Stuffed Chicken Wings, Vietnamese-Style

If eating at In 'N Out has taught me one thing, it's that the restaurant that has only one item, or variation on that item, usually does it well. A couple of months ago, I wrote about this place called Bun Bo Hue, which does a surprisingly good --- you guessed it ---bun bo Hue noodle soup. Today I'll talk about the single other item on their menu, their stuffed chicken wings, or canh ga rut xuong.

Literally translated, canh ga rut xuong means "chicken wing with bones removed," and since it's one of two items Bun Bo Hue offers, they do it extremely well. I've been ordering it to-go, but it's best to order in. They make it fresh, and it will come out piping-hot, skin golden and slightly crispy.

It's amazing how they keep the entirety of the wing intact while stuffing it to the brim with a filling of pork paste, bean threads, and chopped black fungus. The wings look plump and oversize as a result, just begging to be eaten. They do something to the wings to give them a slightly sweet taste -- perhaps it's a honey glaze -- I'm not quite sure, but the end result is a super-tasty wing that's even better when dipped in the Thai-like orange sweet and spicy sauce that comes on the side.

You can get the rice plate -- two wings with a round of rice topped with some green onions, some fresh tomato and cucumber -- for $7.50, but if you are a chicken wing lover, I'd just get the wings for $3 each. One or two make for a good snack, three make a hearty meal, and they are literally finger-licking good, so good, that I usually chew off all of the skin on the skinny part of the wing, leaving nothing more than a well-chewed-on, toothpick-size bone.

Of note: The Vietnamese iced coffee here, which costs a whopping Starbucks-priced $4, is quite addictive as well. The owner makes it with his own special blend of coffee, coffee jelly chunks, and crushed ice, and despite the steep-for-Chinatown price tag, it's well worth it, too.

So there you have it, bun bo Hue, stuffed chicken wings, and Vietnamese iced coffee. The choices are slim, but they are all worth trying. I guess that's why I keep on going back for more.

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