“Hooters has the best wings”, I remember somebody saying when I first came to America. So off I went to prove that theory. I only had two concerns: First, what is Hooters? And second, What are wings? I found Hooters and entered. I have to say, it was a bit embarrassing sitting there by myself, especially, being female, but it was worth it, as I enjoyed my first plate of spicy buffalo wings. While I probably won’t be going back for more of the Hooters experience, I did appreciate my introduction to this tangy, hot delicious mess.
Buffalo wings are an anomaly for my husband and me. Finally, there’s an American comfort food that I love, that he has absolutely no enthusiasm for. It’s as if he found a variety of Japanese fish that he loves but I avoid. (which will never happen). Why does he reply with, “Meh,” any time I bring up the idea of wings? His reason–too messy! The same criticism keeps us away from BBQ ribs as well.
So today was historic, as we ate hot wings together for the first time. (He ate one, I ate the rest.) The location for this fond memory– The Blue Dog Tavern in Sherman Oaks, CA, a hip beer pub with tasty versions of American bar food classics and an outdoor patio. The perfect spot for a beautiful, breezy summer evening. The beer was cold and my wings were hot, and if you can believe it, much better than Hooters’.
Americans aren’t the only ones who enjoy chicken wings–especially while drinking. In Japan, wings are usually marinated in a soy sauce base then fried or broiled over the grill, yakitori style with salt and pepper. My mother used to make fried wings for my little bento box when I was a kid. Had my husband grown up in Japan, he would probably have appreciated wings more, as Japanese mothers have solved the ‘mess’ issue. They either lollipop the wings, or cover the edges with foil, so kids’ oily fingers won’t ruin the furniture. Korean wings are gaining popularity these days, but they are bit too sweet for my taste. When it comes to wings, America is number one. I love that mess.
We all know Buffalo wings don’t come from buffaloes thanks to Jessica Simpson, therefore, there must be a Buffalo, NY connection–and there is. If you happen to be visiting Buffalo on July 28th, think of me as you enjoy Chicken Wing Day. There will also be a wing eating contest in September reminiscent of the 4th of July hot dog eating contests around the country. I guess you know a food has earned a place in America’s hearts when there’s an eating contest centered around it.
Want the buffalo wing taste but have no chicken? Try this trick: a drop or two of Tabasco (not Tapatio, not Cholula, not Sriracha–it has to be Tabasco!) on a curly fry. It’s not fancy nor scientific, but it does the trick.