I’ll be honest, when I first heard about this place, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to eat there. I definitely wanted to go, but I half suspected that when I showed up and there was a squatter-shaped plate of chicken in front of me, my stomach might just knot up and say “No!” Discouragingly, my friend who discovered it, Verv, wasn’t able to stay there because his girlfriend was too sickened by the latrine decor.
Chicken Toilet is about 200 meters out Hoegi Station (Line 1 and Jungang Line) exit 2, which is the side of the station that most people don’t go. You might even say it’s the backside of Hoegi Station. Judging by the Daum street view, Chicken Toilet is newly opened, not even appearing on a street shot from October 2014.
It’s a big, bright place even before the theme catches your eye, and it looks more like the place where you could stop for a milkshake and maybe a hot dog, rather than a typical Korean chicken hof.
The name is right there, and the logo is a chicken-shaped toilet (or a toilet-shaped chicken?).
Despite the decor (or maybe because of it?), Chicken Toilet is a very sanitary place, with not a spot of grime anywhere. And it’s clear that none of the lavatory fixtures inside are secondhand.
There’s a small interior to the place, but most of the seating is on the front deck, which is a pretty comfortable place.
Now that we’ve got that out of our system, Chicken Toilet is a pretty standard chicken hof. Most of the other diners there seemed pretty unfazed by the toilet theme, settling in pretty casually to the place. Staff had no trouble with me wandering around taking pictures of the restaurant; likely they’re counting on people visiting and making this place go viral.
So, let’s talk food. The menu is pretty standard, with several varieties of chicken offered. They also have that awful-looking fried chicken/squid combination that seems to be popular these days.
Beer is decently priced, served in handsome dimple mugs with the Chicken Toilet logo for 3000 KRW each.
We decided to order the regular fried chicken (15,800KRW), because that’s the classic. It came in a wooden-carved squatter tray, which was placed on top of the actual porcelain squatter, so the food never actually touched an unappetising surface.
There was a handful of potato chips served with it, as well as the usual salad, and another toilet-shaped plate holding a squirt of curry, which is used as a dipping sauce to make the chicken just a little bit extra memorable.
When I first saw this place, I figured one of the menu items would be 딹똥침 (chicken sphincter), but thankfully it was nowhere on the menu. The atmosphere might’ve also meshed too well with 홍어 (fermented skate), which has a powerful ammonia odour reminiscent of a recently cleaned washroom. But I feel like they didn’t take the concept as far as it could. One obvious thing missing was a big roll of toilet paper at every table, once a common feature of a Korean restaurant table, but here instead they had regular napkins. If I could give the owners one suggestion, it would be to embrace the good ol’ bog roll at the table.
Another oddity of the place is that they don’t have their own actual functioning washroom; you have to go out the front door and go into the actual building, where there are adequate public washrooms. With all those toilets, squatters, and urinals around though, you’d think customers would occasionally zone out and start to do their business right in the restaurant. I wonder if it’s ever happened, and I would expect there would be protocols in place with the staff to deal with that.
Ultimately, I’d say the food served here was a little above average with average prices, so even without the novelty theme, you’re getting your money’s worth. Thanks to the decent beer prices, it’s also a comfortable place to get liquored up. Would I go again? If I were in the area looking for a chicken hof, this would be my first choice.