Olive Chicken is a take-out joint located in the Korean strip mall on 10 Avenue and 13 Street SW, right by Community Natural Foods. I’m not sure why the shop is named Olive Chicken as olives don’t have much to do with the product they specialize in, which is fried chicken. After reading about this place on the local Chowhound board, I was curious to try it. I’d never had Korean fried chicken before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The menu at Olive Chicken is pretty simple and straightforward. They serve two types of chicken – Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken or Crispy Fried Chicken. The full order of the Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken costs $16.99 and consists of 16 small pieces. A half order of the Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken (8 small pieces) is also available for $9. The full order of the Crispy Fried Chicken costs $15.99 and consists of 10 large pieces. A half order of the Crispy Fried Chicken (5 pieces) is also available for $8.50. Another option is to get the Half & Half for $16.99. The Half & Half consists of a half order of Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken (8 small pieces) and a half order of the Crispy Fried Chicken (5 large pieces). If you’re not that hungry, you can also get an individual meal size order (the Olive Special) for $6.99 which includes 3 large pieces of the Crispy Fried Chicken, fries, and a pop.
I went with my coworker for lunch earlier this week and we decided on the Half & Half as it gave us the opportunity to try both types of chicken. We intentionally started with the Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken as it is best to eat it while it’s fresh and the coating is still crunchy. As the sauce soaks through the coating, it will become soggy over time. Both my coworker and I agreed that the Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken was the star of the show. The sauce had the perfect balance of heat and sweetness. What I liked most was that the chicken was freshly prepared to order and the coating was still crunchy beneath the hot & sweet sauce. The meat was moist and juicy. It didn’t take us long to get hooked on it and neither of us could stop until all the pieces were gone!
We then tried the other half of the order, the Crispy Fried Chicken. The coating was indeed crispy. In fact, this is the only other time thus far, besides Popeye’s Fried Chicken in the US, I’ve actually heard the crunching sound when someone bites into a piece of fried chicken. I would say texture-wise this is probably the closest substitute for Popeye’s that I can find here in Calgary. Flavour-wise, we found the Crispy Fried Chicken to be a bit of a let down in comparison to the Hot & Sweet. We were so enamored with the Hot & Sweet Sauce that we didn’t find much flavour in the Crispy Fried variety. I could taste that it was properly but mildly seasoned. It didn’t have the bold flavours to stand up to the Hot & Sweet that was still lingering on our taste buds. On my next visit, I’m going to taste the Crispy Fried one first to see what it truly tastes like before devouring the Hot & Sweet ones. Based on the crunch factor alone, I would order the Crispy Fried variety again. I think the Half & Half combo is perfect as you get to taste a bit of both.
With our combo pack, we also got a container of pickled daikon. I really enjoyed the flavours for the pickled daikon. It was tangy and slightly sweet but without being overly sweet. The pickled daikon was also really crunchy. To me, it was the perfect palate cleanser between bites of chicken. However, I’m not sure if the pickled daikon is for everyone because this particular version has a strong daikon smell that some people may not care for.
Overall, I was really impressed with the fried chicken from Olive Chicken. Without a doubt, the Hot & Sweet Sauce variety was the winner. The Crispy Fried variety was very good in terms of crunchiness as far as fried chicken is concerned. The only downside about this place is that it is literally take-out only and there is no place to sit down to eat. There are no benches at the strip mall and I don’t know of any parks nearby either. Since the fried chicken tastes best when it is fresh, especially the one coated in sauce, we ended up eating in the car which was a bit of a messy adventure, especially with the sticky Hot & Sweet Sauce. I think next time I will come prepared to eat in the car and bring my own paper plates. For those who live close by, it’s not much of a problem as I’m sure the chicken will survive the trip home. But for those of us who don’t live close by, I’d definitely recommend coming prepared to either sit in the car to eat or along the curbside as the chicken will not survive the trip home, especially not the one coated in sauce. Olive Chicken has become my new favourite fried chicken spot in Calgary. I can’t stop thinking about the Hot & Sweet Sauce Chicken!
1324 10 Ave SW