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Today's Case


Connecticut Chinese Chicken Wings

Subject: Old style Chinese chicken wings
From: Kelly
Date: 3/16/2023, 1:18 PM
To: Phaedrus 

On 3/16/2023 11:56 AM, Kelly wrote:

Hi Phaedrus,

I just saw your post on this from Brett(5-18-2020). I could have written that 
request he made word for word. Iíve been trying to find these chicken wings 
since the restaurant Hong Kong closed. I went to most of the restaurants he 
mentioned, though the Hu Ke Lau was a branch located in Rocky Hill, CT not 
the original chicopee one. If it helps at all, the location/address for 
Hong Kong Restaurant is below. They closed and a storage place moved in. 
To my knowledge the second Hong Kong that is still open wasnít related to 
the first. Sweet lord I wish you could have found that recipe. 
Thanks for your efforts.

 Kelly

Hello Kelly,

Your email prompted me to do another search today, but I still had no success. I don't see much of any way to find this without a unique name for wings cooked this way (even a Chinese name might help.) or a unique list of ingredients used to make them. Sorry.

Phaed

Subject: Old style Chinese chicken wings
From: Kelly 
Date: 3/16/2023, 2:28 PM
To: Phaedrus 

Thanks for the reply Phaed, my brother and I have gone over this for 
literally decades. Forgive the extremely long email but if this helps 
at all, iíll be thorough.

†The only ingredients I know for sure are soy sauce and msg. Hong Kong 
never did anything without msg. And I suspect with high certainty that 
sesame oil was an important ingredient, whether in the marinade or 
somehow in the cooking. My searches based on how they looked all come 
up with ďsoy sauce chicken wingsĒ recipes, which look right but seem 
a little too sticky. Brett was right, they were only very slightly 
sticky to the touch.

There was also a now closed restaurant called Kowloonís in Southington, CT. 
that had Hong Kong menus in their restaurant (and similar wings) so the 
owner must have been related or who knows what. That made me look up 
Kowloon's and I came up with the following recipe which is pretty close 
to where I landed with my own efforts:
Kowloon's Chinese Chicken Wings

In my own experiments, i tried 1 cup of soy, 1 cup water, quarter cup 
sesame oil and tsp of msg. Its close but not quite there, also close 
to the Kowloon recipe above (they dont use sesame oil). Problem is 
when you deep fry it, it wants to burn quickly from the sugars and soy, 
so the results were off. My air fried versions were closer. That said 
Iíve read in my own searching that gin was a secret to old school 
Chinese chicken wings, not sure if itís true, but itís an avenue I 
havent gone hard down.

The other major problem is time. Nobody cooks like they used to back 
when we got these. It would have been a heavy oil, maybe peanut they 
were fried in, that was also used for everything else they fried which 
would have added more flavor, plus msg and wherever else to the taste, 
simply from the dirty delicious oil. You cant replicate that.

Maybe Brett had some luck with the politician or old owner of Hu Ke Lau. 
How wonderful that would be. From pics of Hu Ke Laus (MA location) pupu 
platter, you can see the wings under their beef teriyaki sticks and the 
wings looked spot on.

Thanks again for looking,

Kelly

Hi Kelly,

It's been almost three years since I had any correspondence with Brett, so I just sent him an email asking if he had any success in finding the recipe.

Maybe I'll hear back from him.

Phaed

On Mar 16, 2023, at 5:36 PM, Phaedrus wrote:

Brett,

Did you ever have any success finding this recipe? Were you able to contact William Tong? I've had another request for this recipe, so if you were able to get it, please send it to me.

Phaed

Subject: New England Old School Cantonese chicken wings
From: Brett 
Date: 3/16/2023, 7:55 PM
To: Phaedrus 

I reached out to Tong. His spokesperson responded with this:

>>>Yes! Itís not an exact science. Sorry for the delay. See the rough 
guidelines below:

>>>In a big bowl throw in: dark soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, salt 
and pepper, white wine and mix. NO MEASUREMENTS eyeball it! Throw in 
your chicken and best if grilled but great baked too!

Honestly, †I donít think this is correct. There were never any scorch marks 
that would indicate carmelization you would see if grilling or baking.
__
Brett
-----------------------------------------------------------
Thanks Phaed!

I disagree with Brett slightly, baking wouldn't get you scorch marks 
and my own efforts showed air frying got me closer than actual frying. 
But, I still agree they were fried. Mostly likely double fried like a 
lot of Chinese restaurants do to get them done quickly and crispy. 
Chinese Restaurant Fried Chicken Wings

What they sent is in line with my own attempts, so I think thatís pretty 
correct, only add in the MSG and some dirty cooking oil. Also, I hadnít 
used dark soy before either, only a half soy/water mix because it would 
soak overnight. What they sent would be a much faster marinade, which 
makes sense if you have a quick turnover time. 

Iíll give this a shot and let you know.

Again, many thanks!

Kelly


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