Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Savory" Chicken Wings

Before any possible fallout over the title, let me explain.

It is not my gigantormous ego talking, daring to call these chicken wings "savory" when they may not be. I am not influencing your perception of my recipe for chicken wings, although you may indeed find, after testing the recipe yourself, that these are some mighty-savory, savory-to-the-max, chicken wings.

Furthermore, please note I don't have a gigantormous ego. My ego is very proportionate to the reality of myself. ;)

The name is an invocation of the chicken I had enjoyed ages and ages ago.

Growing up before the age of factory-farmed chicken, my favourite meat was, indeed, chicken. I would eat every part of it with gusto, even biting through the bones and sucking the oh-so-very-scrumptious marrow up so-very-undelicately. I must have looked like a dog instead of a little girl when I had chicken bones in my hands and marrow bits on my face.

There used to be a famous restaurant in Manila called "Savory Restaurant."

If memory serves me right, it was located on the right hand side of the street, just before what is now called the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch (aka "Goodwill Arch"), which marked the entrance to Manila's Chinatown (interestingly, the oldest Chinatown in the world).

I remember the restaurant's name was in big, red orange letters, the bold block font signalling its no-nonsense approach to food and the seriousness of its purpose.

Food will be savory, dang it!

Needless to say, the chicken was fabulously savory. Everytime my parents would bring home a box of Savory chicken, I would be the first to open the box and dig in with both hands. The overall flavour of the signature chicken dish, I would say, was similar to a Cantonese roast barbecued duck, but, of course, not exactly the same. The skin was not roasted to a crisp, but still rather soft, but the meat, the meat, oh my goodness, the meat! Juicy, delectable, lipsmackingly -- you guessed it -- SAVORY.

So, this is my attempt capturing the flavours I remember from those chicken of years past. I must say that the recipe I have here does not duplicate Savory's chicken, but it does succeed in evoking fond Savory memories. (I think I need to finetune and tinker with the recipe a bit more to get it "just right.")

At the very least, it is my own version of savory, so please enjoy.

To get into the mood, here are beautiful photos of Manila Chinatown, including shots of food/ingredients for sale.
The Goodwill Arch
Welcome Arch
More info about Manila Chinatown and Binondo.

I barely remember! [sigh]

Note: In the Philippines, that restaurant and its chicken are pronounced "sah-vo-ry". =)

Oh, I must mention, this is the ONLY time in recent memory that JS has actually WRITTEN DOWN the quantities for ingredients in a dish. Wow. Must be special. So, without further ado, the recipe.

JS' Savory Chicken Wings
1 tsp five-spice powder
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp ground coriander
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
juice of 1 lime

4 lbs chicken wings

Combine all ingredients together (except chicken) and whisk.
Pour over chicken wings and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cooking method can vary.
I baked them in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, then finished them off at the grill. Alternatively, these can bake for the 45 minutes, broiled at the end for a charred finish. Of course, you can also cook them totally on the grill.

We're submitting this into one of Joelen's July Culinary Adventures: GRILLED RECIPES.

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear


  1. They sound wonderful, "masarap"...gotta try it...salamat!

  2. just like peter said...masarap..but i'll probably eat mine with a some white rice hehehe :-)

  3. Ahhh I think u meant to say "SAVOURY". (Canadian eh?)

    I didn't think you girls are old enough to know about the Savory Chicken restaurant in Manila.

    There's a Fil restaurant in Gastown that claims to have the real Savory Chicken recipe. I haven't tried it myself.

  4. i'm sold, the marinade spells 100% SAVORY n YUMMY! Oh no, I so want to try this out, but my oven is kind of hopeless for baking (the heat's quite uneven). But I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe :P~

  5. These chicken wings do sound tasty!

  6. This looks great! I'm going to try it in the crockpot and let you know how it turns the photos.

  7. Our whole family loves chicken wings! Your pics indeed look savoury!

  8. Hee! I know all about that silly detail...
    "You know I haven't eaten at Savory."
    "It's not 'savory,' it's SAAHvory."
    "What the hell are you talking about?! That's not how you pronounce savory!!"
    Needless to say, I've not yet tasted this icon of 70's Manila. Do you think they fry it as well, a la cantonese chicken? Your recipe looks really good!!

  9. Ooh, I miss the chicken in Savory (SAH-vo-ry) restaurant.:)

    Thanks for the recipe, will try cooking them soon.

  10. I love chicken too! My family used to dub me the "chicken queen" because I could devour enormous amounts of chicken in one sitting. And this recipe sounds truly yummy! I'm going to have to try it soon.

  11. I'm not a big chicken fan, in fact I never order it restaurants, but, ah, every one in a while a recipe comes along that I do want to try and think my family and friends would enjoy. This is one of those recipes. Thanks! I'll let you know when I make it.

  12. YUMMM wings . Lovin it! I will take a whole platter please.

  13. dhanggit:
    Oh, of course. The white rice is a given. ;)

    Well, I know that there's Savory Chicken, and I vaguely remember what "type" of chicken it was in terms of looks, but I can't really remember what it tasted like.

    Which restaurant is it in Gastown? Really, the real recipe!?!

    Oh wow, do let us know re the crockpot method.

    I heard that they opened a new location in some famous(?)/new(?)/popular(?) mall. Tikman mo na!

    Haha, I don't think we order chicken in western restaurants. I guess because it seems more "common" to us since we eat it a lot at home.


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