Wings to fly…

A long, long time ago, I loved the barbecued chicken wings at Simpang Tiga here. The guy who resembled that Malay singer, M. Nasir, called himself Raja Simpang Tiga. He would barbecue a whole lot of the chicken wings…

…starting at around 2-3.00 p.m. and at the same time, he would cook some other things he would be selling and make some nice Malay kuihs as well. At around 5.00 p.m. he would transport everything in his van to the pasar malam – he would run his business at a stall there every night.

My parents’ house was pretty close by, around 500 metres away and everytime I dropped by in the afternoon, I would be lured by the fragrance of the chicken wings cooking over the hot burning charcoal fire. Needless to say, I simply HAD to hop over and grab a few home for our dinner.

Word had it that he marinated the wings with gula apong , our local nipah palm sugar, and he was selling them at RM1.00 each at the time. Well, out of the blue, one fine day, my-sister-in-law mentioned that chicken wings marinated in gula apong were very nice. I did not manage to ask her further – my guess was she came across Raja Simpang Tiga at the pasar malam and got to enjoy his chicken wings…after all these years.

I kept telling my missus what she said and eventually, one fine day, she cooked some…

…herself using her air fryer. Don’t you think they looked absolutely gorgeous?

Yes, they were nice but no, they were nothing like the Simpang Tiga ones that would sweep me off my feet without fail everytime. For one thing, my missus used her air fryer which of course, is no match for barbecuing anything over a hot burning charcoal fire – you cannot hope to get that intense fragrance using an air fryer, I’m afraid.

Another thing is when these people barbecue anything, they will keep basking the meat in oil and sauces/marinades using a serai (lemon grass) stick. That will surely bring the taste of what they are cooking to a whole new level plus it will be gleaming and glistening, looking so very alluring…

Using an air fryer, you just throw everything in, press the buttons…and wait for the bells to ring before you can take it out. It is quite obvious that it will pale in comparison both in appearance as well as in taste.. At least, if you are using an oven, you can open it periodically to bask the meat regularly in oil and the marinades, not when you are using an air fryer.

Well, it was a good try, that I cannot deny. It was nice but no, it was not THAT nice. We can give it a try again and hopefully, it will turn out better next time. Of course, it is best not to do this and that to the recipe – whatever little you may add, e.g. a pinch of garlic, will change the taste and it will no longer be the same, that’s for sure.

In the meantime, it so happened that by sheer coincidence, I saw a Kuching friend’s post on Facebook. She said that upon her hubby’s request, she was cooking barbecued chicken wings with gula apong. That sure took me by surprise as I had not heard of anybody doing that before so I asked her about it. She said that she ran out of honey once and tried substituting it with gula apong and there had been no turning back since.

See!!! I am not the only one saying that it is very nice…

…Go ahead and give it a try! I assure you that you will not regret it.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

11 thoughts on “Wings to fly…”

  1. Of course chicken wings cooked over hot burning charcoal fire taste better than those done using air fryer that is for sure. Having said that, it is best to avoid eating too much of barbecued stuff. I never knew they use gula apong to marinate the wings and they look alluring after barbecued. Can’t resist temptation looking at it.

  2. Of course you can open the air fryer anytime to check on the food. Mine has a ‘turn food’ bell to remind you to well, turn the food/ wings for even browning.

    1. Oh? I didn’t know that. Never used, just saw everything in a paper tray placed inside, press the button and the whirring starts…until the bell rings. Done! Would be good to be able to turn without having to do it manually.

  3. Yes, your missus chicken wings looked good. Using air fryer?? I must give it a try. Did try once using chicken wing.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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