Yukino Hana’s Fried Chicken Might Possibly Be Manila’s SpiciestNovember 18, 2014
Everyone in my family is notorious for our love of spice. We have all been accused, one time or the other, of having no tastebuds or of having an inhuman love for chili. My sister and I are so obsessed with anything spicy, that we searched for the hottest hot sauce in the world, and are currently hoarding several bottles and jars of the triple ghost pepper stuff in our pantry. So when our founder, Mylene, told me that she may have found the spiciest chicken ever in Manila, I didn’t believe her. I am very weirdly proud of the heat I can take (it is my life’s biggest achievement, I believe), so I challenged her, telling her that whatever she thought was spicy, was probably as hot as a sprinkle of Tabasco. She pointed me to a tiny izakaya in the Burgos neighborhood, right across the infamous Handlebar.
Formerly known as Snowman Izakaya (for the way they served their sake and soju encased in shaved ice), Yukino Hana is one of the many excellent restaurants in the area. Burgos may be shady to many people, but the restaurant scene in the area is well and thriving, and is home to some of the best Korean places in town, more-than-decent drinking spots, and an effervescent nightlife. Come to this area almost any day of the week, and you’re sure to have an interesting time, including delicious food. Yukino Hana is a mostly Japanese joint, but has Korean influences all over the space and the menu. Open until 5 in the morning, it’s the favorite of many rambunctious and drunken revelers, and their unlimited appetizers are better than most. Egg in a stone bowl usually means yolks are scrambled to death, but they serve it still slightly wet, so that it is soupy and barely cooked. They have sweet corn mixed with just a hint of Japanese mayo, and shredded kimchi and potatoes. I’m here for the challenge though, and I order their plate of deep fried chili chicken, which comes in at PHP 450.
The chicken doesn’t even look remotely red, I tell myself, as it comes steaming hot to my table. One bite makes me think our Pepper mother is an absolute weakling. But several more has companions asking for beer, rice, and tissue to mop their tongues with. I last a little longer, but after a while, I’m really just pretending that my tears are due to their pain, and my sweat is probably from the exhaust. Really though, I’m thinking—damn, this thing is so delicious, and so, so, so rewardingly hot. What is amazing about this plate of food is that the chicken is still slightly crisp, but with edges desirably soggy from the amount of chili sauce. You can still taste the slight sweetness of soybean paste, even though the heat is more pronounced, so it isn’t just the type of thing that completely wipes out your tastebuds. I can imagine how good this dish must taste if one were seriously inebriated. The only regret I have is that Mylene might have been right.
Have you ever had the chicken at Yukino Hana? What’s the hottest thing you’ve ever eaten? Let us know below!
Address: Polaris St, Poblacion, Makati