If you can’t go to Vietnam, bring Vietnamese cuisine to you! While overseas travel is virtually on hold because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy food from other countries from the comfort of your own home.
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Madame Vo, a modern Vietnamese restaurant in New York City’s East Village neighborhood, counts Sarah Jessica Parker, Calvin Klein and designer Philip Lim as some of its famous fans. The eatery was founded by husband-and-wife owners Yen Vo and chef Jimmy Ly, and Us Weekly tracked down the recipe for its popular fish sauce chicken wings. The flavorful, yet easy-to-prepare dish just so happens to be one of 55-year-old Parker’s favorite menu items.
“Growing up in New York City, it was always hard to find restaurants offering the Vietnamese flavors we had at home,” Ly told Us. “I would travel to Houston, L.A., or even Philadelphia for good Vietnamese food. Our entire concept was just to serve recipes we grew up with, with the same bold flavors we grew up with.”
Vo added: “What we wanted to showcase was the southern Vietnamese style of cooking with big flavors, spice, and lots of garnishes and sauces. It was also about offering a different kind of Vietnamese restaurant — a place you could come on a Friday night and have drinks. We’re inspired by restaurants in Vietnam that are also younger and cooler.”
The duo, who also own nearby Madame Vo BBQ, explained that much of Madame Vo’s menu is made up of family recipes. “Adding the short rib to our pho comes from my mom,” Vo said. “She used to make it that way for me because I loved the meat. The fried rice recipe came from Jimmy’s mom and the wings are my dad’s. It’s all our favorite stuff that we ate growing up. We want to make sure that if people only tried one thing on the menu, it would impress them and make them fall in love with Vietnamese food.”
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When it comes to menu recommendations, the fish sauce wings are a clear celebrity favorite, but they’re far from the only star on the eclectic menu. “You can’t go wrong with egg rolls or spring rolls and a bowl of pho. That’s probably the most popular combination for one person,” Ly told Us. “There’s a lot at both restaurants that’s good for sharing — Vietnamese food is always good for family-style because that’s how we eat at home.”
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Get the chicken wing recipe below!
Fish Sauce Chicken Wings From Madame Vo
Makes 1 serving
• 6 Chicken wings
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste (optional)
• Vegetable oil (amount depends on the size of the pot)
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 4 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 tbsp Sriracha (optional)
- Gather the wings in a bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add some garlic powder or grated garlic. Don’t add much salt, as you will add more fish sauce later. Give the wings a good toss to combine and set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan or a wok, making sure there’s enough oil to cover the wings (the amount dependent on the pot size), otherwise it could splash.
- To test the temperature, insert a chopstick into the oil. When you see bubbles appear around the chopstick, reduce the heat to low.
- Gently drop the wings in the pan and deep-fry them until they’re golden brown. Then, remove them and let them rest on a rack to drain off the excess oil.
- In a large wok, heat about two tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the sugar, fish sauce and Sriracha.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce until you have a thick and sticky sauce.
- Transfer the wings to a serving plate and top with the sauce. Serve the sauce with rice or as a drinking snack.
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