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Husband-and-wife team Hawk and Sophia Tea’s heritage—a mixture of Cambodian, Chinese, and American cultures swirled into one beautiful familial pot—lead the way for what I would call, no questions asked, the best wings in the city.

Surely, Shlap Muan (which means “chicken wing” in Khmer) offers some stellar takes on Cambodian classics—kuyteav, lok lak, garlic noodles upon garlic noodles—but it is their dedication to the humble but mighty chicken wing that is cause for celebration.

Using a secret seasoning, pre-game trick on the poultry before taking them to the frier stadium, Hawk’s ability to fry fowl—a method he learned from his father, Chhay—is one that brings out his equal mastery in seasoning and saucing them.

With witty odes to both his American and Cambodian heritage—think a lemongrass take on lemon pepper called “Cambodian Dirt” or an outright mockery of MSG conspiracy theorists with his “Jalapeño MSG” seasoning—Shlap is more than just a wing spot. It is a reflection of Long Beach’s deep ties to the Cambodian community and how Cambodian food can evolve in a city that has been home to refugees for fifty years.

Photos and written by Brian Addison.

For Brian Addisons full profile on Shlap Muan, click here.