If you’ve been to one of the night markets occasionally hosted by Sandwich Hag in the Cedars, there’s a special looking wing on a stick you’ll find there.
It comes butterflied and skewered on a wooden stick, cooked over a yakitori: Japanese techniques by the hands of Nick Tran and Stephan Tang. The two can be found popping up at events under their still-new company, Noodboyz and Thicc Sticcz.
Not a typo.
“We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously,” Tang says. “As you can tell by our name, we like to have fun with what we do.”
Both have worked in the industry: Tang at Wabi House, Tran at Tei-An (where he still is). It’s a company they launched this year, following a trend numerous in the industry have followed: starting a pop-up/underground/etc., to do their own things.
“We’re not just doing straight-up Japanese food. Especially on the yakitori, we’re putting our own take on it and the flavors we enjoy the most, and I think they stand out a little more,” Tang says.
Basically, they’re combining Vietnamese flavors with Japanese technique (such as the open-flame yakitori).
The wing has a wonderfully, just-salty-enough flavor, and it’s a more tender version than our comparatively lame flats and drums.
“The wing itself is more rooted in a Japanese technique, butterflied and open, essentially getting yourself two perfect pieces,” Tran says. “If you wanted to, you could pull the bone right off the wing and have a boneless wing off the stick.”
Tang is the one behind the handmade noodles, such as a dry bun bo Hue with somen or a vegan ramen in a pho-flavored broth.
“It wasn’t your typical bon bo Hue, but it was just still really good,” says Reye Duong of Sandwich Hag.
Duong's intent has been to get companies such as this one to more places, like Monday’s industry event.
“They’re creative and talented but humble, and we don’t always get that combination or formula,” she says. “There’s tons of people making really great food, it’s Dallas. … You can’t always find that combination of good people making good food.”
And they’re making everything in-house, showing up to a few pop-ups and taking private events (with a much broader menu). Their next pop-up is at Peticolas Brewing Company on Nov. 30, with the following, and last of the year, occurring Dec. 14 at Four Corners Brewing Company.
“This is part time for us,” Tran says. “We hope to make it full time, though.”