Flying High on Chicken Wings

Columns Ono, You Know

July 23, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

I‘m definitely no chicken when it comes to thrill-seeking activities. OK, so maybe you won’t catch me jumping out of airplanes just yet or bungee jumping from the highest cliffs, but that’s not to say that I haven’t already fallen madly in love with roller coasters. If it were up to me, in fact, I’d have annual passes to all the major theme parks, including Six Flags, Great America, Cedar Point, California Adventure Park, Knott’s Berry Farm and, of course, Disneyland.

Nothing can compare to the pure adrenaline rush I get on these hair-raising rides, particularly the way my body is jolted following each twist, turn, rise and fall of the track.

And perhaps the same can be said about what I call “amusement park cuisine.” In my case, I happen to associate tender chicken wings with theme parks. I know, some of you may link this yummy finger food to an ice cold beer or a football game, but I prefer to feast on chicken wings smothered in ranch dressing after disembarking from one of those rides of a lifetime.

Like roller coasters, each and every bite into a chicken wing can be an exhilarating experience for your taste buds. Whether it’s creamy ranch, zesty and spicy sauce, or jerk seasoning, chicken wings are an invigorating experience for all your senses.

And this week my stomach was ready as I prepared to hit three local hot spots that offer onolicious chicken wings. While some were mild and others fiery-hot, I wanted to experience each and every burst of flavor.

So, whether it be taking on the fiercest of roller coasters or biting into the spiciest of chicken wings, I can’t help but find myself screaming the same words: “More please! I just can’t get enough!”

RumFire

  • Our thrill-seeking editor enjoys the heat that comes with RumFire's Jerk Seasoned Chicken Wings ($12).
  • Jerk Seasoned Chicken Wings ($12) at RumFire
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Upon setting foot in RumFire, located inside the Sheraton Waikiki, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. For one, RumFire overlooks the breathtaking Helumoa Playground set against the captivating backdrop of Diamond Head in this dreamy ocean-front hotel in Waikiki. Secondly, it’s easy to pass the time away while enjoying a relaxing lunch with friends or grabbing pau hana drinks as some of Honolulu’s best contemporary musicians play on.

And while all this is enough to make me say, “I’m soooooo lucky to live in this beautiful paradise,” it’s the impeccable cuisine that has me drooling. This chic-ultra lounge is currently home to a unique Hawaiian fusion menu known as “Bahawaiian” cuisine, or “West meets West,” featuring an exotic blend of contemporary Hawaiian fare and California Baja Mexican-inspired dishes.

Guests can enjoy a plethora of various menu items, including Kalua Pork Enchiladas ($14), RumFire’s signature “Kim Chee Fried Rice” ($14), Chipotle BBQ Rum Baby Back Ribs ($14) and Garlic Pommes Frites ($6).

My favorite of the bunch, however, is RumFire’s signature Jerk Seasoned Chicken Wings ($12), served with a hot, spicy and creamy fiesta ranch sauce. Onolicious!

“We add a secret jerk spice that has been blended to a finer consistency, which allows it to stick better to the chicken,” says chef Colin Hazama. “Then we coat the chicken with flour to be deep-fried and seasoned again with the special spice mix. What makes the chicken even more special is the dipping sauce — a chipotle puree lightly mixed with ranch dressing to give it a creamy sweetness,” he adds.

Warning: These particular chicken wings are so zesty and flavorful you won’t know when to stop. It really is comfort food at its best!

Rumfire’s out-of-this-world dishes are served daily from 10 a.m. to midnight, so be sure to take a break from the awesome grinds and enjoy RumFire’s late-night lineup, showcasing some of the island’s top deejays and most popular parties.

RumFire
Sheraton Waikiki
2255 Kalakaua Ave.
(808) 921-4600
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Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

  • Brad Vandeman of Shakey's with Spicy Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Wings (8-piece, $10.99) at Shakey's.
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Fine dining is always nice, but sometimes I like to shake things up a bit with some hearty pizza, chicken wings and mojos from Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Waipahu Town Center. Brad Vandeman brought Shakey’s to the islands in February 2010 after witnessing the establishment’s nationwide success, which began in 1954 with the first restaurant in Southern California.

“We’re all about food, family and fun,” Vandeman says. “Kids and families love our game room, and take full advantage of our arcade and video games.”

And while I love a good game of mini-dunk basketball and a good laugh with friends in the relaxing environment of the dining room, I also can’t wait to get my hands on some onolicious Chicken Wings. These breaded and deep-fried wings are delicious on their own, but only get better when paired with your choice of ranch dressing, Budweiser Hot and Spicy sauce or Dr. Pepper Barbecue sauce.

“The Budweiser Hot and Spicy and the Dr. Pepper Barbecue are our two signature sauces,” says Vandeman. “These sauces are new to a lot of people, however, so many go with ranch. But we do offer the other two (sauces) for people to sample as well.”

Shakey’s Chicken Wings are perfect for those in the mood for a snack or those with a gigantic appetite. Sample the 4-piece set for $5.99, 8-piece set for $10.99, and devour the 12-piece set for $15.99.

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor
Waipahu Town Center
94-060 Farrington Hwy., #D3
(808) 677-1919
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Kochi Restaurant & Lounge

  • Spicy Chicken Wings ($8.95) at Kochi Restaurant & Lounge
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Enter into a world of contemporary elegance while enjoying the best in local Japanese cuisine at Kochi Restaurant & Lounge on South King Street. A go-to choice among locals and families, as well as the late night crowd, Kochi offers a great array of menu options, such as the Shrimp Tempura Roll with Spicy Tuna ($13.95), the Take Nigiri Set ($27.95), Blackened Ahi ($18.95), the Spicy Garlic Furikake Chicken ($7.95, $11.95 family size) and more.

“We have a lot of great options here, and I’d say that the Spicy Chicken Wings ($8.95, $12.95 family size) rate highly among our popular dishes,” says Kochi general manager Reid Mochizuki.

These deep-fried wings are tossed to absolute perfection with a sweet and spicy sauce, which Mochizuki says is derived from a secret in-house recipe.

Now, if you’re one to withstand the heat, take on the Buffalo Wings ($8.95), $12.95 family size). These vibrant wings are doused in a fiery vinegar spicy sauce.

“Both the Spicy Chicken Wings and the Buffalo Wings have become a staple for our lounge customers, and we also offer our chicken wings as a Happy Hour appetizer for only $5,” Mochizuki adds.

Come with a hungry stomach because I promise you you’ll be eating up a storm. Be sure to ask for extra napkins and grab a beer and refills of water while you’re at it — these wings will surely be flying off your plate!

Kochi Restaurant & Lounge
1936 S. King St.
(808) 941-2835
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