Chicken wings are more than late-night food that comes glossed in buffalo sauce. They’re an international, year-round obsession, and Philly’s kitchens represent the full global spectrum. So, what’s the best place to get your wing fix in Philly? Here are your best bets.
The salt-baked wings from shuttered Tasty Place are impossible to replace, but the Cantonese classic David’s Mai Lai Wah has a similar version that should get you through a late-night Chinatown craving. Lately, though, I’m thinking more about the spicier Szechuan rendition, and the lip-numbing wings dusted with peppercorns and chilies at Mama Wong are worth the drive. For those in the city, visit any location of the Mama Wong chef’s previous employer, Han Dynasty.
Han Dynasty: Address: multiple locations including Cherry Hill, Exton, Manayunk, Old City, Royersford and University City, Website: handynasty.net, Instagram: @handynasty, Hours: vary by location Delivery: Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats
Black garlic wings
The Cantonese-style salt-and-pepper crust gets the hipster fusion upgrade of black garlic caramel with lime and sesame at creative Fishtown noodle bar Cheu Fishtown.
Cheu Fishtown: Address: 1416 Frankford Ave., Phone: 267-758-2269, Website: cheufishtown.com, Instagram: @cheufishtown, Hours: Mon.-Thu. 4:30-9:30 p.m., Fri. 4:30-10 p.m., Sat, 1-10 p.m., Sun. 4-9:30 p.m., Delivery: DoorDash
People come to Henri’s Hotts Barbeque for the excellent smoked meats at Doug Henri’s South Jersey roadhouse, but he also happens to make some of the best fried chicken anywhere. It’s even better in wing form, as those meaty flappers are served with a shimmer of his dark and tangy honey-kissed sauce. Mike’s BBQ (1711 S. 11th St.) or Sweet Lucy’s Smoke House (7500 State Rd.) are great alternatives.
Sweet Lucy’s Smoke House: Address: 7500 State Rd., Phone: 215-333-9663, Website: sweetlucys.com, Instagram: @sweetlucys_bbq, Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Delivery: DoorDash
These wings get an update at Ripplewood in Ardmore: Chef Biff Gottehrer confits the sage- and spice-cured wings to tenderness in a hot schmaltz bath then crisps and glazes them to finish in the funky spice of house-fermented fresno chile hot sauce.
Ripplewood: Address: 29 East Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, Phone: 610-486-7477 Website: ripplewoodbar.com, Instagram: @theripplewood, Hours: Takeout & Delivery: Tue.- Sun. 3 p.m.-9 p.m., outdoor Dining: Tue.-Sun. 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Delivery: through the website.
Korean-fried chicken wings
The supersized wings at Southgate are a polished rendition of the “KFC” genre (other favorites include Café Soho and Andy’s Chicken), and this Korean gastropub has mastered the double-crust crackle, with juicy meat and a sauce so fragrant, you can smell its sesame and soy-sweet spice wafting halfway up 18th Street.
Southgate: Address: 1801 Lombard St., Phone: 215-560-8443, Website: southgatephilly.com, Instagram: @southgatephilly, Hours: Tue.-Thu. 5-10 p.m., Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 2-11 p.m., Sun. 2- 9 p.m., Delivery: Caviar, Grubhub, Uber Eats
Andy’s Chicken: Address: 2001 Memphis St, 2108 South St, and 709 West Ave, Jenkintown, Phone: 215-291-0700 (Memphis St.), 215-515-3553 (South St.), 215-935-6074 (Jenkintown) Instagram: @andys_chicken Hours: vary by location Delivery: Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats
Old-school Buffalo-style wings at Moriarty’s Irish Pub and Restaurant: for those who crave the nose-tickling, neon-orange spice of traditional buffalo wings, this venerable Irish pub serves them plump, crisp, and punchy with Frank’s hot sauce heat.
Try them at Sophie’s Kitchen. Cambodians have a special talent for giving their chicken wings extra intrigue — deboning, then stuffing them with chopped chicken, glass noodles, and wood ear mushrooms zapped with holy basil and a lemongrass spice paste called kroeung. The flavors are electric, and the wing’s new form is itself a revelation, the chicken transformed into its own char-kissed dumpling.
Sophie’s Kitchen: Address: 522 Washington Ave., Phone: 215-271-0888, Instagram: @sophieskitchenphilly, Hours: Tue.-Sat. noon-9 p.m., Sun.-Mon. noon-8 p.m.
» READ MORE: Our best Philly tips: Read our most useful stories