Denden: Casual Korean cuisine

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By DON FOWLER

Friends told us that we just had to try the Korean fried chicken at DENDEN, the delightful restaurant at 182 Angell St. in the heart of the East Side of Providence. We discovered the tasty fried chicken and so much more at what has quickly become the “in” place to eat in the restaurant-saturated area.

What looks like a converted front porch stretches deep into one of the East Side’s old houses, providing two seating levels, where we witnessed a variety of ethnicity, and were slightly embarrassed to ask for forks, while everyone else was adept at chopsticks.

Over a dozen tempting Starters (appetizers) call out “Try Me,” and after our first ever serving of Kaki Fry, eight large Panko breadcrumb fried oysters with a tasty sauce ($10) we committed ourselves to returning often enough to try them all.

A variety of dumplings, kimpap (Korean sushi roll), noodles, rice cakes and something called a Volcano Egg Hot Pot, with Korean-style steamed egg with vegetables and a cheese topping, all priced under $10, beckoned us to return.

I had to try the DENDEN Fried Chicken, double fried chicken wings and drums paired with Korean pickled radish. Eight good size pieces are $13, and come with your choice of three dipping flavors, which you can mix. I had the soy garlic and the spicy and loved them both. Lemon cream is the third choice.

Joyce completely surprised me when she ordered the Chicken Gizzard entrée ($12), stir-fried chicken gizzards with vegetables and Korean spices. It brought back memories from when we were young and struggling and wouldn’t waste any part of a whole chicken. This dish was much more of a delicacy, and she loved it. I’ll stick to the chicken meat.

Chicken comes in a variety of dishes from whole chicken stew ($19) to Chicken Tang Su Yuk a Korean fried citrus sweet and sour chicken dish ($12 and $19).

While ingredients are all listed on the menu, the friendly staff will gladly explain the dishes in more detail. They also have an extensive gluten free menu.

Food and service are first class, and to make the experience even more enjoyable, DENDEN is a non-tipping restaurant, the first we have experienced in Rhode Island.

DENDEN is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no reservations, and during peak hours you’ll be given one of those vibrating call boxes. For further information, call 234-9955 or go online at dendenhospitality.com.

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