What should we know about Kakilang?
Kakilang say their mission is ‘to bring the bubble tea culture into the hearts of the Irish’, but we think they're underselling themselves. They also serve up some of the city's best Asian street food, and the seats by the windows overlooking the quays offer some of the best people watching in the city. We were on Bachelor’s Walk, but they've recently opened a second location in Finglas.
What did you have?
The menu is on a looping slideshow on a screen above the counter where you order, which added an extra layer of difficulty in choosing what to order. We were debating between the Taiwanese fried chicken steak or the chicken wings, until the smiling staff told us to go for the Korean spicy chicken wings. Sold.
These are the opposite of the skinny wings found in some spots which leave you struggling to surgically extract meat from between the bones. The batter was ultra crispy and they were covered in a sweet, spicy sauce made with honey and gochujang. In the cringey words of the famous colonel, they were finger lickin’ good.
Among the most interesting options on the menu is takoyaki, a Japanese street food staple of deep-fried octopus balls. Kakilang's are delicious, soft and chewy, but better shared: if you're ordering anything else, even a small serving of six will leave you short of stomach space.
The Taiwanese popcorn chicken and chips is a bit more standard, but no less a success: well-seasoned battered bits of chicken buried between perfectly crispy chips (we'd bet both have been twice or triple-fried) and layered with sriracha mayo. This is spice bag style at a higher spec, with the potential to become a hangover treatment of choice for weekend diners.
The soufflé pancakes are made to order and take time, but good things come to those who wait. We watched them being made behind the glass like excited children, and a full forty minutes later they were ready. Several tables were served at the same time, adding to a lovely buzz of excitement on delivery. They're light, airy and soft, served with fruit and cheese foam, a cheesecake-esque sauce made from cream cheese and milk.
What about drinks?
We asked the staff for a recommendation and they jumped to the blue coral lemonade - “Do you like things that pop?” We do, and it tasted exactly like it looked - tart but very sweet with popping balls of green apple. The result was luminous blue teeth and a serious nostalgia for Mr Freeze.
If you're feeling brave you could also try the cheese foam topping popular across Asia. We gave it a go with a mango boba and for all the curdled colours it's surprisingly tasty with a mellow flavour and a milkshake texture: a little like drinking a cheesecake. You'll want to avoid activity for a while after this one.
Why should I go?
In addition to the food, we really loved Kakilang's vibe. There's an understated
jungle aesthetic which goes well with the food and manages not to verge into
the tacky. "Leave me be, I’m drinking my tea", is emblazoned in neon on the wall, and they'll do just that while you people watch out onto Bachelor's Walk, and wait for your soufflé pancakes.
5 Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1