Food has been an important part of Mets lore. From Dairylea Day to Strawberry Sunday to Elsie the Borden Cow coming to Shea Stadium, food has always played a part in Mets fans’ game experience. For goodness’ sake, “the butcher and the baker” are included in the team anthem, “Meet the Mets”!
As a result of all this gastronomical connections, there’s no surprise that Citi Field has some of the best food from any Major League ballpark. However, the cost of sampling all that food at the ballpark being prohibitive to the common fan (especially the common college student fan), my friend Max Bachhuber of Graphic Punching and I had an idea: reviewing the food of Citi Fields at the restaurants from whence they came!
And thus, the “Meat, The Mets” series was born. In this series, you’ll read (and see, thanks to the power of Flickr) Max and I sampling pizza from Cascarino’s of College Point, cannolis from Mama’s of Corona, barbecued meat from Blue Smoke, and burgers from Shake Shack, among others.
But first, we venture up to Northern Boulevard in Flushing, to one of the closest Citi Field-featured restaurants to Citi Field: Kyedong Chicken.
Kyedong Chicken was interesting to find, first of all: you wouldn’t know it was featured at Citi Field because of its name. It’s called the Hanover Cafe at Citi Field (in the World’s Fare Market in the Right Field corner of the Field Level), not its given name. I needed a sign in front of the store (which I saw by chance, after driving from a Mets game) to tell me that this was the official provider of Korean-style fried chicken at Citi Field.
And what is Korean-style fried chicken, you may ask? While Kentucky Fried Chicken and the like go more for the golden color of the chicken (often at the sacrifice of making the batter turn completely solid and the chicken rubbery), Korean fried chicken basically says, to hell with the color, and goes straight for the taste.
And at Kyedong, taste there was. The chicken was quite meaty (and quite plentiful – upon further review, 19 pieces of chicken in a large wings and legs platter ($18) – along with French fries) and the skin flaky (it seemed that there were two layers of the breading, possibly more – and yet it didn’t taste like breading). The hot sauce that covered the chicken was indeed spicy, but not overpowering.
Even better was the crunchiness of the skin – crunch was the tenor of the afternoon, with the chicken being coupled by French fries (a nice touch compared to a soft biscuit, as Max noted) and cubes of what we believe to be cabbage, which neutralized the heat of the chicken while still keeping the same texture throughout – a very nice touch.
The only qualm I have with our trip to Kyedong Chicken was that it really can’t be replicated at the Hanover Cafe – it’s a laborious operation, and the World’s Fare Market – stowed away in the right field corner – is such a small facility that the skin can’t possibly be as fresh, neutering both the taste and texture. Plus, the bang for your buck for the chicken is gone with a saddening portion size – only three pieces for $7.50, and five pieces for $9.50.
Kyedong Chicken, 150-54 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, New York; prices $12-$50; available at Mets games at the World’s Fare Market in right field of the Field Level (126-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, New York).