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Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

  • b

Sweet & sour Chicken Balls are always held up on this board as an example of what NOT to look for in an authentic Chinese restaurant, including by myself.

But, come on (to quote GOB: SOB's)! We were all raised on them! Every once in awhile SOME of you must crave those deep fried dough covered lumps of protien covered in sweet sauce! I know I do! And I still haven't found any in Toronto that I like, usually due to a poor dough to meat ratio.

So who's got the best ones around! And let's set aside the board's general disdain for this dish! Bring on the fluorsecnt sauce!

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  1. There are so many in the city...where do you live?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Jasvinder

      Happy Seven on Spadina, about a block and a half north of Dundas, west side, have very good ones.

      Let us know what you discover!

      1. re: Brain of J

        Golden Dragon....on Rogers Rd, at Keele St. Looks kinda scary, but they have the biggest chicken balls, with the highest chicken to dough ratio that I have ever seen!

        1. re: kathleen

          Thanks for the tip!

          1. re: Brain of J

            Peking Express on Parliament St south..take out or delivery only though.

            1. re: Maureen

              i find peking express too salty to deal with actually...

          2. re: kathleen

            I think that is the most important factor when looking for a good chicken ball.
            I would say any place which offers a buffet..they will have the worst chicken to dough ratio!

          3. re: Brain of J

            Brain of J, I'm going to check out Happy Seven. Anything else you rec?

          4. re: Jasvinder

            I am on the Danforth but work downtown. Happy to hear about anyplace though.

          5. Just head for the nearest mall's food court.

            1. International Chop Suey House
              On Kingston Road just west of Vic Park.
              Take-out only, but rather tasty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jenna

                I second the International House. Love the weird addition of a sweet and sour pickle to the container.

              2. I get my fix of glowing chickeny balls at SeaHi and

                Sea-Hi Famous Chinese Food 416-789-1258 3645 Bathurst Street,

                Its been a while but i remember lichee garden on dundas having good balls.


                1. On the east side, we order ours from Seaspray on Kingston Road (near Main). Fat cubes of chicken with just a thin layer of batter, doused in sweet, glow in the dark, (and what I suspect to be) banned-in-most-countries-red-dye-999. :-)

                  You are right about the stigma of craving this stuff. Being Asian, the shame of ordering it is way too strong so I cannot bring myself to do the deed. My nice (Caucasian) husband gets to order it for us instead.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gbsm

                    Thanks for being honest! I'm not Asian but I always feel a bit funny ordering them also: like I'm betraying something (not sure what: I grew up in Winnipeg and sweet and sour Chicken Balls were an ESSENTIAL part of any Chinese restaurant visit).

                    Nonetheless sometimes you just crave deep fried stuff with sweet sauce! There is something terribly addictive about them...

                    I have found that Sea Breeze on Queen E is not bad actually AND they have CHOW cred.

                    1. re: bluedog

                      I can't bring myself to try the chicken balls, but as a Seabreeze regular,my secret sin is Chicken Soo Guy, breaded chicken with almonds and some kind of sauce. You have to be in that special mood, perhaps the step before depression!!!

                      1. re: leslieville

                        Try the lemon chicken, as well. It is a whole chicken breast, deep fried in batter and coated in a fluorescent lemon sauce. Very lemony.

                        And take the plunge on the chicken balls (sweet and sour chicken guy koo if you must!).

                        Really, I can't remember the last time I had as much fun with a thread!

                      2. re: bluedog

                        Definitely second Seabreeze... I love love their lemon chicken and chicken balls. Lots of chicken, and a crisp, tasty batter.

                    2. There is a food court on dundas and bay , the restaurant near macdonald, chicken to dough ratio is very high, sause is standard.

                      fried rice and chow mein are bland.

                      1. (as an aside, they're not in the GTA, but the absolute best chicken balls I've ever had anywhere were at a place called "Waynes Chop Suey" in a teensy little town called Kelvington Saskatchewan. They're so isolated that I THINK they have to make their own orange sauce. It's more honey based, quite sticky, and compliments the crispyness of the balls so very, very well.)


                        1. Peter Street Deli has a Chicken Ball Combo deal.. Chicken Balls & fried Rice with an egg roll... Real Greasy, Real Floresent, Old School "Canadian Chinese" food / Greasy spoon but you have to love it!

                          1. A little Chinese restaurant on Albion Rd, between the first and second lights east of Islington, in the plaza with the Food Basics and Blockbuster. The place is called Sun Lok, and I grew up on their chicken balls. It has got to be about ten years since I've been there, but everytime I have a chicken ball, it pales in comparison to Sun Lok's. The #4 combo rules (chicken balls, honey garlic ribs, fried rice and egg roll).

                            1. The best I've had is on St.Clair & Christie, Dragon Delight. The chicken pieces are large and not greasy. The sauce is that delicious red goo. Lots of sauce leftover for other dipping. They also have excellent chicken wings. I've found most of their fried items to be excellent. Good luck in your search. I've found majority of food courts have fake processed chicken balls.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cindy

                                Tell me more about Dragon Delight. I'm on a chicken ball craze right now. How is the other food such as the fried rice, stir fried items etc. I wouldn't get any other fried items than the chicken balls.

                              2. Though I can't recommend the rest of their menu, I happen to really like the chicken balls at Cynthia's located in the Promenade Village Shops. Very high meat to breading ratio and really greasy, but greasy in a good way.

                                Though not done in the traditional Canadian-Chinese manner, the Harbour Sports Grille at Yonge & Queens Quay does a rendition that I would best describe as small chicken nuggets/tenders drizzled in a sweet and sour sauce. At a first glance one would probably not even recognize them for chicken balls, but oh so tasty in their own right. They're obligatory after a few pints.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jonnybee

                                  yes! the chicken balls at harbour sports grill are the final component of an excellent night out watching the raptors!
                                  i've come to love chicken balls since my arrival in canada, and still have a weakness for them (despite having developed a taste and preference for real cantonese and other chinese cuisine). however, my chinese partner refuses to eat them in public (or private for that matter) and so the chicken balls are but a sweet memory:) what i do find funny is that he is willing to order (both in-eat and take-out) lemon chicken. this is the case for most of our many chinese friends - will reject chicken balls, but will enjoy lemon chicken. there is a small difference but come on! florescent sauce is florescent sauce and breaded chicken is breaded chicken:) my partner (and his mother) will also make sweet and sour pork with the red sauce, pineapple pieces and all!

                                2. I like the chicken balls at Mandarin Gardens Restaurant in Brighton, Ontario, which is about 1.5 hours east of Toronto, just before Prince Edward County. Lots of chicken; breading isn't mushy or sticky at all. Yum!

                                  1. I have a friend, who every time we go for Chinese, insists we go somewhere she can get sweet & sour chicken balls. I have found somewhere that satisfies her and me: Lin Garden. Hakka style chinese that has the obligatory chicken balls for my friend. The sauce is the bright red, sticky stuff, but with chunks of onions, peppers and pineapple in it.

                                    1. OK, so I only started eating meat again recently, so all meat is a new experience for me, but I ordered chinese food from one of my favourite places recently - Cynthia's Chinese Restaurant at the Promenade - and I got sweet and sour chicken balls for my nephews - but when I opened them I decided to try them - it was such a yummy re-introduction - perfect batter to meat ratio, really great chicken flavour, amazing house-made sweet and sour sauce.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pescatarian

                                        Pescatarian, this sounds worth the drive to the Promenade from Downtown. You are a good Aunt(/uncle?!) I will definately check out the balls there. What's the other food like? Is it yummy too?

                                      2. They aren't exactly sweet-n'-sour chicken balls, but the tung an hot and sour chicken at Pearl Court are deep-fried chicken chunks that are sweet, sourish, a little bit hot, have chunks of onion, pineapple and ginger, and are an eye-searing orange. They are truly a thing of beauty.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                                          How's the rest of the food at Pearl Court? I'm now craving those spicy sweet chicken things, and have to sell my partner on the rest!