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The Restaurant:
Sweet Sauce, Quick Food, Lasting Memories - Continued


With its origins dating back to the eighteenth century in the canton region of mainland China, sweet and sour pork in many regards is a mirror of the contemporary chicken ball. The main differences between these two dishes is that the former uses chicken instead of pork and is heavily breaded, using only the sauce for dipping, while in the ladder the sauce and meat are combined with the pork only very lightly coated.

For new Chinese immigrants such as Fung Hi Eng, chicken balls along with other Chinese Canadian foods were completely foreign, "...I didn't know how to make chicken balls...I visited a friend who also owned a restaurant and she taught me how to make them...I didn't eat them though...only for white people." As one can see, the chicken ball, in many regards, isn’t really "authentic" Chinese food, but due to its vast popularity among the masses has become linked unwilling to Chinese cuisine, for better or worse.

And with that, a toast to sweet and sour chicken balls, as the definitive staple of Chinese fast food everywhere and the bane of Chinese buffets across Canada as the definitive filler food to be avoided at all cost.

-Matt Eng. 2008.

A popular trend in modern Chinese buffets is to avoid chicken balls and other overly filling foods to get the most out of your seating cost. Nevertheless, it remains a popular item for those less exposed to contemporary Chinese cuisine.

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Chicken balls are not Chinese food according to Fung Hi Eng. Circa 1950's.
A typical working-clss patron of Chinese restaurants in the 1940's being cheap, and filling food.

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