Chicken balls, sans sweet and sour sauce.

So, I made a little boo-boo.

I learned during the Smart Bitches Sizzling Book Club chat that chicken balls, featured in Back to the Good Fortune Diner as a uniquely North American-style Chinese food product, are NOT, in fact, available in the U.S.

According to Wikipedia, this is the dish I refer to as sweet and sour chicken balls:

Chicken balls (Chinese: ??; pinyinj? qiúCantonese Yale: gai1kau4) are a type of modern Chinese food served in Canada,[1][2][3] and the United Kingdom[4] as a staple of Chinesetake-out. The dish consists of small chunks of fried chicken breast meat covered in a crispy batter coating. They are often served with sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce. These are largely unheard of in China, depending on the recipe and referred name.[5]

They're so ubiquitous in Canada, I didn't even think for a minute they wouldn't have them in the States. This is why fact checking is important....

Okay, so how to explain away the Good Fortune Diner's specialty menu item? Well...

1) Only available at the Good Fortune Diner in Everville! Exotic Canadian Chicken Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce! No need to drive across the border for delicious golden spheres of deep fried goodness!

2) Since the Cheungs are from Hong Kong, which was a part of the British Empire before the handover to the Chinese in 1997, maybe it was something Tony and Rose knew was popular with non-Chinese diners so had them sourced and imported...

3) There is a secret black market in Manhattan where the Cheungs get their illicit supply of Canadian chicken balls. Studies suggest the underground economy for chicken ball smuggling is worth over $10 billion....

4) Magic.

5 thoughts on “Balls…

  1. Piya

    NO WAY! That's unbelievable--I can't picture going to a Chinese take-out place and not seeing chicken balls on the menu. But I don't see certain items like mushu pork every time either, so perhaps that's more American?

  2. I discovered so many little things like that when I was living in the US... But it's funny. Even though I ate a lot of chinese food when during the 10 years I lived in the states, I never noticed the absence of the chicken ball... Hmmm...

    Now, Shreddies and butter tarts... And the wrong name for KD. I noticed those.

    Back nearly a decade ago I picked up a book and knew within the first 3 pages that despite the setting the author was Canadian. I e-mailed her to confirm I was right. If memory serves, the two clues were saskatoon berries and butter tarts. She had no idea those weren't things one would serve in the US where her book was set.

  3. Clara Strebel

    I just went to the states for the first time in over 15 years... My sister-in-law told me they don't use the term 'double-double' for ordering coffee. I didn't believe her and I tried to order a 'double-double' coffee in New York, the clerk looked confused but he didn't ask what I meant, then he handed me two black coffees. 🙂

  4. I vote for either explanation 3 or 4 🙂 Black market or magic.

    Those things are also available in Australia! 😀 They're delicious. I don't know about sweet and sour though, but we can definitely get them all sticky with yummy, yummy honey! (#mychildhoodfavourite).


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