Ever wish egg rolls were more than appetizers? The Hmong people, originally of China, certainly did. It’s time to forget the deep-fried shells you’ve seen in countless takeout boxes—next-level egg rolls use an entire chicken wing.
This may sound less involved than properly folding a traditional egg roll, but it isn’t. Though Hmong and Southeast Asian women make the art of deboning a chicken wing look easy, it’s the kind of muscle memory that comes from years of preparing this homestyle favorite for a whole family. While keeping the drumette attached, without puncturing the skin, they stuff each pocket with the contents of a Hmong, Vietnamese, or Thai egg roll.
Inside, variations of ground pork, diced vegetables, bean thread noodles, cilantro, fish sauce, and egg meld together. On the side, a dipping sauce called nuoc cham, made from fish sauce, lime juice, chile, and sugar, provides a savory, tangy pop of flavor. Hmong immigrants all over the world—particularly in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin—make these gastropub-worthy wings.
Wait, stuffing pork inside chicken? Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. Think of Hmong stuffed chicken wings as a modern introduction to the ancient practice boodog, also known as authentic Mongolian barbecue. Steppe-dwelling horse nomads have already proven that cooking meat inside meat is a great idea, but if you’re not ready to blowtorch an entire carcass, deboning and stuffing a chicken wing is a good place to start.
Need to Know
If you'd like to try your hand at stuffing chicken wings at home, buy a bunch and practice. Eventually, you'll perfect the amount of pressure needed to snap the joints without puncturing the skin. Any casualties of deboning practice can be chopped up and added to the filling.
Where to Try It
A casual eatery known for its Hmong stuffed chicken wings.