Pok Pok Chicken Wings

Pok Pok was a famous Thai restaurant in Portland by Chef Andy Ricker. I used to be lucky enough to live down the street from this place, and I remember the chicken wings like it was yesterday. It’s sad that this Michelin star and James Beard award winning restaurant closed during the pandemic, but its chicken-wing legacy lives on. 

What makes these wings so special is the tangy flavour of the chicken with layers of caramelized sweet chili sauce on the outside. It’s finished with fresh basil and cilantro for a delicious fresh touch. The recipe requires a bit of oven-watching. 

The idea is to bake the wings, then toss in sweet chile sauce, bake (or broil again) and then repeat the process a couple of times to make layers of caramelized, bubbling sweet and spicy flavours. This process might depend on your oven or your attention span. For example, if your broil function has a mind of its own you might want to opt for the baking option so you don’t burn/char the wings. Thai sweet chili has a lot of sugar in it, so it’s easy to take it too far if you’re not being attentive. 

Over time, you can make this recipe ‘your own’ by adding fresh ginger, more heat, more lime, less fish sauce, marinade time, etc. 

The quantities below are intentionally blank so you can vary depending on your spice tolerance and quantity/size of the chicken wings. You’ll want to go heavy on the chicken wings because no one can ever get enough Pok Pok chicken! You can also use chicken thighs and drumsticks for this recipe, just adjust your cooking time accordingly for bigger cuts of meat. Always cook dark meat chicken to at least 175-180 degrees and use a meat thermometer to double check if you’re not sure.

Pok Pok Chicken
Prep Time: 2 hours (including marinading) Cook Time: 60-75 minutes, depending on oven.


  • Chicken wings 
  • Lime juice (fresh if you have it) 
  • Fish sauce 
  • Thai Sweet Chili sauce 
  • Optional for spice lovers: Sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste available in local grocery stores)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Chopped fresh cilantro 
  • ¼ - ½ cup Chopped fresh basil 
1. Marinade the chicken wings in 50/50 mixture of lime juice and fish sauce. You need just enough liquid to cover the chicken wings. It will smell weird, but also delicious. Trust the process. You can marinade these overnight or just for a couple of hours. For 2 pounds of chicken wings, it would be about 2 cups each lime juice/fish sauce - or just enough to make sure the wings are covered. 

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put some parchment paper on a couple of baking sheets to save yourself some clean-up later. Lay the wings out (without overcrowding too much) for 25- 30 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through.

3. While the wings are cooking, get a big mixing bowl out and your Thai sweet chili sauce and sambal if you’re using it. 

4. Pull the wings from the oven and pour some of the Thai sweet chili sauce over the wings. Add the sambal according to your heat tolerance to the mixture. Toss the wings until they are nicely coated. 
Here, you have two options: bake or broil to finish (see note above).

Bake option: if you don’t have the attention span to keep an eye on your wings, simply put turn the oven up to 425° and bake the sweet-chili wings for another 5-10 minutes, until the sweet chili is bubbling (this might take longer depending on your oven). Pull the wings out, toss them in more Thai sweet chili/sambal sauce. Place back in the oven and repeat this process at least 1-2 more times, making sure that the sauce is getting hot enough to caramelize during its time in the hot oven. 

Broil option: Same as bake option, although it will take less time for the Thai sweet chili sauce to start bubbling. Repeat process (tossing wings in chili sauce and baking) 1-2 more times. I’d recommend placing the wings on the lower or middle oven rack. 

5. When your wings have a decent sticky, Caramelized coating on them, pull out of the oven. Right before you serve them, sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro and basil on top of the wings for a beautiful pop of colour.