, so I am thinking you had an off day? But I am glad to hear your volleyball skills apply to waiter related blunders.

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