There are so many fried chicken options around town now, many thanks to the popularity of Korean-style fried chicken; so in a saturated market, staying relevant is important. So how is long standing, home-style chicken joint Win Win Chick’N keeping it fresh? Continue reading to find out.
As this year’s Vancouver Foodster #ChickenWingChallengeYVR judge, I visited their Marine Drive location to look into the above, and to try their competition entry.
From June 8th to July 3rd, 2022 diners are invited to try the wings from all the competitors, and to pick their favourites to win the coveted title of people’s choice best wing. As a judge I too was tasked with trying each, and scoring them based on taste for a possible 20 points, presentation for up to 10 points, and creativity for another maximum of 10; and a total score out of 40.
These are Win Win’s BBQ Wings, available all year round. But so good that they thought it deserved an award, so have nominated them to compete. Wingettes and drumettes marinated in their secret sauce, hand breaded with their house blend of spices, and tossed in their new southern-style barbecue sauce mix.
Like with all of their chicken products they pride themselves on only using the freshest poultry. Claiming that they are difficult customers, insisting on the best cuts in order to advertise that their chicken is bought fresh and cooked fresh.
I won’t be going into detail over how they taste, as to not sway your votes. But these were a very familiar flavour. Tangy and sweet sticky wings. Not the typical southern style, Cajun-spiced, zesty barbecue sauce; but a more Asian influenced one with the use of honey and light soy. They didn’t reinvent the wheel with this one, just built on it.
And since I was here, I had to try more of their menu items, including their fried chicken staple. For this, they prepare their own breading in house, which is made with no dairy. Speaking with the owner of Win Win, I could tell he was proud that everything is scratch-made in small batches, by their family run business, including their selection of Filipino desserts. But more on that later.
As for how they tasted, the original chick-n is described as being homestyle. I found it juicy and moist, a cross between baked chicken and fried with a good seasoning on its crispy skin. Tasty as is, but best with some of their gravy.
The gravy isn’t distinct in any way, it just has a nice mild broth flavour to it. It pairs well with everything on their menu, and is honestly my favourite side.
For a break in the popular combination of fries and ketchup, look to Win Win’s hand cut and double fried French fries and their thick gravy. It is nice to have a side to balance out a larger order of juicy chicken.
Similarly, they have a pasta option as well. As far as fried chicken places go, this one unique to them. A Filipino-style sweet pasta that is a tangent from that of Filipino fast food chain: Jolibee. Where as the traditional version is prepared using spaghetti noodles, Win Win uses macaroni elbows, lean ground pork, and slices of chicken hot dog. It eats gummy, and is not too sweet or salty. It is homey and comforting, which matches their “homestyle” description and chicken.
And as mentioned earlier, they have a healthy selection of Filipino-style desserts that is steadily growing. Prepared by the owner’s sister in law, their individual cakes and flans are popular with the Filipino community; and definitely a stand out from that of any Korean fried chicken joint or North American fried chicken chain.
Each of their mini ube cakes are individually made with a precision to detail in its piping. Available in the regular, slightly sweetened sponge and cream, or topped with coconut jelly and lychee for a more fresh take. Worth noting is that they also do birthday cakes, and you need only call ahead with notice.
Not yet advertised, but I was able to get a sneak peek look/taste is their line of ice cream. Not just regular vanilla or chocolate, these are Filipino-inspired ice cream flavours; which includes cheese ice cream and corn. Not as odd as it sounds, the sweetness of both ingredients are drawn out and blend well with the milky creaminess of ice cream.
It is great to see this smaller, family-run, mom and pop shop continue to do well in a very heavily saturated market. I commend them for continuing to evolve, while specializing in their niche. Though I wish they put more effort into their decor, exterior facade, and branding. None of what they have currently lends itself or support the goods within. Although the smell of lingering grease in the air does have people taking to go more than dining in.
In summary, for a different take on Filipino style fried chicken, sides, and dessert look to Win Win for the win. (It was an obvious pun, I had take it!). And if you do so between now and July 3rd, be sure to try their chicken wings and vote at https://vancouverfoodster.com/2022/06/08/vancouver-chicken-wings-challenge-5/
Win Win Chick-N
8197 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5X 3L2