New Recipes

Pok Pok Wings (Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings)

Pok Pok Wings
Pok Pok Wings pictures (1 of 3)

Pok Pok—the pounding sounds that a pestle made against a mortar during the making of Som Tam (Thai green papaya salad)—is a rising restaurant empire in the United States. A humble start in Portland, Oregon, Pok Pok has expanded to New York City, the culinary capital of the United States. Recently, renowned food writer Francis Lam wrote a fascinating piece on the New York Times and described Andy Ricker’s arrival to New York as “…the Beatles were about to touch down at Kennedy.” Pok Pok wings are legendary and much celebrated in the foodie world; in fact, it’s the single commodity that has pretty much launched the growing empire of Pok Pok.

I have never been to the original Pok Pok, nor have I been to the newly opened Pok Pok New York. But I have long wanted to taste these famous wings. My friend Brian L, a Portand resident and mega foodie once told me that those Pok Pok wings were addictive and absolutely delightful. If I can’t make it to any of the Pok Pok restaurants, I have to try making it.

Lucky for me, a quick Google search for Pok Pok wings pulls up Andy Ricker’s recipe, published on the Food & Wine magazine. Named after the Vietnamese chef who created this recipe, these Pok Pok wings are called “Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.” I glanced through the ingredients and method. It was simple enough to make, so out I went gathering the ingredients, marinated the wings, deep-fried and glazed with the sauce. Voila, Pok Pok has landed in Orange County.

Pok Pok Wings (Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings)

As I have mentioned, I have never tried the real Pok Pok wings, so I could only imagine they would taste better than my adapted version. The wings are crispy, deeply flavorful, a tad salty but sweet at the same time, with the brilliant garlicky aroma and flavor from the deep-fried garlic. I was hooked.

The only thing that I felt iffy about was the the fish sauce marinade, which is re-used as a glaze and tossed with the chicken wings before serving. It was a little disturbing to me, even though the sauce is boiled, hence there is really no hygiene concern. I have provided an alternative method in my Pok Pok wings recipe below. Now that I have tasted the goods, I just can’t wait for the Pok Pok cookbook. I know it’s going to be great, and even more so because my good friend Austin Bush is the food photographer of the cookbook.

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34 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Josie

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried Pok Pok wings last year after we moved to Portland and they are just as good as everyone says. I can’t wait to try making them myself!

  2. Candice

    These Pok Pok wings look good. I don’t have a fryer at home. If I wanted to bake these wings instead, what temperature would you recommend baking it at and for how long?


  3. Makanmata

    I have been making this recipe for a while, but I barbecue the wings instead of frying them. For me the barbecue give the wings a nice char that frying does not (and its easier). Also, for those who prefer a less fishy fish sauce, the Vietnamese Red Boat fish sauce is less strong than the Thai brands (including the Thai brands which try to give the impression that they are from Vietnam). I also usually add some of the herbs to the marinade/glaze before cooking it down, and add chopped peanuts, fried garlic, dried chile, and fried onions to the mint and cilantro to the dish before serving.

  4. Paul

    The recipe looks pretty good. Try adding some heat next time you make this though. The original wings are HOT! It helps cut the sweetness.

    • Thanks for sending the link. The wings recipe that I followed didn’t have any heat but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many omissions compared to the restaurant’s version.

      • I’ve eaten at Pok Pok Portland,OR many times and I’ve replicated the wings a couple of times and it is easy enough but labor intensive, not to mention the very pungent odor of fish sauce caramelizing in sugar. One can order the wings regular or spicy (addition of chili pepper) but the finishing with fish sauce glaze is key to this formula. Ricker demonstrates the entire process on previous episode with Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives on Youtube.

  5. Deb

    I’ve eaten Pok Pok’s wings several times in Portland and they are incredible! These don’t look at all like Pok Pok’s but I dont care! I live 500 miles away from Portland and I crave these little guys so I’m gonna try the recipe.

  6. Lina

    I tried this recipe and it’s delicious! If I were to bake this, would it get same crispy result? Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe.

  7. Susan

    I make a verson of these at home (even though I live in Portland), and I’ve seen Andy demonstrate these on a Food Network program a couple of years ago. There he deep fried the chicken then caramelized the sugar separately before adding the fish sauce and garlic, like you would for a traditional Vietnamese preparation. Also I’m almost cerain he used ginger and some crushed red pepper flakes as well as garlic in that syrup. I recall them tasting spicy at the restaurant as well. I would guess that this published verson is “safer” for home cooks (caramelizing sugar is intimidating for some). Not sure why he skipped the pepper.

    For mine, I marinate the chicken in tamari, ginger and garlic, then pan fry (rather than flour and deep fry…just as tasty without the wheat). I discard the marinade and make the caramel sauce separately, adding the fish sauce, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper to the caramel. Frickin YUM! I think they taste very close to the Pok Pok version.

    BTW, this caramel sauce is really awesome spooned over baked salmon too!

  8. Eliza

    Made these yesterday — tasty but salty, liked the crunchy caramelized wing but it sticks to my teeth. I made a separate sauce for the wings instead of boiling the marinade. Also added a bit of water. I think it would be better to lightly drizzle the sauce over the wings than to toss them completely.

  9. Deadpool

    How are you going to list a recipe for something you never even tried? Why not just call them “Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.” No offense, but since I want to replicate Pok Pok’s wings, I won’t even attempt this as it looks absolutely nothing like what you call it.

    • Dealpool – As I stated clearly in the post, this recipe is from the chef himself, which he contributed to the Food and Wine magazine. I merely just tested out and shared his recipe. I did call it Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, as stated in the title of this post at the top of the page. If it doesn’t look like the ones you get at the restaurant, I don’t know what to say since I followed the recipe exactly and the picture of the Food & Wine site looks very similar to mine, except that I also used the chicken drummet. You can try this recipe and make it look exactly like how it’s served at the restaurant. If you can’t replicate the look, then perhaps the chef doesn’t share the complete or real recipe.

  10. pwong

    Love your site! I live in Portland, and having been to Pok Pok and made the recipe myself a couple years ago, I can say that it does not taste quite the same as what is served in the restaurant. That doesn’t mean that the recipe isn’t really good, too.

    I attempted to reuse the marinade, but found that when I boiled it down, some of the residual juices turned the sauce almost gray in color (yuck). Like you, I ended up recreating the marinade and reducing it down before coating the wings with it.

  11. Bagwis

    Simple, easy to follow and yet mouth watering. May all the politicians in the world turn their heads to kitchens instead of dark political motives. Long live “RasaMalaysia”.

  12. Tom

    NYC is the food capital of the US?? Humble beginnings in Portland?? You obviously need to spend more time in Portland–its got NYC whipped for cuisine.

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