Before I moved to Portland, I never ordered chicken wings at a Thai restaurant. Here, wings grace many a Southeast Asian menu—clearly, this city is onto something. The wings at PaaDee go by Peek Gai Tod ($6) on the snack menu, and they're the ideal combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and crunchy. They're different than the famous Fish Sauce Wings at Pok Pok, but just as delicious, proving that Ricker's chicken isn't the only bird in town.
The wings are marinated in Sriracha-fish sauce, garlic, sugar, cilantro, and sliced red peppers before being fried. The sauce is made in-house and explains why there's a bit of sweet, salty, spicy, umami kick in every mouthful. But the real key to these wings is the crunch. They aren't heavy or soggy, despite being fried. They're light and crispy with the perfect amount of bite. The secret lies in the breading—instead of using traditional flour, Paadee coats their wings in tapioca flour before deep frying them, meaning that yes, these wings are gluten-free.