Try anything once and don’t shirk away from anything incendiary / funky-smelling / weird-looking till you’ve actually tried it.
That’s been my motto for Lord-only-knows how many years. In the process of sampling numerous foods over nearly three decades, my parents made sure that I didn’t turn my nose up at anything unfamiliar – and to give second chances to foods I didn’t particularly like as a kid.
Buffalo wings are among those I have to give a second chance to. I was in college when I first tried them and was more than a little traumatized at the red pepper sauce used to coat them – Lord, but that was fiery! And, no: it did not help that my pale pilsen-swilling friends were gulping down alcohol to help tone down the heat. (Trust me: it doesn’t help at all!)
But, as I’ve said, let’s give the little devils a second chance. So, when I was at Teriyaki Boy recently and saw that they had three kinds of tori karaage (Japanese-style batter-fried chicken), I decided to pluck up my guts and go for the kill with the Buffalo tori karaage.
P 185.00 gets you a solo serve of four hefty chicken thigh fillets rather than wings; this is a plus for me since I’m a dark meat sort of girl. These are dunked in tempura batter and fried till deliciously crunchy with a somewhat brittle, utterly moreish crust. Then the thighs are doused with red pepper sauce and served up with nori-sprinkled chips and a small bowl of Ranch dressing.
The spiciness of the chicken is, to be brutally honest at this point, nuclear – it virtually sears your lips and leaves a fire burning in your mouth. But the sauce is tangy – almost lemony rather than tomato-ish – and goes so well with the savory flavor of the fowl that you’ll just go at it, bite after meaty bite. Of course, the chips and the dressing are there to tone things down if you’re squeamish, but they’re really just a prelude to the explosive main event.
Yakimeshi – Japanese fried rice – is optional, but it does help bank down the heat.
Just a bit, of course. :p