May 13, 2018

Swiss Chicken Wings 瑞士雞翼

chicken wings, tai ping koon, chinese, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼
By Published: 2018-05-13
Swiss Chicken Wings?  What a minute...what the bloggity jazz is Swiss food doing in a post about  Chinese food?!  Well actually this yummilicious dish is not from Switzerland nor is it related to any kind of Swiss food.  These darkly glazed, succulently sweet and savory Swiss Chicken Wings 瑞士雞翅,  are pure one hundred percent Chinese!  The name of the dish comes about from a classic case of translation gone wrong: many years ago a tourist found his way to a western style Chinese diner called Tai Ping Koon 太平館, famous for its fabulous east west fusion dishes, and ended up ordering their house special, sweet chicken wings.  Finding the chicken wings most delicious the tourist attempted to discover the name.  In classic translation comedy style, the waiter's Chinese accented "Sweet Chicken" sounded like "Swiss Chicken" to the tourist.  And thus the name and fame of the Swiss Chicken Wings was born.

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant 1927

This dish is rather like the Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken Wings but with a twist, the wings are sweeter and more aromatic with a gleaming sauce that clings to soy darkened wings.  A more sophisticated version of the regular ol' soy sauce wings, these wings take a bit more time to make but are super duper delicious and a great dinner party food.

chicken wings, tai ping koon, chinese, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼

We've recently been trying out air chilled chicken wings, which is meat that has been cooled down with chilled air instead of a water bath and we're so loving it!  No water coming in contact with the meat means no absorption of water and thus much more pure 100% chickeny flavor.  Air chilled chicken is more expensive than regular water chilled chicken to be sure but honestly...I think it's going to be hard to go back, it's just so much more tasty, the meat firm, tender and flavorful.

chicken wings, chinese, tai ping koon, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼
chicken wings, tai ping koon, chinese, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼

To make Swiss Chicken Wings, first the chicken wings are poached with a ginger and spring onions bath to counter any meat and blood smells.  Then the wings are plunged into a bath of ice cold water to firm up the skins.

chicken wings, tai ping koon, chinese, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼

The wings are then returned to a clean pot, this time with a marinating bath of soy sauce, oyster sauce, rock sugar and a touch of spices.  For spices we like to use star anise with just a touch of cinnamon bark and black cardamom.  Be sure to crush the cardamom a bit with the side of your knife before adding it in.  You can experiment with the spices to create your own unique blend.

chicken wings, tai ping koon, chinese, hong kong, recipe, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, soy sauce, red, 瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼

Then it is a matter of slow simmering until the chicken wings take on a burnished brown mahogany color and the glossy sauce thickens to cling gently to the wings.  Ahh...Sweet, Swiss chickeny perfection!  

chicken wings, chinese, hong kong, recipe, red, soy sauce, sweet, Swiss Chicken Wings, tai ping koon,  瑞士雞翅, 瑞士雞翼,

Swiss Chicken Wings Recipe  瑞士雞翅
Prep time:    Cook time:
18 chicken wings
5 slices ginger
1/2 cup spring onion, chopped to 2" pieces
1 cup water
1/2 cup light soy sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup rock sugar
3 star anise
1/2 piece cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom, crushed

In medium sized pot add enough water to cover wings.  Bring to a boil and then add in ginger, spring onion and let cook for 30 secs.  Add in chicken wings.  When water reboils cook for 3 mins, then remove chicken wings to an ice bath.  Let wings sit until completely cool then strain dry.

Clean pot and add 1 cup water, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, rock sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom and chicken wings.  Once boils, turn heat low to simmer for 15-20 mins with the lid off, turning the wings gently a few times to make sure all the sides color evenly.  The sauce should reduce as the wings cook until it is thick, glossy and clinging to the wings.  If the wings are ready but the sauce still not thick enough remove the wings on to serving plate then boil the sauce over high heat for a minute or two until reduced to a thick glossy consistency.  Pour over the wings and enjoy!

More Hong Kong Style Treats from The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese, steamed chicken, lotus leaf, tou tou koi, macau, recipeLotus Leaf Steamed Chicken 荷葉蒸雞

cantonese, hong kong, braised, chicken wings, chinese, potato, recipe, soy sauce, 土豆燒雞翅, 薯仔炆雞Chinese Drunken Chicken Wings 醉雞翅

braised, chicken, chinese, Four Flavors, recipe, Three Cups, william mark, 三杯, 唯靈, 四味, 雞Three Cups Four Flavors Chicken 三杯四味雞

Bang Bang, chicken, Chilled, chinese, mung bean sheets, recipe, salad, sesame, shredded chicken, sichuan pepper, 棒棒, 雞絲Bang Bang Chicken Salad 棒棒雞絲

Best, chicken, recipe, Sake, salted, Wings, 清酒, 雞翅, 鹽燒Salted Sake Chicken Wings 清酒鹽燒雞翅


  1. Not following the recipe proportions properly, I am now left with a large amount of the sauce mixture. What can I do with it? Thanks!

    1. Hey Winnie - I totally know how it is...just can't bear to waste all that lovely sauce! I had a look and think that your extra sauce could easily be used for our Chinese Red Cooked Pork and Wuxi Spareribs, just remember to add rice wine. ~ellen

  2. I cant find black cardomom in my area. Can I substitute with green cardomom?

    1. Hi Faye - Yes, you can sub with green cardomom, or a 50/50 mix of dried ginger and cinnamon. ~ellen

  3. I must be doing something wrong or have different taste but this came out with way too much sauce (more than double than necessary in my opinion) and very very salty.

    1. We've double checked on the recipe and adjusted the light sauce amount down slightly and upped the dark soy a bit to achieve a better balance. But even with the original soy sauce amount, it shouldn't have been that salty so I suspect that it might be that the soy sauce you used is a rather more salty type. Some soy sauce rely on flavor more than saltiness and other soy sauce rely more on saltiness over flavor. If you're using the second type, you'll need to be more careful with the light soy sauce amount.

      Regarding the amount of the sauce, it is necessary to immerse the wings enough to achieve the signature deep brown glossy finish. The leftover sauce is really yummy so we save it to mix with rice to make sauce infused rice.

  4. Swiss chicken wings are originally from Hong Kong (Not China).

  5. Hi HK - Yes, you're right, it is a HK dish, invented in the HK Tai Ping Koon restaurant. ~ellen