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I live in Little Rock, and I love Korean fried chicken. Unfortunately, it is not on any menus around town. But it is in Bentonville, thanks to ArkanSeoul Korean Food Company. Take a wild guess where I went a few weeks ago.
Spoiler alert, the fried chicken at the fast-casual spot just on the outskirts of downtown was an absolute hit. With that said, just what makes well-prepared Korean fried chicken taste so good? Answer: the batter. In ArkanSeoul’s case, they only use chicken wings (bone-in and boneless), heavily coated in the thick batter, then fried right and glazed in a mildly spicy garlic soy sauce (garlic soy and naked wings are also available). The result yields a crispy, yet light texture, coupled with a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors imparted by the glaze. My order of 10 wings was gone within a few minutes. So much for moderation. Wings this good got the best of my willpower.
ArkanSeoul also prides itself on its house-made kimchi. The salted, fermented Napa cabbage came with my Beef Bulgogi Bowl. While I am not the biggest fan of kimchi, in general, I would order this version again, especially to pair with the thinly sliced ribeye in the bulgogi. A little of the cabbage with each bite of beef gave the forkful of food a nice heat. And yes, overall, I enjoyed the beef bowl, but I do think the restaurant should ramp up the amount of the soy sesame oil on the meat, as the dish needed a bigger pop of flavor.
Our appetizer of pork mandu was a simple and straightforward order of lightly-fried pork and vegetable dumplings. Nothing separated them from many others I’ve eaten in the past. This is not a knock. They satisfied and did their job of waking the palate for the beforementioned fried chicken.
Would I go back to ArkanSeoul? Absolutely. The laid-back setting, reasonable prices, and warm service were all plusses. In addition to the tasty food, I loved the fact that my family could enjoy a quiet lunch away from the crowds of the Bentonville Square and some of the popular restaurants. I really hope Bentonville continues to embrace ArkanSeoul. Who knows, maybe success will lead the group to open a spot in the capital city.
One can dream of brighter days filled with Korean fried chicken right by the house. Fingers crossed.
When ordering the chicken, patience is required. It is made-to-order, so anticipate a wait time of up to 30 minutes. Chicken is also available as a lunch combo. Customers might also enjoy doing a little shopping while waiting for their order. ArkanSeoul has a very small selection of Korean food products available to purchase, including chips, drinks, and their own kimchi.
ArkanSeoul Korean Food Company
1335 S Main St, Suite 1 (Bentonville)
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Sunday
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