3 We Tried (Twice): Who Has the Best Salt-and-Vinegar Wings on O‘ahu?
Just the idea makes our mouths water. So we went deli counter hopping in the hunt for the most mouth-puckering wings.
Every year we seek out the best food, shopping, services and more for our Best of Honolulu feature. When it came to the best salt-and-vinegar wings, there were not as many contenders as in other categories and all were at supermarkets. Because we know the quality of a fried wing can vary from location to location and depend on the time of day, we tried two rounds from each just to be sure. Find out who won in July! Available on newsstands or purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com in July. Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.
Photo: Katie Kenny
These may be the most talked about version on the island. Foodland often touts its salt-and-vinegar wings in ads and offers them for catering. We easily found them at various locations at all times of day and brought back a bag of six to try. The chicken wings had a nice skin-to-meat ratio, were darker than some of the other contenders and the tangy flavor seemed to be infused throughout the wing so the last bite was the same as the first. $8.99 a pound (though it often goes on sale for $6.99 a pound) or pre-order a pan that serves eight to 10 for $26.99.
Multiple locations, foodland.com
Photo: Katie Kenny
Part of the challenge of picking up these wings was just finding them. Not every Times has a full kitchen, which is required for the frying, so after sitting in the parking lot of one to call the others, we ended up at the South Beretania Street location. The friendly customer service rep we chatted with on the phone had told us that the wings are available until they run out, so we went early and found a pile heaped in a tray next to eggs, sausage and bacon ready for the neon-shirt-clad construction workers lined up for breakfast. Times wings are bigger than Foodland’s, but lighter in color and milder in flavor so you could easily down several without pausing. $6.99 a pound.
We found wings at Times Beretania and Kaimukī, timessupermarkets.com
When I called the Kapahulu Boulevard location of Safeway and asked if it sells salt-and-vinegar wings, the exuberant woman on the phone exclaimed, “We sure do! The best on the island!” (We’ll see about that in July.) If you don’t see them in the deli case, ask. Workers, at that location at least, will fry them up on the spot while you wait. These wings rivaled Times Supermarket’s in size and the visible dusting of flavoring provided a punch of that tangy flavor that actually made some of our intrepid taste testers’ eyes close and mouths pucker while emitting an audible “woo.” It didnʻt stop them for going for a second bite. $9.99 per pound.
Multiple locations, safeway.com