All-You-Can-Eat Korean Fried Chicken Wings at Damso on Bute

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Bute near Robson started this “All-You-Can-Eat Korean Fried Chicken Wings Happy Hour Special” back in mid-July but I only noticed the sign for it this week. I took on the challenge… Last time I was here, I had some so-so Korean-style ramen and haven’t been back since. But it’s so close to my work and I think I can eat $11 worth of wings in one sitting! So I winged it.

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Here’s the deets!

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Of course there are rules… The big one is that you must order a beverage. But you can even just order a tea for $2 if you wanna be cheapie about it. They offer three flavours of wings, which was a nice surprise. If you wanna bro it up, you can go for the “Suiside Spicy”.

I was there a little past 5:00pm on a Thursday, and out of the four tables occupied at that time, I was the only person eating this chicken wing special. I thought more people would take advantage, cuz where else in town has all-you-can-eat wings?

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Beer list has improved a tiny bit since last November. They’ve got the El Bulli beer (Estrella Damm Inedit). And speaking of El Bulli…

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They’ve got a couple bookshelves full of top-notch cookbooks! But there’s a sign saying that the staff need to assist you if you wanna look at them.

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I find the stuff in between the recipes to be my favourite part of reading cookbooks. I liked Edward Lee’s “Smoke & Pickles”. Basically any book by an Asian chef trying to explore his or her roots would be of great interest to me 🙂

While the selection of cookbooks here is impressive, I’ve wondered why there hasn’t been a bit more attention paid to the flavours in their food. The ramen I had last time I was here suffered from flavours that were too mild and needed cranking up.

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Parallel 49 Jerkface 9000 “North West Wheat” (5% ABV). Basically a hopped-up American wheat beer, big on the Mosaic hop front. I’m cooling a bit on the Mosaic hops — they can get a bit too punchy and tropical, almost cartoony like the label art. But I don’t mind ordering one if there’s nothing else I’m interested in. Probably one of my more favourite Parallel 49 beers, actually.

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First plate! One dozen YangNyum flavour Korean fried chicken wings. Menu says these are “sweet and spicy” and that’s what it is. It’s the typical sweet ‘n spicy kochujang flavour that you’d be familiar with if you like sauced Korean fried chicken. Just a little tickle of spiciness, but otherwise balanced and tasty. Not too sweet. Arrived piping hot, as you can see from the vapour.

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These aren’t gonna win any awards for invincibly crunchy batter that stays crunchy even when sauced, but it was crunchy in parts and very juicy, which I found to be quite enjoyable. Size of the wings is ok too.

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They gave me a big metal bowl for putting the bones into, as you can see in the background.

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The slight let-down for me was the chicken meat itself, which was somehow watery and bland. So all of the flavour was in the sauce. FYI, I wasn’t worried about that tiny pinkish spot you see near the bone. I’d much rather my meat be juicy rather than dried-out and cooked to hell.

Eating wings isn’t the prettiest thing to do. I feel sorry for the people across from me that had to witness me tear and slurp every bit of meat and gristle from the bones. Actually, I think they didn’t mind nor paid any attention because this one girl in front of me did 90% of the talking at her table of three. I don’t know how she found the time to actually put food in her mouth. I also loved hearing that universal Korean sound of disgust that sounds like you’re gonna hock a loogie but without the “ptoooo” at the end.

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Second plate! Kyochon Style wings (sweet soy sauce and garlic). The frying on this batch was much crunchier. It might also have to do with the sauce too because these weren’t drenched in sauce so the batter stayed more crispy.

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Plenty of fresh, raw (or barely cooked) garlic. The soy sauce was quite sweet. Almost too sweet for me but not quite. The meat in this batch of wings didn’t seem as watery or bland as the previous batch. Maybe it was the stronger sauce (the wings sitting at the bottom were almost too strong) or maybe I just got used to the meat. Or maybe it was because of the cold sweat that started breaking out around wing number 16… I don’t think I’d be able to attempt a third plate…

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Two dozen wings finished! For $11 this is a pretty good deal, and the wings themselves are not bad. I preferred the kochujang-based YangNyum flavour over the garlic soy sauce one, and if they could combine the crunchiness of my second plate with the flavours of the first plate, these would be a great wings. This time, they were merely good.

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My all-time favourite Korean-style fried chicken is still Yum Yum BBQ in Calgary. Superlative chicken. You can read about it here.


 

Bonus dry-heave: This is what I saw in the washroom on my way out…

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They’re gonna try and reuse that dirty water??

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