WingFest Round 1 Winners

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As new restaurants open up across Pyeongtaek, we are getting more and more places to chow down on our favorite foods. We now have the privilege of having a favorite place for burgers or burritos, instead of the ONLY place for a burger or burritos. Which is where the idea of WingFest 2018 was born. We are in love with having options decided to dig deeper into the wing-splosion that’s been happening in the area by gathering together a group of avid wing lovers to sample a cornucopia of wings. Originally we were going to do only 1 event, but after looking at the sheer number of wing options, we realized we would need to do 2 events to cover everyone and judge fairly.

So the first round of WingFest 2018 was held on February 27th at Jin Cafe (huge shout out to them for being amazing hosts. It can be hard to find a place for gatherings like this and they made us feel right at home). A mixed group of 16 Korean and American reviewers and 3 South of Seoul volunteers gathered together to review wings from:

  • Loft33 – Located in “The Ville” area of Anjeong-ri, Loft33 has been around for a number of years. They serve unique pub foods like the Jalapeño Ranch burger and Kimchi Fries. They offer a variety of wing flavors such as Buffalo, Extra Hot, Stupid Hot, BBQ, Hot BBQ, Salt & Pepper, Garlic Parm, Teriyaki, Honey Mustard, Lemon Pepper, and JB Sauce.
  • Wolfound Irish Pub – The newest kid in town, Wolfhound, opened up in Anjeong-ri only a few weeks ago. Their menu is classic Irish pub food like Fish & Chips and Irish Breakfast. They also have great wings. You have a choice of Mild Buffalo, Hot Buffalo, Salt & Pepper, BBQ, Honey Garlic, Carolina Mustard and Garlic Parmesan
  • Revolución – Not yet a year old, Revolución’s menu leans towards Cuban flavors with some fusion thrown in. Their menu is sophisticated and always changing. They serve a variety of wing flavors including Buffalo but like to try new things as well. They don’t serve Ranch but do have a homemade Blue Cheese for dipping.
  • Wings-n-Things – A few months old, this is Pyeongtaek’s only wing focused restaurant. Wings is what they do. They are taking it very seriously. You can order Buffalo, Fried, Honey BBQ, Special and Sweet/Spicy. You can also ask for Mambo sauce for dipping. It’s sweet and tangy. So good we forgo ketchup for the fries and just dip our them in Mambo sauce.

For the tasting we ordered Buffalo from each restaurant and then asked them to give us what they thought was their best/most unique sauce. The wing that – in their eyes- really stands out. We then organized the tasting into two categories; Buffalo and Specialty. Each tester was given a list of the 8 restaurants to be tested, but we did not tell them who we would be tasting during Round 1. They only knew we would try 4 of the 8 listed. We made every effort for this to be a completely blind test.

Each participant was asked to look at; juiciness of the meat, crispiness of the skin (which was hard to judge because of travel time), size of the wing, amount of sauce, and sauce quality/originality. They were also asked to judge based on facts not feelings. We wanted to just look at what each wing was. At this point we weren’t talking about who was best. We talked about our thoughts on each wing and different people shared what they like and didn’t like. It was a conversation and exploration.
Here is what we learned. First of all, no wing is the same. From size to sauce, each restaurant stands out on it’s own. This was honestly a shock. Since many of the restaurants have similar sauce lists and supply vendors are limited here, we expected more of uniform experience. Honestly though, everyone had a very unique take on what they were doing. In short, we realized that it’s truly worth it to go for wings at each place because you are always getting something unique.
We also learned that some people don’t like sweet, others want things more hot, some don’t like breading and others do. We can say that there wasn’t one wing we tried that was universally despised, but there were certainly wings that stood out from the rest. The winners in each category won with authority.  So who won? Well here it goes, the winners of Round 1 of South of Seoul’s WingFest 2018 were:
Best Buffalo Wings 
Best Ranch
Wolfhound’s Buffalo Wing and Ranch dressing were a perfect combo. The chicken was a nice size, there was a good amount of delicious sauce, and the Ranch was thick and full of herbs. In fact, their Ranch won unanimously. Their Parm wings came in second in the Specialty Wing category.

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Best Specialty Wing

The (appropriately named) Special Wings from Wings-n-Things won with authority taking home over half the votes. It tasted almost like a dry rub BBQ that went deep into the meat. One person even said it was like beef jerky. Honestly, this was an exceptional wing that made us all take note. There was a “wow” that went through the room. Wings-n-Things also had a strong set of votes for Best Buffalo.

Please note, that even though these two places stood out, the others were all greatly enjoyed. We want to draw attention to Revolución who breads their wings and plays with unique flavors like Korean plum. Truly unique wings that must be tried. Loft33 stood out because their wings were large and unclipped so they were quite filling and their sauces were easy to eat. A great set of standard wings you can eat often.

You can find all of these restaurants and many more in the South of Seoul app available for download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.