Inspired by Ike’s Vietnamese Pok Pok Chicken Wings, these Vietnamese Chicken Wings are caramelized in a simple sauce that will have you licking your fingers!
Do we really even need words in this post?
I mean, just look at those wings.
Even if you’ve never been to Pok Pok (locations in Portland, NYC, and LA), you’re about to join the rest of us who are completely obsessed with Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.
Andy Ricker, the mastermind behind Pok Pok and winner of not one but TWO James Beard awards, is kind of my celebrity chef crush. If there is such a thing.
He’s known for his brilliant adaptations of traditional Northern Thai cuisine, and while Pok Pok is considered a “Thai” restaurant, the most popular thing on the menu are Vietnamese style chicken wings. In his Pok Pok Cookbook, Ricker jokes that those wings “pay the mortgage!” Pick it up on Amazon here.
The wings are what Ricker calls “umami bombs,” which is truly the perfect description for them. They are meaty, savory, salty, and a little bit sweet.
Pok Pok’s wings are bone-in, skin-on, and split at the joint. They are HUGE. The original recipe calls for white rice flour and tempura batter mix to coat the wings, but I didn’t think it was fair to do that to you. I’m a total freak for cooking Thai food at home, and even I don’t have that stuff on hand.
I decided to make my own version of the sticky Vietnamese wings recipe using boneless breast meat and regular old all-purpose flour.
Ricker serves these wings with pickled carrot and daikon radish, which is absolutely the very best choice to compliment the over-the-top flavor of the wings. I make big batches of these pickled vegetables all the time just to have on hand because they are THAT good.
I’ve included my version of the pickled vegetables in the recipe card below. They are NOT optional, you here me!?
Vietnamese Chicken Wings Recipe (Pok Pok Chicken Wings Recipe!)
For the Pickled Vegetables
- 4 ounces carrot spears
- 4 ounces daikon radish spears
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
For the Wings
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast - cut into thick strips 2″ long
- 1/4 cup Vietnamese-style fish sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg - beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- Oil for frying
- Cilantro sprigs
For the Pickled Vegetables
- Place the carrot, radish, water, sugar, vinegar, and fish sauce in a large tupperware or seal-able glass container. Shake well, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.
For the Wings
- Place the minced garlic and salt in small bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mash the two together for about 15 seconds or so. Add the warm water and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Reserving the water, strain the garlic from the bowl. Add the fish sauce and sugar to the garlic water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Reserve half of the marinade, then marinate chicken pieces in the other half of the mixture (about ¼ cup). Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 1 day.
- minutes before you are ready to fry the wings, transfer the chicken pieces to a colander in the sink and let them drain well.
- In a large, shallow bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk. In a second shallow bowl or rimmed plate, mix together the flour and teaspoon of salt. Dip the drained chicken pieces into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then repeat so each piece of chicken is double coated. Place the coated chicken on a sheet pan and refrigerate for 10 minutes to dry out the coating.
- Pour 3 inches of oil into a wide pot set over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to 350 degrees, then turn the heat down slightly to maintain a consistent temperature. Fry the chicken in batches, returning the oil to 350 between batches, for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add ¼ cup of water to the remaining fish sauce marinade. Transfer to a large pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture has reduced by half, about 30-45 seconds. Add the wings and cook, tossing the wings in the sauce every 15 seconds, until the liquid becomes sticky and caramel-colored. Serve with pickled veggies and several sprigs of cilantro.