Now is the hour of the fried chicken sandwich. They’re everywhere, towering things with chicken cooked as carefully as high-dollar entrees, others with breasts so spicy they could double as weaponry. Asia has a formidable infatuation with the trend, so we’re now blessed with a number of Asian-leaning wonders that are starting to redefine the parameters of the dish.
At Holdaak, a bright, fast-food style Korean joint in Fullerton, there’s little to the menu other than the restaurant’s signature sandwiches, but they’re worth the trip: thoroughly juicy chicken sheathed in a thin layer of breading that shatters with an audible crunch. The sandwiches are topped with a tangle of lightly pickled daikon (like what you might find in a banh mi) and pickled onion. The spicy rendition is particularly good, hit with a bit of chile powder, and amped up with a few slivers of jalapeño.
Nearby, Mr. Katsu builds Japanese-style sandwiches. Pork katsu (a thin cutlet battered with craggy panko-style breading) dominates, but you can opt for chicken katsu in any of these far-out sandwiches. There are plenty of fusion-minded variations, but the classic—with that thin, crunchy chicken, cooling slaw, sweet katsu sauce, and thick bread—is a perennial favorite.
The Chinese-Vietnamese steamed bao at Baos Hog are, at least in appearance, more like flatbread sandwiches or even tacos. But the “hot chick” bao, overflowing with fried chicken, cabbage-carrot slaw, and ground peanuts, deliciously defies definition.
Mr. Katsu is an expert purveyor of all things fried. Rather than a standard side of french fries, the restaurant opts for bite-size potato croquettes—lightly breaded mashed-potato balls still creamy at the core. There’s also a curry version that’s delicious when dipped in its accompanying aioli.
1201 S. Euclid St.
3165 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton
13918 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove
Read about O.C.’s Best: Surprising Sandwiches