Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Of wings and lollipops

This post isn't about a review of any restaurant to give you insights about the food at a particular joint, but rather to give y'all a few details about a very popular dish. In case I haven't mentioned it here before (don't think I have), my favourite cuisine is... what, tell me? Go on, take a guess... I dare ya! Honestly, there isn't any one particular cuisine that I'd prefer on a whole over any other cuisine, but comfort food for me is anything that can be fitted between two slices of slightly toasted bread/bun. Yup, the sandwich, and its cousin the burger top the imaginary list of what can be called my favourite food. If someone holds a gun to my head and asks for a cuisine, I guess I'll have to say 'pub food'.

To some extent (quite a large extent actually), sandwiches and burgers can also be categorised under pub food, and I guess because I like to multi-task, sandwiches are probably the one food item that I can eat and work with at the same time. Also, stating pub food has another reason - for one, it involves pork :) and another universal favourite, chicken wings or Buffalo wings. This post is dedicated towards shedding some light chicken wings.

Photo credit Hub Pages

There are a lot of places now in Bangalore that serve wings with varying degrees of heat. Plan B even has a 'Wings Tuesday' event where you can get a dozen wings for Rs:120 (and also buy a beer and get one free before 6 P.M), Toit has a heavenly bowl of wings for those interested, while that new upstart, Nando's, also has a plate of scary looking wings (scary coz the entire wing is served - drummette, wingette and tip, without being cut) with their famous peri-peri sauce. Of course, there could be several other joints serving wings, I just stuck to the more popular ones.

For those of you who love to dig into a bowl of juicy, succulent wings slathered with enough sauce to make it slide between your fingers without any resistance, dipping it into a tartar sauce of mayo or just eating them the way they are, I'm sure you'd have encountered the same problems I have. Inconsistency. Perhaps not in taste, but most certainly in terms of size. Yup, when it comes to food, size does matter.

I've had my fair share of disappointments, mostly noticing that some of the peices are almost devoid of meat, while some are so full of meat you wonder whether it actually is a wing or something else. And then there's this mysterious dish called a chicken lollipop, that sort of resembles a chicken drumstick (leg) but is smaller, and you never quite know what or where it came from. Well, this post aims to give you some gyaan about that as well.

The chicken wing consists of three sections, much like the human arm (evolution).

Image from Just Bento

Most places in the west, notably the US, where wings, or Buffalo wings (since they're supposed to have originated in Buffalo, NY) are a rage, make use of the first part of the wing, the drummette, for their wings. The drummette resembles a drumstick (chicken leg) and quite often I've seen a mildly perplexed look on the faces of people eating this when they'd ordered for wings. Also, being a more meatier portion of the wing (just like how we have our biceps in the top section of the arm, the wing packs a lot of meat in the drummette). In India (I'll speak for Bangalore alone now), most places that serve wings give you a mixture of drummettes and wingettes and more often than not there would be more wingettes than drummettes. So the next time you order that bowl of wings, make a mental note of how many wingettes and drummettes came in your order of wings. Although there's no 'rule' as such as to what ought to be served, common sense would suggest that the drummette would be a piece that the folks dining would prefer, since the wingette, apart from having less meat, also as twice the number of bones (2) in it when compared to a drummette.

The next topic is the chicken lollipop (alias Drums of Heaven). What part of the chicken does this mysterious piece come from? The answer is ... you guessed it (didn't you?), the chicken wing again! If you recall my second post while I was in Hyderabad, a waiter had served us chicken lollipop when we had ordered wings and tried to pass it off as 'wings' by claiming "...lollipop will be more yellow colour, Sir." To be fair (now), they did serve us wings, just not in the way we expected them to. That's like asking for mashed potatoes with your steak but being served French fries instead!

Here's a link where you can see the entire process of how a lollipop is made. The drummette is taken and the meat from one end of the bone is separated off from the bone while leaving the meat at the other end attached to the bone. This 'dangling' meat is then pulled over the other end of the bone (like removing a sweater, getting it inside out and leaving it to cover your head). After that, all that remains is the simple task of seasoning the meat, and coating it with batter and frying it. However, places that want to act cheap and make an extra buck at the cost of the customer would use the wingette section, remove one of the two bones in it (the thinner bone), and then follow the process of making the lollipop. So in case you find a difference in the amount of meat on top of the lollipop, check the size of the bones, and if you notice a difference, it could well be a lollipop made from a wingette and not from a drummette.

So now that you know what 'actually' a chicken wings dish ought to consist of, and what a chicken lollipop is, I'll leave you to go figure out where the best of each can be found in the city you live in, and it's for you as a customer to make a list of those places that are trying to pull a fast one on you.


boozyg said...

good post! masterclass-y !

Eveline said...

well, I'm GREAT now that I saw that lovely picture of a "chicken" you posted!

A wing had so many parts to it? very strange.

And thanks. now I'm hungry.

Karthik Shetty said...

No problem, I aim to please :)

KK said...

Good post, and thanks for the info, very useful indeed :)


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