National Buffalo Wing Festival Has International Flavor

Restaurants from Mexico, UK, Virgin Islands represented

Tom Puckett
August 30, 2019 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Sahlen Field will be filled with wing lovers Saturday and Sunday, as the 18th National Buffalo Wing Festival returns. There are some new elements and international flavor to the event paying tribute to Buffalo's most famous culinary creation.

For the first time, a vegetarian wing will be offered from Root and Bloom. The Wing King Drew Cerza says it's made from the jackfruit. "It's got a texture that's not chicken, but for a plant based eater, it's the perfect thing. The key is it's double fried and the sauce is great," says Cerza, who says more and more younger people are plant-based eaters. "You have to look at extendability so you make adjustments as you go along."

Cerza says another way the festival's adjusting is the out of towners' request for ranch dressing. It will be at WingFest for the first time. Cerza says even locally, ranch is being served. "I called the top 10 joints in Buffalo, ordered double wings and asked for ranch, they all said sure. You have to give it to the customer," explains Cerza.

Cerza says a sushi place from the St. Thomas Virgin Islands will bring its sauces to Buffalo, Buddha Sushi. Another is Wings Army from Mexico, making its third appearance. A new London entry is the Orange Buffalo. "London is having a chicken wing explosion. This is the third restaurant to visit," says Cerza.

Mike So owns the Orange Buffalo. "We make all our sauces from fresh chiles, and our original is the Woof Woof. The Woof Woof is Dutch chile, Naga chile and Asian spices that is a tweak to the traditional Buffalo sauce. It's like a party in your mouth," explains So. He says he's looking forward to see where stands against America's wing creators.

When it comes to blue cheese or ranch, So says at his restaurant, "Blue cheese all the way. Our blue cheese is a 19 ingredient blue cheese and we combat the cheesephobic types," says So. He did however admit to offering ranch at one of his three locations. The other two are blue cheese only.

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