So there's this cheap (?northern) Chinese restaurant nestled amongst a group Asian eateries on Russell St. It'd fall into that category of a (largely) unmemorable late night eating joint - the kind you somehow wind up in after a night of drinking, had it not been for their notoriously crazy hot, chicken wings. If you're a Melbournian, you'd know that I'm referring to the (aptly) named Crazy Wings.
It's one of those things that people (and depending on who you speak to,) refer to as an experience/challenge/torture/part of an initiation process. As an avid lover of spice, I was intrigued, but had never gotten around to trying it until today.
So while we had time prior to C.'s appointment at a bridal store in the city, I suggested that we gave Crazy Wings a go.
In the centre of every table is a small wooden tray. They're used to essentially balance the chicken wings which are on wooden skewers, although I'm unsure how this differs from having the wings on plates.
The wings themselves look innocuous enough. C. took one small bite and immediately turned red. She initially had opted to just stick with water, but quickly changed her mind and asked for a bottle of cold soy milk.
"Omg, these are really hot," C. said.
"Don't die," I replied, slightly panicked. "You've still got your wedding dress appointment at 2."
I fair a bit better and get through the first wing, and then start to feel the heat kick in when chewing through the second wing. I really start sweatng about two thirds of the way through and empty my entire can of herbal Chinese tea. Believe me, these wings are not for the faint hearted. As a comparison, Nando's extra-hot peri peri sauce - (not really hot in my opinion,) is in liking to eating mayonnaise. I asked C. for her opinion on crazy wings vs buffalo wings, and she said the latter cannot compete in the crazy level of hotness that are these well, crazy wings.
"Wow, you're pretty good," C said as I polished off the last of my wings. She attempted another bite out of her wing, and then had to leave the rest uneaten.
I'm pretty chuffed at my efforts, but then my mouth and the tip of my nose goes strangely numb. I'm officially on fire and drink about half a jug of water. I'm having an experience that is synonymous to Homer Simpsons' when he swallowed that crazy hot jalenpeno and started hallucinating.
We order a few more things to try - beancurd skins wrapped in coriander, lamb skewers and honey chilli chicken wings. The wings are succulent and if you like your food seasoned with cumin, you'd certainly find the food acceptable for what it is. As per any Asian place, don't expect any world class table service. I personally thought they were responsive enough - but then, maybe it's because we spoken to them in Mandarin.
My advice would be to avoid using their toilets - I had to use them after drinking about a litre of water in that one sitting, and they weren't particularly clean.
I feel like my stomach is wringing itself from the heat of the wings and continue to experience pangs of intermittnet burning pain in my abdomen some six hours later after the event. I attempted to rectify this with a glass of cold milk and again, with more cereal some 12 hours later.
Crazy wings are for crazy people.
Dare to try? Crazy Wings are located on 177 Russell St, Melbourne CBD. Just don't sue me if burns a hole through your stomach.