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Solaris Mont Kiara is home to 360º Chicken, a brand new spot where Korean-style rotisserie chicken or ‘tongdak-gui’ is king

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Before fried chicken conquered the hearts and mouths of South Koreans, and later the rest of the world, it was the age-old rotisserie chicken that was de rigueur on the streets of Seoul in the late 1960s.

Known as tongdak-gui, they can still be found today, though not quite as ubiquitous as their fried counterparts.

Whole, smaller birds are slowly roasted on a horizontal spit for hours; inside, they are stuffed with glutinous rice, ginseng, garlic, and jujube — the same ingredients as in samgye-tang, a traditional Korean chicken soup.

While Kuala Lumpur is no stranger to regular rotisserie chicken, finding this Korean variation was nigh impossible until now.

Last Friday, 360º Chicken opened its doors for the first time in Block K of Soho KL, Solaris Mont Kiara.

'360º' refers to the revolution the chickens complete on the spit, as seen in the grill that’s at the side of the restaurant.
'360º' refers to the revolution the chickens complete on the spit, as seen in the grill that’s at the side of the restaurant.

'360º' refers to the revolution the chickens complete on the spit, as seen in the grill that’s at the side of the restaurant.

The place is run by Ray, a Korean expatriate who has lived in Malaysia for 20 years and previously worked at e-commerce platform Qoo10.

I asked how he ended up doing this, given that the e-commerce-to-chicken-roasting pipeline isn’t exactly commonly observed.

He explained that he spent years hoping that someone would open a place like this here, and eventually, he took it upon himself, left his job and went back to South Korea to learn, bringing back with him the tall, wood-fired rotisserie grill typical of many Korean rotisserie chicken joints.

The restaurant is only open for dinner, and the menu is exceedingly brief.

Your choice of chickens includes original (RM89), spicy (RM99), cheesy (RM99) and spicy & cheese (RM99).

Inside the fairly simple interior of the restaurant.
Inside the fairly simple interior of the restaurant.

Inside the fairly simple interior of the restaurant.

During this early opening period, special discounted prices are available for each option, with the original priced at RM75 and the others at RM85 each.

I visited on a weeknight and it was as if I stepped into a K-drama, minus an absurdly pale chaebol heir and melodramatic storyline.

Indeed, Korean was the only language flying around the place, so much so that Ray initially greeted us in Korean.

The original (RM75) chicken arrives sporting a gorgeous coat of varying shades of brown skin; darker, close to a smokey mauve on the lower half, lighter on the upper and glistening all over.

Scorched rice and some sweet, soft garlic are just some of the treasures you can dig for inside the chicken.
Scorched rice and some sweet, soft garlic are just some of the treasures you can dig for inside the chicken.

Scorched rice and some sweet, soft garlic are just some of the treasures you can dig for inside the chicken.

You can smell it before it arrives, a potent hit of wood, smoke and chicken fat that echoes the scent you caught while walking up the escalator.

Lifting the spatchcocked bird reveals glutinous rice that’s been thoroughly scorched and toasty, mushy and mellow cloves of garlic, red dates and slices of ginseng which have imbued even the whitest meat with its unique flavour.

Upon arrival, the chicken is so hot it could melt your face off, making it a somewhat precarious task to eat for the first five minutes.

Once it cools, it still retains enough moisture to remain supple.

The light and neutral flavour of the meat is best enjoyed with the trio of dips, listed in order of my preference: salt, honey mustard and a reddish sauce that resembled a sweet and slightly spicy ssamjang.

The spicy sauce looks like vodka sauce that’s just like 'nonna' used to make, if she was trying to blow your head off.
The spicy sauce looks like vodka sauce that’s just like 'nonna' used to make, if she was trying to blow your head off.

The spicy sauce looks like vodka sauce that’s just like 'nonna' used to make, if she was trying to blow your head off.

The spicy (RM85) variation is a peculiar combination of the same whole bird, stuffing and all, drenched in a bright orange liquid that tastes like vodka sauce with the entire bottle of chilli flakes dumped inside.

The four or five pieces of fusilli on top were extraneous at that point, but the scorched rice took to the sauce surprisingly well, redeeming the dish in my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, the chicken is every bit as great — but it really doesn’t need the sauce.

Tip: Come quick and come early, as they were down to their last few chickens when I left a little after nine.

Takeaway orders also proved popular, as I saw a fair few birds fly out the door boxed up all nicely and ready to be devoured.

The front of the restaurant as you get off the escalator.
The front of the restaurant as you get off the escalator.

The front of the restaurant as you get off the escalator.

360°Chicken (삼육공 치킨)

K-1-11, Soho KL, Jalan Solaris, Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 5-11pm

Ray assures me a telephone number will be set up soon.

Instagram: @360ayam

*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

*Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems.