After trying the much-hyped Vietnamese fried fish sauce wings at Pok Pok - Portland - Oregon, I knew I could re-create a similar version at home, but tone down the amount of fish sauce used. The first few wings I ate at Pok Pok were pretty good, but then the saltiness of the fish sauce became really apparent as I kept eating. The Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Stuff ie. Carrots and Daikon) that were served with the wings were supposed to balance out the saltiness and spiciness, but I didn't find the wings very spicy, just very, very salty. Anyway, the good thing about making this at home is that you can adjust the fish sauce and chile peppers to your liking.
Pok Pok's wings are addictive because of the double marination, before and after frying. I marinated the wings in fish sauce, salt, sugar, and garlic. I used mostly the same ingredients, but added vinegar and chile peppers, like I would with Nuoc Mam Cham Ngot (Vietnamese Sweetened Fish Dipping Sauce) and simmered it on the stove top to thicken. The wings were only lightly battered, so I used a combination of rice and tapioca flours, and only one coating before frying. If you want to eat low-carb, you can skip the coating and just fry the wings after marination if you wish. Then the wings were tossed in the sweetened fish dipping sauce afterward.
I served up my version at Christmas dinner with my siblings, and again later with friends, and they found them pretty addicting. But then, who can resist fried chicken wings that are crispy, salty, sweet, and spicy?