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How Manchu – home of Virginia’s best chicken wing – landed in Richmond

Posted at 12:35 AM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-28 16:07:01-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The best chicken wing in Virginia has landed in Richmond. Marvin Nguyen, who owns Manchu on North Avenue, is winning the chicken wing game.

“I did not know chicken wings were in my future, because I used to be in an office job, behind cubicles and windows, but at home cooking was something I enjoyed,” Nguyen said when asked about his entree into the Richmond restaurant scene.

You could say slinging wings was in Nguyen’s blood.

He took his family super successful part Vietnamese, part Cajun chicken wing recipe from their home base in New Orleans and flew it north to Virginia when his family moved here.

Nguyen, who later attended VCU, knew Richmond would be the perfect place to expand his family’s wing empire.

“I chose Northside because it reminds me of home in New Orleans,” he said. “The foot traffic that we have, the bus stops, the people that are around. It just reminds me of home. Northside is just the perfect fit for Manchu itself.”

Business is so good Nguyen was actually working during his Eat It, Virginia! interview, a first for the podcast. He said a  second Manchu location was in the works. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear where Nguyen would like to build Manchu II.

Marvin Nguyen and a young fan at Manchu in Richmond

In the podcast, he also shares the secret to making a good wing, the one Manchu menu item that serves as the perfect hangover cure , and why he broke with family tradition and put ghost pepper wings on the menu.

“Virginia’s a little extra when it comes to their food,” he said with a laugh.

Let us know Who makes your favorite chicken wing.

PODCAST CONTEST NOTE: At the beginning of the podcast, Robey mentions a ticket giveaway for Powhatan Festival of the Grape. To win two unlimited wine tasting tickets to Powhatan Festival of the Grape go see Beth Dixon at Perch at ask to see the secret closet door.

People, places, and products mentioned in this podcast:
Bon Appetit Magazine
Booth Hardy at Barrel Thief
Grochau Cellars
Old Chatham Creamery
Powhatan Festival of the Grape
Turkey and the Wolf