We are too lazy to look this up ourselves, but good sources have told us Portland based Pok Pok's wings were voted the "best appetizer in America" by the New York Times. Granted, we're sure they tried them at the New York location, but tom-ay-toe/tom-ah-tow. "Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings" are one of Pok Pok's specialties, and as we still are knee deep in the Great Hot Wing Chase, who are we not to try these wings?
And technically I suppose we can call them wings, but there's a bit more to them than that. They're definitely bigger than an appetizer -- I could only get through half of them -- and they're not particularly hot, even if you go with the "spicy" kind. They're... Well, it's easier just to show a photo.
There's a lot of wing here, from the tip to the... I don't know, thigh or breast or something? Bird anatomy is not my strong suit, but you get my point.
At any rate, the skin is incrediply crisp, and biting into the chicken meets you with a satisfting crunch. Perfectly fried in other words.
As mentioned the wings aren't overly spicy, yet they are very, very flavorful. I can't remember having ever tasted anything all that similar to the sweet garlic fish sauce, and he chicken must have been marinating in it for a good while. The flavor penetrates nicely into the deepest parts of the meat.
I suppose the sauce is the "signature" part of the dish, and I can see why. It's a little unique, and a whole lot of good.
The spiciness mainly comes from the addition of chili flakes, and while not that spicy it still is a good compliment to the sauce.
Again, this isn't wings in the traditional sense, but maybe tradition should catch up with Pok Pok? The dish is both unique and flavorful, and is something anyone should try. Even those who don't like the traditional wing.
Are they best in the country? Who knows, but we think you'll have a good time deciding if they are or not. As far as plain old food goes, this is very very good.
Vote for Pok Pok Fish Sauce Wings: It’s your civic duty!