Chicken wings may seem classically American – sports bars, barbecues and buffalo sauce all go hand-in-hand – but this satisfying snack is also a staple of Southeast Asian cuisine. From Thai wings to the increasingly popular KFC – that’s Korean fried chicken – we curated a list of some of the must-try spots for Asian-style chicken wings.
Where: 4262 Lowell Blvd, Denver
Hours: Closed Monday. Tuesday-Wednesday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Lowdown: Formerly a beloved food truck in Boulder, Ginger Pig opened a new brick and mortar restaurant last year in the Berkeley neighborhood, in the former home of Scratch Burrito. With the opening of this store, there are new additions to the menu alongside multiple Asian-style chicken wings – including karaage and Korean fried chicken – available. They earned a spot on this list, however, for the Vietnamese wings ($14) appetizer, which they toss in nuoc cham caramel making them just the right balance of sweet and savory. Like any good chicken wings, they will make an absolute mess – but these treasures are worth it.
Ho Ho Chinese Restaurant
Where: 3350 N Downing St, Denver
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
The Lowdown: This hole-in-the-wall spot just outside of RiNo may not be much to look at, but they serve delicious Chinese food at very affordable prices. They toss their fried chicken wings ($2.50) in a sweet garlic sauce before they are baked, creating the delightfully sticky texture that one expects from Chinese-style wings, and – despite being cafeteria-style – they are hot and fresh. The tangy flavor and the fact that three wings cost less than $3 will certainly have you coming back again and again.
US Thai Cafe
Where: 5228 W 25th Ave, Edgewater
Hours: Closed on Monday. Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Saturday 12 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Closed everyday 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Lowdown: This unassuming cafe – nestled between a bar and a coffee shop in Edgewater – serves authentic and affordable Thai food including Pik Kai Laoding ($13), which they describe as the Thai version of buffalo wings. This 10 piece dish is served drenched in a tangy sauce and yet still manages to be crispy. The wings are available in four spice levels – mild, mild plus, medium and hot. But be aware, when they say hot they mean it. Mild plus had to be added a few years ago because the medium was already too spicy for some people and while this level can vary from fairly mild to quite spicy, it is still the best bet for first-timers looking to try this specialty.
Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken and Beer
Where: 1550 Blake St, Denver
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – Midnight
The Lowdown: Those craving wings with that extra crunch can head to this new spot located just off of the 16th Street Mall. Centered around shared plates and designed to feel like a bar in downtown Seoul, Mono Mono serves chicken wings fried Korean-style – with the fat rendered into a crackly crust – tossed in either soy garlic or hot and spicy sauce. Bring some friends and get ready to share soju and wing plates of six ($10), 10 ($19) or 20 pieces ($32).
Woody’s Wings and Things
Where: 6817 Lowell Blvd, Westminster
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
The Lowdown: Another hidden gem, Woody’s Wings and Things has been a local favorite for years serving a variety of Southeast Asian dishes and some familiar American favorites as well. The name does not suggest authentic Asian roots, but most of the staff are from Cambodia – the source of many of the dishes. Multiple Asian cuisines have inspired this menu, including China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, and the food selection is appropriately large. The Asian-style chicken wings are a fan favorite here though, specifically the lemongrass chicken wings with peanuts ($8). The lemongrass curry sauce makes these wings possibly the most uniquely flavored on this list. You have to see for yourself what has kept customers coming back here for years.
Smile Thai Fusion Food Truck
Where: 4460 W 29th Ave, Denver (Hogshead Brewery)
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
The Lowdown: The small artificial lawn and the hand-crafted wood paneling really does inspire a smile as one approaches this quaint food truck, currently residing in the parking lot of Hogshead Brewery. The chicken wings here come in two varieties, but it’s the smile spicy wings ($6) adorned with “smile spice” that make it truly worth a visit. The extra breading sprinkled on top set these wings apart, adding extra flavor and crunch and it pairs perfectly with the sweet, fruity dipping sauce. As this is a food truck, the location changes regularly so be sure to check their Instagram for updated location and hours.
Ace Eat Serve
Where: 501 E 17th Ave, Denver
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Lowdown: No list of wings in Denver would be complete without mentioning Ace Eat Serve. Though they have three different wing varieties, the most popular are the tiger wings ($16), which come doused in a sweet and salty lemongrass chili sauce. This past year, executive chef Thach Tran decided to expand on the popularity of the chicken wings and opened Wing Alley. This new project focuses on to-go and delivery orders and serves seven different types of American and Asian-style chicken wings. It is undetermined at this time how long Wing Alley will be a feature of Ace Eat Serve so try these new flavors while you can.
Great Wall Chinese Restaurant
Where: 440 E Colfax Ave, Denver
Hours: Closed Tuesday. Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
The Lowdown: This modest restaurant providing counter service Chinese food is another surprising source of delicious fried chicken. Overall the dishes here can be hit or miss – with some dishes packed with flavor and others on the more mild side of flavor – however, the chicken wings ($8) are reliably tasty. They are served as whole wing joints and are available to order plain or with sauce on the side.