My 7 Favorite Fried Chicken Wings on O‘ahu That Aren’t KFC
Put aside the Korean fried chicken for now: Here are seven other chicken wings to celebrate National Chicken Wing Day.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Mahina is an avid local and national sports fanatic—so it’s fitting that her first post for Frolic comes just two days before National Chicken Wing Day on July 29. She loves planning her travel adventures around food and is a self-proclaimed unofficial Disney Mouseketeer.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me. You love celebrating national food holidays but honestly, do you want to eat that one designated thing? No, you want options. Sunday is National Chicken Wing Day. This island is capital-O Obsessed with Korean Fried Chicken (KFC), so I want to take you beyond the craze. Your girl craves diversity, so I rounded up my favorite fried chicken wings that aren’t KFC—seven spots that just so happen to offer a little sumthin’ extra.
In no particular order, these are my favorite fried chicken wings on O‘ahu.
The wings at J. Dolan’s are the starter hype man everyone needs in their corner before the main pizza event. These wings are a must every time I visit, and once they hit the table, they’re gone. Friends have mentioned they have a subtle spicy kick, but to be fair, my spice taste buds are damaged beyond repair so I don’t even notice. Either way, these classic wings will always be the way to go before pizza.
Hidden next to a laundromat on Nu‘uanu Avenue, this small local Korean barbecue serves one of the best examples of fried chicken wings. And while they may be Korean, I wouldn’t consider these wings KFC. Sam’s Deli is one of the nostalgia-filled places I turn to because it never lets me down. It’s the consistency. Far from dry, these juicy and plump wings are a hit at every party, and I never worry about them going soggy. Sam’s chicken wings with beer are the perfect pairing you didn’t know you needed.
$15.25, 1627 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 524-7777
SEE ALSO: Our Go-To: Fried Chicken in Honolulu
Aloha Vietnamese Foods
Onion pepper chicken wings, say less! Located among the many eateries at Old Stadium Square, this small Vietnamese takeout gem serves a wide range of dishes (remember, we like options!). The juicy onion pepper chicken wings are packed with savory salt-and-pepper flavor, and I love that they’re served with sautéed onions. Additional salt and pepper seasoning is included on the side. A squeeze of lemon juice over your wings only makes them better.
$12, 2320 S. King St., (808) 941-1170, @aloha_vietnamese_foods
The Pig & the Lady
My list wouldn’t be complete without these iconic wings whose popularity is well known and with good reason. The Le Fried Chicken (LFC) Wings carry a spectrum of robust flavors, from savory to sweet. Then they slap you with a sneak attack of pickled veggies and hints of fish sauce with every bite. I appreciate the double fry for that extra crisp bite and that they’re never dry.
Feeling a bit snack-ish, but craving something more? Foodland’s salt and vinegar chicken wings are the happy medium. They’re easy to grab and go and taste like one of my favorite chip flavors, but better, because protein! The salt and vinegar coating isn’t strong enough to pucker your lips, but the addictive flavor sends jabs to your taste buds that will keep you reaching for another wing.
Yi Xin Café
Calling all harm ha food lovers: These wings are for us. In a corner of Market City, this cute Hong Kong-style café marries two of my favorite things in one dish: Cantonese-style shrimp paste and chicken wings. That’s right, if a chicken and a shrimp had a family, these bad boys would be their legacy. The hint of shrimp after my first bite made me double take to make sure it was chicken. According to Mama Chong (my mom), these wings were popular at a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown years ago; she says these are nostalgic for her. If that’s not a rare seal of approval from a Chinese mom, I don’t know what is.
$14.95, 2919 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 738-0818, @yi_xin_cafe_808
HK Café takes the simple route with a brine, dry and deep-fry method that locks the savory soy sauce flavor in the wing. Despite not having a crust, it delivers a thin crispiness on the outside that fascinates me to no end. These classic house special wings are the underrated sleeper you must try.
$12.99, multiple locations, @hkcafehawaii