There aren’t many restaurants that get a swooning rave review from me. But Wingstop just managed to join a very exclusive club. Wingstop just opened in Alabang Town Center. It’s where Hossein used to be, right beside Fully Booked, near Makati Supermarket and across Jamba Juice and Krispy Kreme.
This is, simply put, the best place to eat chicken. Period.
You will spend around 200 per head for a good meal, 300-400 for a lavish one. But you will come away smiling, and full. And maybe have a doggie bag to take home, the servings and value are pretty good.
When you enter there restaurant, you’ll be greeted by six huge green drums, which are just cutouts that look like sauce barrels where they keep their secret sauce. You’ll then notice the very industrial design of the interiors, which reminds me a lot of Army Navy. Even their plates and bowls are solid metal, like what the soldiers in the good old US of A used for eating when they were down in the trenches in the Vietnam War.
However, even though it has a very industrial look to it, they make use of a lot of wooden grains to get the place to come alive, resulting in a warm touch. An especially nice trick is how they used the bamboo landscaping of the Town Center to highlight the look of the place using a big glass panel on the second floor.
A neat accent they use to make an already great design stand out even more is the light bulbs — big glass bulbs with filaments that glow with an eerie orange light. I caught myself constantly staring at the light bulbs while I was eating.
But hey, this is a food blog and not an interior design blog, right? I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. The place was just so mesmerizing that my inner designer just leapt out. So the restaurant gets a huge thumbs up for the look. But how about the food?
Well you already knew this from my first sentence, but the food is amazing.
You order at the counter and pay up front, as you would in any fast food. They accept credit cards, and you should expect to spend around 300 per head, a little more with drinks in the equation. They have pitchers of water and glasses for you to use if you don’t like ordering drinks, but the water tastes like tap water and wasn’t very delicious.
For today’s outing, I ordered some boneless bites, because even though this place specializes in wings, I don’t like eating chicken with bones and avoid it if possible, because it’s a pain to eat. However, they offer plastic gloves so you can eat with your hands and get all the good parts, in case you don’t like getting your hands dirty. It works surprisingly well and I saw a lot of people eat in this fashion.
I also ordered some fries to try it out. I was hovering between fries and onion rings, but fries won out this time.
To round it off I got a rice bowl as well. After you pay, they give you a hockey puck that lights up when your order is ready. It took around 13 minutes for our order to get ready.
For fries I got the Louisiana Rub Fries, which is a semi-spicy barbecue variant.
It cost 125 bucks, which is median in the fries range. The serving though is much larger than say what you get from Potato Corner for 99 bucks. In terms of taste, it’s good. However I got tired eating it. The fries was very starchy, and the wedges were cut pretty thick for fries, so you don’t get that high a flavor vs. starchy potato ratio.
Still, it was delicious and the fries was freshly done and fried to a perfect crisp. It was very enjoyable. However, I felt that it needed some kind of dip to be enjoyed. This is going to be a recurring theme with the chicken nugget bites, but I’ll get back to that later.
I feel like the fries was incomplete; as is it’s hard to finish because the serving is huge and the flavor kinda starchy outside of the excellent spiced barbecue taste. However, if it had some kind of dip to go with it, it would have been perfect. I just realized looking at their menu that they serve dips on the side for an extra 45 bucks. I will try that next time.
I strongly recommend ordering some dip to go with your sides.
Next is the chicken — the boneless bites. I got ten pieces, and when you order ten you can get two flavors. Now, I am assuming that there is little difference between the actual chicken taste of the bites (nuggets), the tenders (slivers of chicken), and the wings (whether Asian or Classic) as they use the same flavors. Not all flavors are available for all variants, so I wasn’t able to try the Atomic (spiciest) but that may have been for the better.
For this round with the boneless nuggets I got Mango Habanero and Garlic Parmesan.
Well what can I say! The Mango Habanero was the interesting flavor. It’s the orangey sauce-dipped variant there in the middle. However, it wasn’t very good. There is a sweet, tarty mango taste to it on first bite, but afterwards you can just taste the tabasco sauce coming up. It’s supposed to be their second spiciest flavor, right next to Atomic, however the way they achieve that spice is through just dropping some tabasco sauce in the mix. It’s not very inspired and honestly doesn’t taste that good. I give this flavor a thumbs down.
However, the Garlic Parmesan more than makes up for it. On my first bite the parmesan taste exploded in my mouth! I don’t know how else to describe it! I was taken aback, surprised at the strongest parmesan flavor I had ever tasted in my life. What kind of parmesan did they use in this?! Even Pazzo Rolio’s delightfully cheesy dishes didn’t have this much parmesan flavor packed into one bite. One bite turned into, two, three. Oops. No more Parmesan bites. *Sad*
I will order more of these next time. The crunchiness off it, with the thick but deliciously tender and crisp flour coating was just so wonderfully flavored with a godly parmesan flavor and a garlic undertone, with just the right amount of saltiness and a twinge of black pepper, just made me melt inside. This was the Parmesan Nugget that had been calling for me since birth. It was amazing. Words cannot express how happy I am to eat it. I am now complete. I can die content.
That said… these Parmesan Garlic Nuggets would probably have tasted better with some dip. It’s a very dry variant, no sauce or fats or oils to give it that little something special. I would recommend eating it with a fat-laden dip to make it perfect.
But wait! There’s more. The final touch of the afternoon was this very delicious rice bowl.
I remember last month I was so happy to discover Recovery Food and its delicious rice bowls, like the Porkqua Curry. Those bowls cost around 180 bucks.
Well. Guess what. Now that I’ve eaten at Wingstop, I’m never eating at Recovery Food again. I don’t see the need to. Recovery Food did a great job with its Japanese-Filipino Donburi Fusion which came up with some interesting flavors that were definitley Donburi. Why, even 7-Eleven had two great donburi bowls on the cheap that were really spectacular.
But I can’t think of any donburi bowl at 180 bucks that I’d rather eat than this delicious Korean Soy Rice Bowl.
You have four choices to eat — the Korean Soy, the Spicy Soy, Honey Garlic and Honey BBQ. I opted for the first, and am ecstatic with that choice. This bowl is really, really good.
The crispness of the coating is incredible, but it is infused with a ridiculously good and tasty, flavorful sweet barbecue-ish soy sauce that reminds me of the really, really good Pepper Lunch soy garlic sauce. Mixed with tender, juicy chicken and the awesome rice — all flavors come with Chipotle Rice — which is subtly sweet and spicy, soft and fluffy, it’s just very good rice and goes great with the chicken and its sweet dashi.
After having this great bowl of breaded chicken, I can’t see myself ever eating at Recovery Food again. The bowl here is just better. That much better. At the same price. It’s like Yushoken great. I hardly ever eat at other Ramen joints because there’s no point — Yushoken/Mendokoro is just so much superior to everything else that I only eat at other joints to taste the flavors and variety, but the place I eat at over and over is always Yushoken. It may just be the same with this bowl of happiness.
If I’m in Town, I can’t see myself ever going back to Bon Chon. Their chicken is simply not this good. And the price is almost comparable. Kentucky Fried Chicken? I never thought I’d see the day that I’d forsake KFC, but with their quality issues and the value of the chicken bowl here, I would go to Wingstop every single time I had the choice.
I foresee myself gaining 20 pounds in the near future.
Wingstop is that great. I am going back here to try their other dishes in the near future, and their dips. It also seems to me that Wingstop’s best flavors are probably their non-spicy flavors. I can’t be sure, but I tried three of their flavors today — Korean Soy, Mango Habanero and Garlic Parmesan — and what in noticed was that the two non-spicy flavors (Korean Soy and Garlic Parmesan) had very rich, deep flavors that made the most of their ingredients.
On the other hand, the Mango Habanero was disappointingly flat, with only a very slight mango taste and just a load of tabasco sauce. It seems like when they focus on spicy, they don’t try to create a rich flavor like Yushoken’s tantanmen, but instead just pile on the tabasco.
It may be too early for me to just rave about Wingstop, having just eaten here once, but once was enough for me to see its greatness. I will be back to confirm just how great Wingstop really is, I reckon I will be taste-testing every single dish in the near future. It’s just that good. I am dreaming of the Ricebowl already. I’ll be back Wingstop. Promise.