I was bestowed the honour of judging Vancouver Foodster’s latest challenge: Chicken wings. A food that I fancy myself an expert in, given the amount I have eaten in one sitting, and as a whole.
I am always appreciative of his challenges and my participation in them. They get me out and about, traveling around the Lower Mainland, trying restaurants I would never otherwise get a chance to. And today’s competitor: “Win Win Chick-n” is a perfect example of that. I have been to Steveston a handful of times this year, and with each visit, never thought to order fried chicken by the water. And little did I know, I was missing out.
The shop is small, a couple of places to sit in doors and a few more right outside, under the sun. Though if they are all taken, their chicken does travel well, and a picnic in Steveston always sounds like a grand idea.
I came down to tried their chicken wings, but made sure to try a few of their regular menu items as well. We started off with their regular fried chicken. Drums and thighs lightly breaded and deep fried. They are pre-made and kept warm under a heat lamp, behind glass. And surprisingly, this did not affect its quality or taste. They were just as crispy and just as warm, served over a sheet a wax gingham, nestled all cozy in one of their compostable cardboard boxes. The wax paper is necessary as they are oily and their grease does eventually seep through the box. As for the flavour they had a warming amount of spice. Definitely more zesty with character than that of your regular fast food chicken chains.
I found their wings (the #chickenchallengeyvr entry), similarly breaded and spiced like their original above, but packed with even more flavour. Although this might just be so because of their size; there was a greater seasoned skin to dark chicken meat ratio per bite. Either way I wasn’t complaining. “Win Win Wings”, pressure fried wingettes and drumettes seasoned in salt, pepper, garlic, and their in house breading mix; which is dairy, egg and nut free. Each order includes 10 pieces of drumlettes and winglettes. I preferred them on their own, but with the full pieces of chicken, I rather have each dipped into their gravy.
Their gravy was also prepared ahead of time and allowed to stew in itself. Kept warm in a soup vat and scooped to order into a waxy paper cup. The gravy had a great consistency, runny enough to scoop and drink, and thick enough to glop and dip. Slightly peppery, it adds a meatiness to the chicken, without masking its poultry essence.
But what was the most memorable side for me was their “Filipino style macaroni salad”. This was a sweet and tangy macaroni with a sauce that reminded me of a less intense, more tomato-based ketchup. This was mixed with ground lean beef and slices of cocktail sausages. The owner explained that his mother had prepared him this dish on several occasions, and he wanted to share its tasty and comforting nature with his customers. I concurred, hailing for South East Asia, this too reminded me of the sweet style pasta my mother prepared for our family, and therefore my childhood. Needless to say, I scraped the cup clean, and would recommend this a side and base to your box of chicken. Otherwise the classic option of fries or mashed potatoes are also available.
And lastly, for dessert we had to try one of their purple yam (ube) cakes. These are prepared freshly daily by the owner’s sister-in-law, he declared her a seasoned pastry chef, and I would agree. This was the best ube cake I have had to date. It tasted like ube through and through. It wasn’t overly sweet with whipped cream or dense with a rich sponge cake. It was light and fluffy and a great way to balance out your heavy and greasy meal before. Well crafted and well thought out.
It is also worth mentioning that the owner is so friendly and welcoming. You could feel that he was passionate about preparing great chicken, and that the community celebrated him for this. Most telling was one of his loyal customers coming in, gifting him with a lamp shaped like a chicken. The customer had saw this at a garage sale and bought it for his favourite chicken shop as decoration. With us, he took the time to explain what it was we were having and asked for feedback on how to improve. We also spoke about their online social media success, and how he was so humbled by it all. They will be hitting 1 year old this July and will continue to turn heads and increase appetites.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Don’t deny your cravings.
WIN WIN CHICK-N
12160 First Ave, Richmond BC, V7E 3M2
For the other Vancouver Foodster Chicken Wing Challenge contest and to vote for your favourite for the people’s choice winner, visit the link below.