Last week we were invited to join a group of fellow bloggers, photographers and journalists for a tasting tour* of Vancouver Foodster‘s Chicken Wing Challenge, on now until June 9th at over a dozen participating bars and restaurants around the lower mainland.
*Disclaimer: We were invited as Media Guests on this tour, however all opinions are 100% ours.
Like many of the previous challenges that Van Foodster is famous for, the idea here is you visit a bunch of different spots, sample their wings, and then vote for your favorite from June 7-11th.
Tweet your photos using hashtag #ChickenWingsChallenge, and join other like-minded chicken lovers in the quest for the best chicken wings Vancouver has to offer!
Our tour started at Malone’s Bar & Grill, a staple in Vancouver’s bar scene. It’s basically been at the corner of Pender and Seymour forever, but we can’t say we’d been here for food before.
Lucky for us, our first time would be a total treat.
Behold the Salted Caramel Waffle Wings with Zing, truly a unique dish. A buttermilk waffle batter, tossed in a spicy salted caramel sauce, this was a triple threat — sweet, salty and spicy. Chef Rennie Chotalal (pictured below) succeeded with this fun and playful rendition of chicken and waffles, and we’d definitely recommend this one.
Next we hit up Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar‘s Gastown location at Waterfront Station.
This is a restaurant we’ve definitely noticed, but have never been to — it’s just in one of those locations that we’re usually just passing through. The space was pretty nice, and we were seated in a semi-private room which we could see being cool for social gatherings or a birthday party.
The Kimchi Chicken Wings, above, are served with a kimchi wheat ale glaze. These weren’t as punchy as we’d wished they were, and the pickled cucumber salad on the side felt like the ‘kimchi’ portion. To the restaurant’s defence, they did mention they dialed back the flavours due to some customers requests, so we’re not sure if this was a result of that or not.
Made with a kimchi puree which is reduced with honey, orange and wheat ale, the overall flavour of the dish was just kind a bit lacking of Kimchi flavour — which we were really looking forward to tasting in a chicken wing. Heat wise, these guys were super mild, but we will mention the chicken was extremely juicy and moist.
Last stop was Calabash Bistro, a hip Gastown eatery where food, music and art collide. This was our first time here, and it was a memorable one. Guided into the depths of the basement, we were seated and treated to some of the most delicious chicken wings we’d ever had before — the Calabash Wings.
Calabash uses Free range chicken marinated in their house made jerk, seasoned with Calabash spices, and served with a spicy tropical glaze.
If you love chicken, or specifically, chicken wings — then you absolutely need to make a point of checking out this competition. We only tried three options, and were blown away by the level of creativity and thought that went into something as simple as well, a wing.
Then do yourself a huge favour — and go eat some chicken wings!
XX – The Food Gays