Restaurants & Bars

Beak-to-Tail: A Chicken Ball Chowdown at Hou Lok (Richmond)

fmed | Sep 18, 201001:13 PM    

This particular chowdown is a testimonial to the local chowhounds’ penchance for playing with our food. It isn’t the first time we chose some sort offal as a theme for a chowdown. One of our first ever chowdowns as a group centered around bone marrow (at the Greedy Pig). This time (in a silly grade-school playground sort of way) we chose chicken balls...testicles...as our theme.

Forum member betterthanbourdain reported that Hou Lok (across from the Aberdeen Centre) is run by Chiu Chow Chinese and serve a few Chiu Chow dishes and delicacies - namely Chiu Chow style congee and chicken testicles. It is also known for their da lang (late night menu).

We all met at Hou Lok around 9pm on a Monday night. The place was surprisingly full for a rainy holiday Monday. It seems to be a minor secret waiting to be uncovered. The Chowdown started with 8 confirmed attendees but it ballooned to 15 people by the time betterthanbourdain’s entourage showed up. With this many people, we were able to try quite a number of dishes.

The standouts for me where the deep fried sea cucumber “muscle” - the organ inside the often served gelatinous body of a sea cucumber. I’ve never had this before and it was delicious with a nice chewy-soft tooth. The Chiu Chow Chook (congee) was also very good and different from the usual Cantonese congee. The rice grains were seperate and not “creamed” like a typical Cantonese congee. The braised goose was nice and complex - the meat was firm yet tender. The stirfried water convolvulus (kangkong) tasted very South East Asian with the addition of fermented shrimp paste.

How about the guest of honour? The chicken balls? Well - I’m glad to have tried it. The texture was spongy and the flavour mild. They were certainly a LOT bigger than I had imagined them to be at around 1-2 inches long. In a flurry of nose/beak-to-tail dining, we not only had the testicles, but we had duck tongue, pork blood with chives and pork bung.

Huo Lok
8231 Cambie Road, #115

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