Ching's Hot Wings

They're Just Wings

Yesterday while running errands, I stopped by Ching's to try out its wings. From reading the reviews on Urbanspoon, Yelp and elsewhere, I could've assumed that Ching's have the best wings in Memphis, but I know better. Most wing joints that I've been to cook their hot wings in pretty much the same manner: frying or roasting the wings, then tossing them into a bowl where they're mixed with hot sauce. I'm not trying to put down places that cook hot wings, but it's not rocket science (it seems that the blog Burn My Mouth agrees with me). That said, my favorite places for wings are those that have really good sauces that stand out. Ching's, despite the reviews, isn't better than most wing joints that I've been to.
Before I go any further, I want to list my favorite hot wing joints in Memphis. I'm sure many of you will disagree, but here it is:

1. Kelvin's Hot Wings - The wing sauce is hot AND tastes great. The best that I've had so far in Memphis.

2. Alex's Tavern - After Kelvin's, Alex's has the best tasting wings in town. The wing sauce has a nice balance of butter and peppers, without the salty aftertaste. Although they're not as hot, the wings are very enjoyable.

3. Max's Sports Bar - This might be an unusual choice. Given that the bar uses frozen rotisserie wings, the sauces it uses makes them really good.

4. Kooky Canuck - I'm mentioning this place because of the "heat" of its wings, which are hotter than average.

5. Buffalo Wild Wings - I like this place because of its selection of sauces. With sauce flavors ranging from Jammin' JalapeƱo to Thai Curry, along with a variety of seasonings make BWW the Baskins-Robbins of hot wings.

6. Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken - Love the Sweet Spicy sauce.

7. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken - Technically, Gus's doesn't make "hot" wings, but the spices it uses in its chicken can light a delicious fire in your mouth.

8. Flying Saucer Draught Emporium - This might not be a popular choice, but I love its Mojo wings. They have good Cajun flavor in the cayenne seasoning that is quite spicy. Its Frank's RedHot Sauce-laden Buffalo Wings are okay, but couldn't get the Saucer on this list by themselves. By the way, the Asian and Atomic (which implies super hotness but it's not) wings are pretty good, too. In addition to the wings, the combination veggie sides (lettuce, celery and carrots) are a healthy alternative to French fries.
Others, while not the best, are worth mentioning:
Hooters - I have to admit that my opinion of its wings is lukewarm (no pun intended). However, the restaurant uses sauces that are unique, so kudos for that.

Roxie's Grocery - Its wings are unique because of the seasoning and spices that makes them distinctive. Definitely not typical.
Now that I established what I like and expect in hot wings, I'll explain my thoughts about Ching's. The Mild Hot wings had the typical heat of most in this category. In terms of taste, the spiciness was about the same as places like Crumpy's and Don Don's. The one difference that I sensed was the salt content seemed slightly lower, but overall the taste was about average. The Mild Hot wings, while good, aren’t quite worth traveling across town to get.
While I wasn't overly impressed with the Mild Hot wings, I liked Ching's Honey Hot wings. The wings have a balanced taste, with just enough honey flavor to stimulate the senses while not drowning out the other spices. Speaking of the spices, they weren't that hot in my opinion. Of course, the reason for it might have been that I ate them after finishing the Mild Hot wings. Despite having a more favorable impression of the Honey Hot wings, I will try this dish at other restaurants before declaring Ching's as the ultimate master of it.

When I ordered my wings at Ching's, I got them as whole wings, the standard at most places. I didn't notice that I could have ordered them as "party wings," a term for drummies and flappers. Even though I would've preferred "party wings," I was satisfied with the whole wings that broke apart easily. I wish more places (other than chain restaurants) offered the "party wing" option. Given where many wing joints in Memphis are located (in the "hood"), keeping costs down takes precedence over convenience.
To sum it up, my experience at Ching's wasn't exactly mind blowing. The wings were good, but not as exceptional as described in the reviews I've read. The restaurant staff was very friendly and swift in getting my order to me. This is a place that I'll probably visit again if I'm in that part of town, but it's not worth making a special visit.
Now that I've reviewed Ching's, I'm sure some people (particularly Ching's fans) will have a lot to say about this post. I'll admit, I'm not a wings expert and don't proclaim to be. However, in my 45 years of living, I've had a lot a of hot wings. Still, I'm not right about everything and I don't mind being enlightened. Unlike some blogs, I welcome comments about anything I post as long as it pertains to the subject. For those looking for first class journalistic quality, this isn't the place to find it. I'm just a guy with a passion for food who's willing to share it with others. My opinions may not always be mainstream, but I call it as I see it and Ching's is no exception.


Ching's Hot Wings on Urbanspoon

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