KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — As ubiquitous as it is enduring, the chicken wing never goes out of style.
Fried, grilled, barbecued or broiled, it’s finger food at its finest and I hold many fond memories with a wing in hand.
I enjoy the occasional fried wing, and on occasion, B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings) held it down for me in college.
But to me, barbecued chicken wings are where it’s at.
In KL, Wong Ah Wah, a longstanding, illustrious establishment known for their chicken wings, has conventionally been the spot to be.
But nestled deep inside Taman Sri Sinar, Segambut is another spot where charcoal and chicken come together to rock your world.
A master at work.
YHK BBQ Chicken Wings can be found right by the front of Yi Yi Tou Restaurant, identifiable by a serpentine coil of smoke that slithers up into the air, reaching out to you like a tale of biblical temptation.
A lone light bulb illuminates row upon row of chicken wings, golden and glistening in the warm yellow light, gently coddled by the coals.
It’s a fascinating juggling act to watch: A brush of glaze, a couple of waves with the fan, all under his watchful gaze.
There are no timers in sight, nothing but decades of experience and total mastery of heat guides this sort of cooking, which I call - with the deepest of respect - cooking by feel.
A dozen wings (RM48) arrived, halved at the joint to split the wingettes and drumettes.
Quick aside: A wing is RM4, and the prices listed go from one through 50 wings (RM200), meaning you can choose to have as little as one wing or ball out with 50 of these delicious things.
At first glance, she’s a beauty.
A thing of beauty, the wingette (left). A drumette to behold (right).
The skin bears remarkably even colouring, perfectly bronzed and gleaming in its own fat.
Things get even better on the nose.
Each wing is perfumed liberally with as much smoky aroma as each strand and each fibre of flesh will allow it to take.
It’s evocative of a smooth, long and heady pull from a good cigar, delivered in chicken form.
And it would go on to be love at first bite.
Supple, juicy and intensely savoury from the smoke, I was thoroughly smitten.
Unless you’re a freak of nature and can chow down on nothing but wings, go for some dishes at Yi Yi Tou. They don’t disappoint.
Interestingly, as they cooled, the fat almost fortified, perhaps from interacting with the caramelised sugars of the glaze, leaving a delightfully luscious and sticky sensation on the lips.
Try as I might to justify it to myself, I had to come to terms with the soul-crushing fact that I’m no longer at the age where I can eat numerous chicken wings and call it a meal.
I sought solace in more food, ordering from Yi Yi Tou, and solace was what I found.
The Salted Egg Sotong (RM30) and Choi Heong Tofu (RM16) were both good, familiar and comforting, but ultimately tangential to the bona fide stardom of the chicken wings.
Another great thing about barbecued wings is that they transport well, and while you won’t find YHK BBQ on any food delivery platforms, they’re willing to accommodate requests.
Look for the small faded sign at the corner of the junction.
Just let the nice lady know how many wings you’d like to order through WhatsApp, and she’ll let you know when it’s almost ready for you to arrange the courier service of your choice.
Provide her with the necessary details (e.g. number plate of the delivery person) and you’re all set.
Yi Yi Tou Restaurant YHK BBQ Chicken Wings
1, Jalan 15/38D, Taman Sri Sinar, Kuala Lumpur
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 4pm-9.30pm
Tel: 012-9788799 (WhatsApp as well)
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