2.260 Regular Chicken Wings


22 (Thu) September 2011

Regular Chicken Wings


at Dillinger’s

-Itaewon, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with JHJ

I don’t know what to make of these wings.  Among the 4 varieties on the menu, we went with the “regular” because they seemed the safest bet.  Just to be sure, we asked the server if they were like typical “buffalo” wings, and she said, “Yes, kinda like that.”  No, as we would soon discover, not kinda like that at all.  The wings were coated in a sickly sweet glaze that not only tasted horrible but left a sticky residue on our fingers and lips that wouldn’t come off with wet tissues. Unpalatable and untouchable.  An hour later, by which time we had managed to get through two wings between the two of us, the glaze had dripped down onto the fries underneath and solidified to encase them like miniature logs in a prehistoric tar pit.  Disgusting.

Whereas any foreign food that succeeds in penetrating the Korean mainstream is then usurped by that mainstream and bastardized beyond recognition – a cultural custom here that I generally oppose as a food purist who believes in preserving the integrity of the original form or adhering to the fundamentals embodied therein – the act is often justified on the grounds that the end product has been made to conform to local tastes and/or that it’s an evolutionary improvement on the real deal.

But neither of these rationalizations, or any feasible rationalization, applied here.  It was as if the chef had decided to take the concept of the deep-fried chicken wing and mangle it with malice. How apropos of a restaurant/bar named after John Dillinger, a criminal who made his living by rapine and murder.

In a recent issue of 10 Magazine Korea, an English-language culture & events periodical that’s available for free in many expat hangouts around the country, the writers listed their top ten favorite joints in Seoul, respectively, for burgers, for wings, and for pizza: Dillinger’s ranked 5th on the list for wings. That apparent endorsement was the primary force that got me into the place. Afterwards, in going through the magazine’s website to reread what they’d said specifically about the wings, I discovered that Dillinger’s is a “supporter” of the magazine, as are several restaurants and bars on the lists.  I’m not saying that there’s a connection.  I’m just saying.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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