If there was ever a single dish that didn’t really need any improvement, it just might be the Buffalo-style chicken wing. Spicy, sassy and gloriously drenched in drippy excess, these game-day die-hards fluttered their way into our collective consciousness decades ago, but somehow still hold us in their saucy embrace, hopeless to resist. 

Happily, loving things the way they are doesn’t mean we can’t also find new ways of loving things. Savvy chefs in the Greater Wilmington and Brandywine Valley are realizing this Buffalo-born masterpiece is an ideal starting point for endless ethnically and regionally inspired modifications, from the sweetly salty tastes of Vietnam and Thailand to the slow-smoked accents of American barbecue. 

One thing is certain: No one anywhere is going to get tired of traditional Buffalo wings anytime soon. But be warned: When you’re in Delaware, you may begin to see what a wild thing a wing can be. 

FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA WITH LOVE: The light and lively tastes of Thailand, Vietnam and Japan are perfectly suited to the crisp skin and tender meatiness of wings, adding fresh dimensions of sweetness and umami to each bite. Keep your eye out for “Saigon Wings” or “Thai Wings” on the menu, and be sure to check out the rest of the menu at these local favorites: 

VPho. 2671 Kirkwood Highway, Newark. 302-369-3993. After your Vietnamese-accented wings, stick around and check out this lively menu full of “pho” noodle soups, grilled meat and Vietnamese “subs,” known as banh mi. Generic Wing Photo

Pho Ever Cafe. 230 E. Main St., Ste 618, Newark. (302) 525-6118. The “Saigon Wings” are what you need, but you’ll also want to try the inspired menu featuring such temptations as Crispy Whole Soft Shell Crab with Aioli. 

Kanji Noodle Bar. 64 Geoffrey Dr, Newark. 302-294-6101. This little gem near Christiana Mall is a relative newcomer, but the noodle dishes are on point, and the “Kanji Wings” deliver their own sort of Japanese-accented deliciousness. 

Wings & Thai Station. 1700 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington. What’s not to love? There are lively Thai-accented wings, regular “American-style” wings, plus a full menu of Thai dishes for enhancing your adventure. 

Saap Lao Thai Cuisine & Bar.  287 Christiana Rd Suite 14 (Community Plaza Shopping Center), New Castle. A local favorite for fans of Thai and Laotian tastes, Saap Lao also does a mean Thai-style wing, “served with our secret Saap Lao sweet chili wing sauce.” Enough said.

BOLD KOREAN ATTITUDE: Korean-style fried chicken is a marvel of contrasts, sweet and so crispy, yet so moist beneath the crackly exterior. Like traditional Buffalo wings, these can pack a face-melting blast of heat, but sweeter and milder flavors are also available. And, good news is, the Greater Wilmington/Newark area now has two Korean fried chicken hotspots to choose from: 

bb.q Chicken. 165 S Main St. Unit 117, Newark. (302) 533-6589. For a real punch in the palate, try the “Hot Mala” or the “Wings of Fire,” though prudence suggests starting with crowd-pleasing flavors like “Gangnam Style” or “Galbi.” 

Bonchon Chicken. 250 College Square Shopping Center, Newark. (302) 355-3254. This is the OG of Korean fried chicken chains, and perfect for introducing yourself to the next-level execution that Korean chicken is known for. 

MORE SASS AND SATISFACTION: You can get a chicken wing most anywhere, but there are precious few spots that truly stand out, either because of their execution, their flavors, or preferably both. Here are a few more of our favorites: 

Generic Wing PhotoFuego Peri Peri. 1103 Churchmans Rd, Newark. (302)-364-3434. Quite possibly the greatest South African export of all time (sorry, diamonds), these char-grilled wings are known for their smoky heat and unapologetic attitude. Cautious eaters may want to steer toward fruitier flavors – mango-lime, or lemon & herb – but for the real experience, turn up the heat. 

Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza & Wings. Two locations: 5611 Concord Pike, Wilmington, and 4805 Limestone Road, Pike Creek. Laid-back and fun, Anthony’s is a great gathering spot, only partly thanks to their grilled and beautifully blackened wings, served with loops of sweetly charred onions. 

Ulysses Gastropub. 1716 Marsh Road, Wilmington. 302-691-3456. The deliciously tempting menu at this local hangout holds a dangerous secret: The wings are smoked, and can be ordered “roulette style” – that is, one wing on your plate will be “loaded” with a lip-searing, 5-alarm hot pepper sauce. When you hit it, you’ll know!