Theres something to be said about that vestigial appendage that is the humble chicken wing. Like most parts of the flightless fowl, it can be prepared all sorts of ways. Vinh Dao and Brett Davis travelled far and wide throughout the city to give you our top five places to get your wing fix.
1. Game On
Probably the most famous of wings hail from Buffalo. These deep fried goodies are as ubiquitous to sports bars as pitchers of cheap beer. There are a bunch of places that do buffalo wings in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve pretty much had them all and found the wings at Game On the best in town. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, the thermonuclear red vinegary Franks Red Hot Sauce clings onto the wings perfectly. Licking your fingers isn’t just optional, it’s a must with these wings. Accompanying the wings is the obligatory celery/carrot/blue cheese garnish. Orders are done via six, 12, or 18 wings.
115 Ho Tung Mau, District 1
2. Banh Xeo 46A
Oddly enough, we find the best Canh Ga Nuoc Mam in town at a place that is known in the Lonely Planet for a completely different dish. Yes, we know, Banh Xeo 46A is a bit of a tourist trap but do yourself a favour and order these wings the next time you are entertaining out of town friends. The smell of potent fish sauce based glaze can be offputting but take a bite and you will be converted. The perfect amount of sweet and savoury with little flecks of finely chopped garlic in the mix makes for a heady combination. The portion is quite large, even with the inclusion of the most useless of the useless, the wing tip.
46 Dinh Cong Trang, District 1
One doesn’t usually put tom yum and chicken wings in the same breath. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad combination as B.O.C. has shown us. The Thai-inspired dish is a deal at VND 55,000 for a portion of six wings with a refreshing side salad. The skin of the wings were the crunchiest we had in the bunch with B.O.C.’s special flour mixture. Thankfully, the meat managed to stay moist and tender. The punchy tom yum sauce wasn’t too spicy as one might expect with hints of ginger and lemongrass with each bite.
43 Nguen Van Giai, District 1
4. Quan Ga Nuong Anh Tuyet
It might seem wrong that we’ve mentioned this hole in the wall in a previous issue but if wrong tastes this good, I don’t want to be right. Walking up to the joint, one can see that grilling is king here. And the wings reflect that. The crisp, slightly charred skin belies the tender juicy meat on the inside. The chicken is marinated in a fish sauce/ sugar concoction that most Vietnamese restaurants use. And it’s used to good effect as the flavour punches through the smoky skin to complement the wings.
71 Ngo Tat To, District 1
For those that live in the far-flung outpost that is Phu My Hung in District 7, there is still salvation for wing lovers. At this venerable watering hole they serve up deepfried buffalostyle wings but with a selection of six different sauces. You can go hot or mild, zingy Asian, spicy garlic, spicy BBQ (a personal favourite), Caribbean jerk, or just plain old plain. Orders come in half-dozen, 12 or 24, while a platter of crudites with ranch dressing is an optional extra.
R224 Bui Bang Doan, D7