For me an unsung hero of the Korean food canon is the bottom of the rice cooker, which yields this browned — sometimes crunchy, sometimes toothsome — burned rice called nurungji. It’s usually the best part of any rice plate, echoed by dishes like paella and stone pot bibimbap.
While in Dallas for K-Town, I heard about a South Korean franchise called Nurungji Chicken that’s working scorched rice into an otherwise pretty simple rotisserie chicken dish. Here’s what they do: first they rotisserie the chickens with a special wood-fired oven. Then they take rice that was stuffed into the chickens and lay it out on a hot plate, placing the chicken on top while the rice browns nicely into nurungi. Then they’ll either top the whole chicken with a rainstorm of corn and melty cheese, or they’ll douse it with a spicy rice cakes — which reminds me so much of home. It’s a little insane, maybe even ridiculous, but totally satisfying.