(Photographed by Staff Photographer Lilly Lafleur)
Staff Writer: Jesse Magnifico
Colonel Sanders and Chick-fil-A have a new competitor in Southeastern Mass.
Chicken Story specializes in Korean fried goodness. Located on County Street in New Bedford and Stafford Road in Fall River, they serve jumbo chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders and wings, corn dogs, fries, dumplings, and bubble tea in bountiful assorted flavors and toppings.
I traveled to both locations with friends: New Bedford with the Torch Editor-in-Chief Roxy Hepburn and Staff Photographer Lilly Lafleur, and Fall River with my high school friends Jasmine and Serena.
First Round (New Bedford)
Classic Korean Corn Dog w/ Hotdog, Original Crust, and Garlic Aioli
Lilly: It’s like a regular corn dog. The crust is flaky, unlike a traditional corn dog that’s smooth. The amount of sauce they put on is a little too much. It’s soaked in a little too much, making it soggy, BUT the flavor overshadows that. It’s so good. The garlic aioli is very, very good.
Cheese Korean Corn Dog w/ Potato Crust, Garlic Aioli, and Sriracha Aioli
Roxy: Very, very crispy, crunchy. The garlic and sriracha do a yummy little dance together. I highly recommend them as a pairing. There are hints of sweetness, like they put a bit of sugar in the batter. The cheese is definitely mozzarella, and the pull is insane.
The one hang-up is that it’s falling off the stick, and I’m struggling to keep it on there. It’s challenging to eat – definitely harder to eat than the dogs on the stick. I want a knife and fork instead.
Honey Garlic Cheese Fries
Roxy: These are classic French fries tossed in a cheese and garlic sauce with honey undertones. I don’t see [honey] on there, though. The fries are very wet, almost soupy, and slightly soggy. The flavor is superb, though. The honey pairs very well with the garlic, and the cheese isn’t too overpowering.
Lilly: It has some crunch, but the body is soft. It tastes a little sweet. They give you a packet of soy sauce with these, the same packets in the Marketplace.
Jesse: There’s a lot of crunch and softness, a delicate balance. It kind of tastes like sausage to me.
Roxy: The dumplings look steamed and then pan-fried, which I like because if you just steam them, they’re a little too soft with no crunch, but if you just pan-fry them, they’re too crunchy. It’s nice that the body is soft, and the outside has a crunchy exterior. It almost pops in your mouth.
The cooking is well done, but the flavor of the contents inside is meh. I will give them credit, though: I can see bits of scallion, which is nice.
Korean Secret Jumbo Sandwich
Jesse: You can choose between a thigh or breast for your sandwich, which is fun. I decided on a breast. Already, the juices are gushing out. The sandwich is erupting with chicken and sauce. The sauce is dripping out of the bun. The cheese could have melted more.
The sandwich is made with their secret sauce and maple dressing. When I took my first bite, it was not spicy at all. It was sweet and tangy, with no hint of a burning sensation, but the sandwich is advertised to be spicy.
Chicken Story OG Jumbo Sandwich
Lilly: It’s pretty big. I got it as a thigh, as the kind gentleman at the counter recommended.
Roxy: Jumbo was not a joke!
Lilly: The crispy Korean fried chicken is crispy. It’s delicious. The pickles are crinkle-cut pickles, which are the good ones! They do have their crunch.
It’s made with the house sauce一it’s orange. I can’t pinpoint what it is. It’s a little bit sweet. It’s very, very good!
Roxy: It has a little more pickle than a Big Mac sauce. It tastes pickled.
Pineapple Fruit Tea with Strawberry Popping Pearls (50% Sweetness)
Roxy: The guy at the counter said middle-tier sweetness is about as sweet as a Pepsi. Use that baseline to decide how sweet you want your drink.
The sweetness level is perfect for what I got. For a fruit tea, you don’t want something too sweet. You want a bit of the bite from the fruit, and that’s what I’m getting from it. I really, really like this.
Strawberry Fruit Tea with Mango Jelly (50% Sweetness)
Lilly: I slurped it down so fast. It was gone before my food came out. It was gone before Jesse even arrived. I had to order myself a second beverage.
I also got the 50% sweetness level, which was too sweet. Next time, I will go for 25%. Overall, it was excellent. I never downed a beverage so fast.
Strawberry Fruit Tea with Tapioca and Strawberry Jelly (25% Sweetness)
Jesse: Strawberry is my go-to; by far, this is the best strawberry. It tastes like real strawberries, not the cheap or fake stuff.
Roxy: I saw them pouring strawberry purée syrup down the sides of the cup
Jesse: Oh. My. God. You heard it here, folks. Even though the ice is melting, it’s not overwhelmed with water. The strawberry flavor still comes through.
Second Round (Fall River)
8pc Chicken Tenders and Medium Fry with Barbecue Sauce
Jasmine: The fries are nice and crispy. They’re not seasoned with much, but the barbecue sauce gives it a kick.
I was expecting the chicken tenders to be crispy, but they’re not as crisp as I thought they would be. But they’re good! They’re also not as seasoned as I thought, but it is not overpowering, which is nice. There’s a balance.
K-Buffalo Jumbo Chicken Sandwich
Jesse: I chose the breast again. The sauce is loaded. I’ve made a mess 一 it’s dripping, which is fun but also messy. It comes with lettuce, pickles, other stuff I’ve already eaten, and cheddar cheese.
The sauce is vibrant in color. This chicken is red 一 not blood red, but dark red. It’s cooked well; there’s no pink. I taste the buffalo, it’s not too spicy, just enough kick. It’s great! I love it!
Jesse: These fries are loaded!
Serena: Yeah, LOADED! There is no extra space in that box.
Jesse: The box is filled to the brim, and the fries are absolutely covered with parmesan cheese. It is heavy. I have to use a fork to dig in unless I want to be a barbarian and use my hands.
There’s so much cheese that I have to dig through the fries to find the kimchi. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but with all this cheese, these fries taste like spaghetti with the first taste. I have to dig deeper. On the bottom, there’s a pile-up of garlic aioli.
Serena: They’re so soggy!
Jesse: But they’re good, though.
Serena: It’s better than I thought it would be because my first fry was topped with parmesan. Once you get into it, it gets better.
Jesse: You can see that the fries are coated with garlic aioli. They don’t skimp, but it’s not so heavily applied that it makes you think, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna puke.”
It’s not a problem because I love cheese, but the parmesan overrides the kimchi. Even then, digging deeper, it’s just straight delicious. The cheese and garlic aioli pair amazingly with the fries and kimchi. Mmm.
Dragon Fruit Fruit Tea with Popping Bubbles (25% Sweetness)
Jesse: I love fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with it, and I’m not picky. The popping boba is just right. When it pops in my mouth, it’s satisfying every time. There is just enough squish, just enough juice. Plus, it looks like they have little eyeballs. They look like little slime balls in your cup! They’re so cute.
Lychee Tea with Rainbow Jelly (75% Sweetness)
Serena: The rainbow jelly doesn’t taste like anything. The lychee tea is good. It’s sweet and not so sweet that it doesn’t taste like tea. You can still taste it. It wasn’t bad; I drank the whole thing.
It’s perfectly middle-tier. There’s nothing about it that makes me go, “Wow!” But I drank the whole thing.
Whether you go to the New Bedford or Fall River location, one thing is sure: you are not skimped out on chicken or their food in general. When they say jumbo sandwich, they mean a jumbo sandwich. Lilly had to nearly unhinge her jaw just to bite into one.
Chicken Story gets it right. Their secret house sauce is a favorite among all of us. Serena half-jokes that if they sell it in a bottle, she would buy it. I can’t agree more. They put crack in the sauce, I swear. It’s that dang good! They don’t say what’s in it (duh, it’s a secret), but I wish they did.
Besides the food, their bubble tea flavors are superb. There are nineteen flavors to choose from (ten fruit, nine milk), with nine types of boba and five types of jellies. They give you lots of pearls and jellies, so much that I had an ample accumulation of them even when the drink was all gone.
If you want more than one topping in your tea, they cost an extra 20 cents. Not bad!
Roxy mentions that Chicken Story’s fruit teas can compete fiercely with BesTea’s. Chicken Story might not have as many flavors, but it also sells food. (I’d like to add that Gong Cha, located on the third floor of the Providence Place Mall, is also a strong contender.) The only thing Chicken Story is missing is bubble waffles.
We’ll have to visit these places in the future to decide which is better.
So, when choosing what to eat, which is it: KFC, Chick-fil-A, or Chicken Story?
Chicken Story doesn’t have a long wait time. It’s not fast food, but you don’t wait as long as you would in a restaurant. Both locations lack a parking lot, meaning you’ll have to find parking along the busy streets of County St. and Stafford Rd. You’ll find a spot easier if you come before dinner time (around 5 PM).
Both locations are tiny. The New Bedford location has a few dining seats, but the Fall River one doesn’t.
What’s nice, though, is that you can see the kitchen behind the scenes. You can watch your food being cooked in real time, sit on the bench like I did, and converse. But it’s fun to watch the bubble tea being mixed and sealed.
If you’re in a hurry, Chick-fil-A or KFC are your go-to. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, we recommend Chicken Story. Their menu is a steal for the amount of food you get. Plus, there are not a lot of Korean food places around.
At the end of the day, we ate all our food, drank our drinks, and left full. We will go back again (I definitely will). If you can excuse the lack of parking, we’re sure Chicken Story will be clucking good.