While chicken wings were considered a throw-away food until fairly recently, they’ve long been a prized part of my dining repertoire. Buffalo chicken wings were a big deal during my college days in upstate New York, and I’d always ask for spicier than what a menu would offer. After graduation, I learned to cook, and soon a recipe for Malaysian chicken wings made me a popular guest at pot-luck parties. Many years later, I’d discover a relative of those wings at Pok Pok in Portland. Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings have now become a hit on both coasts of the country.
If you like wings as much as I do, I have a couple of recommendations for you here in Seattle. One place is an institution, and the other may come as a bit of a surprise.
Ezell’s Famous Chicken (is it Oprah who made it famous?) has been around for nearly 30 years. Newer is the Ezell’s Express food truck, taking an abbreviated menu of fried chicken on the road. I caught up with the truck at a recent Fremont Sunday Market, where a lunchtime line made for a long but worthwhile wait time. The wingettes (and strips) are crispier than ever when eaten in the summer sun, with the meat still moist inside. Just have napkins ready.
You’ll want to trade your napkin for a Wet-Nap at Sport Restaurant & Bar, where I was very impressed with the new Sticky Wings. These are big boys, with a glaze of fish sauce and maple syrup that makes them a little hard to handle. Dive in and you’ll be delighted by the sweet, salty, and savory flavors, including a hint of citrus from orange. Garlic chips add crunch, while slices of green onion add their mild flavor. These wings are sweeter than Pok Pok’s, but that’s what helps make them different, and they deliciously save five hours of driving if you have wing wishes.