In 2014, Haitai-Calbee released honey-butter flavored potato chips in South Korea. They expected nothing out of it—the limited flavor was met with ambivalence in Japan two years prior.
But in South Korea, the sweet-salty treat became an instant sensation. Honey butter chips sold out everywhere—groceries and convenience stores had waitlists, while online sellers sold their precious chips for three times the original price. Demand was so high, Haitai-Calbee launched an app just to alert people of freshly-stocked honey butter chips.
Honey butter mania has come and gone, but don't dismiss the flavor pairing as an overrated trend. The sweet-salty combo works magic on savory applications (let McDonald's popular honey butter Shake Shake Fries tell you!). These double-fried chicken wings, tossed in a sticky homemade honey-butter sauce, were inevitable.
Honey Butter Sauce
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup honey
- 5 cloves garlic, minced roughly
- 1 kg chicken wings, cut at the joint
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- neutral oil, for frying
- ¼ cup minced scallions
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
Make Honey Butter Sauce
Make sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, aromatic, and starting to brown. Remove garlic by passing butter through a sieve or fine-mesh strainer. Add honey to the butter and stir carefully to combine. Set aside.
Fry Chicken Wings
Prepare for frying: Fill a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with neutral oil until two inches deep. Heat over medium until an instant-read thermometer registers 325°F.
Dredge chicken wings: While waiting for your oil to heat up, pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Add cornstarch to a wide dish or baking tray, then season with salt. Dredge chicken wings until evenly coated, shaking off any excess. Set aside.
Fry wings: Working in batches, carefully lower chicken wings into the hot oil. Fry wings until pale golden, 6–7 minutes. Transfer to a metal rack over a tray.
Double-fry wings: Increase frying oil temperature to 350°F. Once oil is hot, add chicken wings back and fry them further for 3–4 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer fried wings to a metal rack and let cool, at least 3 minutes.
Toss chicken wings: Add fried and cooled chicken wings to a mixing bowl. Drizzle honey butter mixture all over the chicken. Toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving plate or low bowl, garnish with minced scallions and sesame seeds, and serve immediately.