Thursday, October 1, 2009

$10: Tebaya Fried Chicken Wings (from Nagoya with love)


I borrowed this shot from Michael G on Yelp because I ate mine too fast.

UPDATE 4/22/13: According to a reviewer, this restaurant appears to have moved to 181 W. 4th Street (b/w 6th and 7th Ave)

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I'm off to Japan, for the first time in my life.  (UPDATE: Here's what it was like).

It will be my first visit ever visit. I confess I've been getting stuck into these addictive fried chicken wings from a little hole in the wall around the corner called Tebaya. I've eaten them THRICE in the same week, I'm ashamed to say, because I supposedly don't eat MEAT and FAT and SALT in such quantities. What's happening to me? And how can they make the middle part of a chicken wing taste so amazing? This is how. The process, called teba, involves marination then double frying - once to remove the fat but leave the collagen, then once again to crisp what's left, then sprinkled with sesame seeds. The result is incredibly tasty, and not as greasy as you would imagine.

I end up sitting there, in the window where everyone can see me, gnawing the ends off almost the entire bone. Like when I was a kid, dad would make honey soy chicken wings in a big pot of black spattering oil and we'd sit around like lions attacking a carcass after Ramadan. There's a lunch special, 8 wings, with salad and drink, for $6.95. One their own, the wings are slightly less cheap'n'choosy, because 8 pieces are about $7 and 13 are about $9. You only get the middle part of the wing, mind you. Not the drumstick or the flappy part. Just the bit in the middle with the equivalent of the human ulna and radius in it.

I remember visiting Italy many years ago, eating ostensibly simply pasta with a marinara sauce, made from vine ripened tomatoes, bush ripened basil, ground ripened garlic and good olive oil. When I returned, I ate that same meal for weeks after. Who else has done that, like prolonging the trip?

Food is so comforting, so satisfying. Never underetimate the power of a perfect ripe fig, a slice of sweet peach. You don't need drugs or therapy or alcohol or television shopping, really. You just need to eat something that comes in it's own packaging with minimal intervention.

OK, there IS some intervention with these chicken wings. That's the only exception to the rule I'll make today.

Tebaya, 144 W19th St NY (between 6th and 7th Ave), 10011
Phone 212 924 3335


Free Delivery - since the wings are hotter'n'hell when they first come out of the fryer, there's chance they'll still be hot when they get to your pied-a-terre...

UPDATE:  I got to try them in Nagoya thanks to Richard and Haruyo Gregg, but I have to say, the NY export at Tebaya NYC was better! Check out my Nagoya shots

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