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Wings Gone Mild: Searching for the Chicken Wing Ideal at Wingtopia
By | Photos Brandon McGhee Jan 7, 2019 Dining
Wingtopia, an aspiring chain of chicken wing joints, has planted its first flag in the Mixpace complex at the end of Yuyuan Lu. The owner, an entrepreneur and self-described wing enthusiast from the States, takes inspiration from American chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, trading the the bro-y sports bar vibe for something more palatable to local sensibilities. Think: astronaut motifs on the walls, Mandopop on the speakers, and, instead of NFL games, episodes of the YouTube food and interview series Hot Ones.

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The menu centers on wings, tenders, and drumsticks in a choice of nine sauces or seasonings. Puzzlingly absent is anything with the word "Buffalo" in it. The closest you'll find to that is "Nashville Hot". This brown sugar and cayenne-based sauce is one of the better options on the menu, but if you like palate-punishing heat, you may be disappointed. I'm told they serve an off-menu option made with ghost chilies, though. So maybe ask for that.

Other choices steer well clear of the Scoville scale, but there are still some crowd pleasers, like Atlanta-style "Lemon Pepper". They also do a "Sweet & Sour" reminiscent of sweet Thai chili sauce and a standard "Honey Mustard" as well as some not-so-standards, like "Green Curry". Pro-tip: opt for the wings over the tenders. As a rule: dark meat > white meat.

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Venturing out of wing territory, you can go exotic with fried chicken gizzards or hearts. Also, for children (or grown-up adults who don't like food) there are chicken nuggets. You can get a side of fries with all of this too—sweet potato or waffle, both are decent.

Does this place totally live up to its utopian aspirations of deep-fried chicken? Perhaps not yet, but in a city where the only other American wing specialist is Hooters, Wingtopia is a welcome addition.

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Wingtopia, B/F, The Mixpace, 1398 Yuyuan Lu, near Kaixuan Lu.

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