Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Battle of the Wing Nights in Itaewon

Wings nights in Seoul are brilliant.  At 300 won per wing, it's a deal, and consequently it's one of Seoul's premiere social events (it's not).  I was flipping through one of Seoul's expat magazines, and it dawned on me (via Noel's superior brain) that we could do "wing night" for nearly an entire week by hopping from one restaurant to the next Monday through Thursday.  Conceptually, the idea was brilliant.  By Thursday, I had successfully managed to demote one of my favorite foods into a dish I didn't care to eat again for a long, long time (ah hem, one week).

JR Pub is apparently under the ownership of someone who used to run things over at Seoul Pub.  I don't like Seoul Pub so it's not surprising that I didn't like JR Pub.  To be fair, I liked it MUCH more than Seoul Pub.  (Still didn't like it though.)  By the end of night, I felt pretty nauseous at the thought of wings.  The first few wings taste fine, but they were so drowned in some mayonnaise-y sauce that it killed any enthusiasm I had for what was underneath.

We ordered the standard hot wings, ranchy hot wings (not the official menu name), and garlic honey.  The wings appear to have been deep-fried then saturated in a sickeningly sweet, rich sauce.  The spicy wings weren't spicy.  The honey garlic were swimming in an overwhelmingly thick, gooey mess of honey and oil.  Their version of ranch wings was slathered in their mayonnaise-heavy ranch sauce.  I love ranch sauce, but their's lacked seasoning and flavor.  I also am not sure why the wings were orange.  The wings needed spice and balance.  There was no acid or bite to counterbalance the sweet honey garlic or the heavy mayonnaise ranch.

The good points?  The wings come out hot, and the side of ranch sauce comes free with the wings.  Elsewhere, you'd usually have to pay 500 won.

JR Pub is in the alley behind exit 4 of Itaewon Station, right next to the Wolfhound.

Me and my sister
There are several places doing wing nights on Tuesday - Orange Tree in HBC, Scrooge's and Three Alleys.  I was told they all suck so I went to RMT because I couldn't stomach the thought of two disappointing wing nights in a row if I was going to make it through this wing marathon.

I've done wing nights at RMT several times.  Most times, it's been ridiculously crowded, and the wings were okay for Korea; subpar by American standards.  I've never understood why it's so crowded on wing nights because I don't find their wings particularly tasty.  Way too much vinegar.

We ordered the creamy cool and your standard hot wings with a side of poutine.

I prefer eating the hot wings dipped in ranch sauce rather than the creamy cool (ranch and hot sauce).  The creamy cools seem to have way too much vinegar for my liking.  Because it's so busy, the wings can come out dry and overcooked.  Noel really likes RMT and their creamy cools.  I like that they REALLY know how to make a HOT chicken wing.  The chicken is nice and crisp (if not, too crisp), and the ranch sauce tastes nice and herby.  Out of all the wing nights Itaewon has to offer, I definitely have the most FUN at RMT.  Overall, RMT is a safe bet, and their wings aren't bad.

RMT is located outside of exit 3 Itaewon Station past the police station and gas station.  It's on the second floor.

Wings at Dillinger's isn't your classic buffalo wing.  It's battered, fried, and doused in sauce.  It's more of the style of wing you'd expect at a T.G.I. Fridays or an All-American diner.  Kind of reminds of Chinese food.  I don't like this style of wing, but if I did, Dillinger's does a pretty decent job.

I was pretty sick of wings so we just ordered 20 of the standard hot wings.  The wings come out hot and crispy, and the sauce packs a ton of heat.  It's a subtle heat, and the spice isn't like hot sauce; it's more of a dry cayenne heat that creeps up from the jaw.  After eating a few, I realized it was burning my mouth - a sensation I always find enjoyable.  The sauce has a fair amount of sugar, and I have a rank suspicion that their platter of wings is teeming with calories and little fat pustules ready to adhere themselves to your ass.  But whatever.  Chicken wings, anyway you cook 'em, are never going to be a diet food.

Dillinger's is located out of exit 4 of Itaewon Station past the second set of traffic lights.  It's inset about ten meters from the street.

Bottom left - Ranch Hot, Top - Hot, Right - Vindaloo Curry
I have never eaten at Phillie's though I've been there once or twice and hated myself for it.  I went in jaded by three straight days of eating nothing but chicken wings (and drumsticks).  I went in ready to hate their wings and everything this stupid week of wing-gormandizing stood for.  Alas, Phillie's was my favorite wing night and consequently, is now my favorite wing place in Seoul.

They make what I consider to be a true buffalo wing.  It has heat.  It has tang.  It's crispy but not dry.  The ranch dressing tastes beautifully of fresh dill.  Phillie's even offers a vegetable platter of celery and carrots like true wing establishment.  The menu has a few surprises as well with offerings of green curry or Vindaloo curry wings.

Ranch Hot Wings

Hot Wings

Vindaloo Curry Wings
Phillie's in located in Haebangchon, a 7-minute walk straight out of exit 2 of Noksapyeong Station (veer left at the kimchi pots).

All restaurants mentioned in this post can be found on MangoPlate, a restaurant discovery app available in English and Korean.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, this maybe a bit late in the day but I am looking for a wing place that has chicken wings with blue cheese... tonight!! :-) is there any place in seoul that does that? Thanks!



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