Twenty years ago, Airdrie was a sleepy community of less than 10,000 souls in the northern shadow of Calgary. But thanks to the big city’s boom and the Highway 2 umbilical cord, Airdrie has exploded to a population of 50,000 (it’s also Canada’s second-highest city, at 1098 metres). Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the same boom in good, independent eateries.
So, it’s nice to see a little place devoted to Korean barbecued chicken, of all things. Specifically, Yum Yum BBQ specializes in crispy, double-battered fried chicken, ranging from spicy to sweet. You can order a burger, but really, what’s the point?
Located in a strip mall, Yum Yum has a slight fast-food look to it, with a corner TV playing a Korean version of American Idol. But when my server says my “half” meal ($10) of hot fried chicken will take 15 minutes, I know they’re cooking to order. It actually arrives in 10 minutes—a massive serving of six assorted pieces.
Under the thick, crispy skin, the chicken is delicious: smouldering hot, moist, sneaky spicy and a wee bit greasy; hey, it’s fried chicken. Of course, the spices are a secret blend, though one of them is ginger. My order comes with a little side dish of pickled daikon radish, providing a cool contrast to all that fried chicken. Actually, I only get halfway through my order and have a meal to take home.
Yum Yum BBQ
104, 3 Stonegate Drive NW, Airdrie, Alberta
Tuesday to Sunday 11:45 am-9:30 pm. Closed Monday
To finish an Airdrie visit off with something sweet, head to The Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe (6, 620 1 Avenue NW) for cupcakes, cinnamon buns or small but dense pumpkin loaves or Oreo pound cakes. Nearby, Anna’s Café Europa (224 Main Street North) serves light meals and coffee roasted next door by Bruck Roasterie.