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Chicken balls with sweet & sour sauce... Who's got good ones?

duckdown Jan 16, 2009 06:23 AM


Try to hold back your uncontrollable fits of laughter -- but I like my Chinese food CANADIANIZED!

That's right, baby.. I'm the guy at the Mandarin loading up with chicken balls and red sauce

So, who's got some worthwhile ones in the GTA? I remember seeing someone mention how good the homemade chicken balls were at some place, but I can't seem to find the post in the search results

Only ones I'm really familiar with are Mandarin's and Tremendous in Mississauga, so I am open to suggestions! Just hopefully nothing along Spadina because parking is usually impossible.. Mississauga/Etobicoke/Brampton would be ideal

I look forward to your suggestions! :)


  1. m
    magic Jan 16, 2009 06:40 AM

    China House on Eglinton (west of Bathurst) makes their own chicken balls. Delish. If you like ribs, and I think that you do, their bbq ribs are also delicious. If you like Canadianized Chinese, including chicken balls, this is the place for you. Not crazy about most of their food, I find a lot of it is bland, but they do a few things very well. Including these two items. And the space is gorgeous, a perfectly preserved time capsule of 1950s “Chinese” Canadian dining. Very cool.

    1. f
      farmgirl1836 Jan 16, 2009 11:18 AM

      I agree with magic. China House is very much "Canadianized Chinese Food". It would be my first choice for that type of Chinese Food. Their long BBQ ribs are absolutely delicious, as is their house plum sauce. We also enjoy their kung pau shrimp and cantonese chow mein and chicken chow mein. It's definitely Canadianized Chinese Food and if that's what you're looking for, then it's the place to go! Enjoy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: farmgirl1836
        pearlD Jan 16, 2009 11:42 AM

        Truer words were never spoken...the place is a hoot...brings to mind the 'let's do the time warp again"...Just the place you're looking for...I heartily endorse the China HOUSE!!

      2. t
        Tatai Jan 16, 2009 11:58 AM

        I've never been a fan of chicken balls, but if anyone's looking for Montreal-style pineapple chicken, the sweet-and-sour-chicken-with-pineapple at Tasty Chinese, just a couple of blocks west of China House on Eglinton, is the real deal.

        Still haven't found egg rolls with burnt ends a la House of Wong on Queen Mary Rd., though.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Tatai
          kas Jan 16, 2009 04:36 PM

          would they deliver to the yonge bloor area?

          1. re: kas
            Tatai Jan 16, 2009 04:55 PM

            The menu shows Yonge & Davenport as the most southeastern corner for delivery, but it would seem to me that they just might make an exception since you're just outside the delivery zone.

          2. re: Tatai
            food face Jan 17, 2009 04:26 AM

            Duckdown. Your'e on my wavelenghth! My Toronto favorite is also China House for the Home made Ball action. If you ever go to St. Catherines, the absolute best chicken balls I've had are at The Cosy Restaruant. Huge meat to fluffy light golden crust with a winning red sauce. Duckdown...I encourage you to STAY and eat if you can find the time in the China House. It's decor is half the fun. It's really beautiful Chicago style 50's asain interior design. You'll love it.

            I started this post that will also point you in the right direction....


          3. duckdown Jan 16, 2009 08:20 PM

            Thanks for the responses so far!

            I assume take-out is available at China House? I'd just be passing by and not dining-in


            1 Reply
            1. re: duckdown
              pearlD Jan 17, 2009 11:30 AM

              Yes, they do have take-out.
              IAs far as their delivery boundaries we live at the north end of the Annex (Davenpot & Dupont) and they have delivered to us for many, many years..Not sure how much further south they will go...

            2. mainja Jan 17, 2009 06:26 AM

              I actually really enjoy the chicken balls from China Gourmet. http://www.chinagourmet.tk/ One on Carlton, and one on York Mills.

              1. duckdown Jan 17, 2009 12:58 PM

                Thanks again to everyone -- I'm planning on going by here tonight, theres actually something I need to do out that way anyways...

                I wish they had an online menu, but I can't find anything on Google

                Will report back once I have the chance -- thanks again folks! Any more suggestions, feel free to keep em coming, and I'll let you know what I think once I try em


                14 Replies
                1. re: duckdown
                  Googs Jan 23, 2009 04:36 AM

                  dd buddy, where's the report?

                  1. re: Googs
                    duckdown Jan 23, 2009 05:23 AM

                    I've been putting off writing it :P

                    I might as well come out with it -- thanks for the suggestions on China House everyone, but I regret to say I actually was horribly unimpressed... Lets see

                    I ordered the long bbq ribs, the chicken balls, bbq pork fried rice and 2 egg rolls (since people said they had great homemade plum sauce also)

                    rice -- boring, not really "fried" enough and was kind of bland. also way too much chunks of white onion, not a fan of that at all in my rice and I've had a decent amount of chinese food before

                    egg rolls -- served with packaged wong's brand plum sauce, and tasted very stale. cabbage inside was grey and wilted looking, and the flavor wasn't even nearly as good as the mandarins. terrible..

                    bbq long ribs -- well, 6 bones of ribs with not much meat on them was a whopping $9 bucks before tax, and i found them dry and tough on the inside and salty on the outside.. i mean, even with that being said, they were ok... but they were ribs -- they're always pretty good

                    last but not least, the chicken balls... well.. they were definitely real white meat, and they did indeed look homemade, but sadly mine were quite soggy on the outside and had a fair amount of grease on the bottom of the tin plate. sweet and sour sauce served with them was almost for sure bottled stuff, actually it reminded me of Wendy's sweet and sour... They were definitely the best part of the meal but I prefer mine to be crispier on the outside. Maybe just a disadvantage of doing take-out, it was also on a really snowy night and traffic caused me to get home later than normal

                    Overall I paid over $30 for the food and I definitely feel it would have been much better value ordering from Mandarin or somewhere else.. There was no food left over after the other people in my house just tried a couple things here and there

                    definitely thanks for the suggestions though :) not everyone is alike I guess and one persons favorite isn't always everyones.. I am also going to try mayflower for takeout as someone suggested and whatever else people reccomend

                    thanks again!


                    1. re: duckdown
                      mainja Jan 23, 2009 06:17 AM

                      I'm tellin' ya man, China Gourmet chicken balls, all the way. *grin*

                      1. re: mainja
                        duckdown Jan 23, 2009 06:20 AM

                        Sweet, will check these out ASAP


                      2. re: duckdown
                        magic Jan 23, 2009 06:34 AM

                        Sorry the ribs and the chicken balls were a let down. I haven’t had a bad experience with either yet, so that’s too bad.

                        But then again, I think no matter where you had taken out from, if they had been sitting for as long as you said they’d been any deep fried food would have suffered. Same goes for the ribs. If they’re being taken out and sitting, it’s not surprising they’d be dry. Personally, I like eating that stuff at the restaurant, I hardly ever take out for that very reason. The food suffers.

                        The rice and egg rolls…… I wouldn’t have ordered that. Like I said before, plain as the day is long.

                        Good luck in your continued search : )

                        1. re: magic
                          Googs Jan 24, 2009 04:40 AM

                          magic, I agree no food would survive a Toronto traffic jam. I think the other part of the equation is in duckdown's description. "...fair amount of grease on the bottom of the tin plate." Tin plate? Bad packaging. Definitely bad packaging.

                        2. re: duckdown
                          pescatarian Jan 23, 2009 06:57 AM

                          If you're ever up around the Promenade in Thornhill, you should try Cynthia's chicken balls. They are not fluffy like a lot of chicken balls, they are more chicken/less batter and the batter is crispy.
                          I haven't had them there in couple years because I don't live near there anymore, but I used to order them all the time. Slightly better Canadianized Chinese food in general.

                          1. re: pescatarian
                            Hippo55 Jan 23, 2009 07:16 AM

                            I agree-Cynthia's probably make some of the freshest and best tasting chicken balls in the city!

                            1. re: Hippo55
                              ARisen Feb 4, 2009 08:36 AM

                              I'm not the biggest fan of Canadian style Chinese food, but i have had Cynthia's chicken balls and can vouch that they are amongst the best i've had.

                              Even better though, would be Szechuan Gourmet on Steeles just west of Bathurst. I found every other dish of theirs that I've had to be pretty underwhelming, though.

                              1. re: ARisen
                                ParsleySage Feb 4, 2009 08:50 AM

                                Where is Cynthia's located?

                                1. re: ParsleySage
                                  pescatarian Feb 4, 2009 01:38 PM

                                  It's on the northeast corner of the Promenade Shopping Mall parking lot in a strip plaza - Bathurst and Centre in Thornhill

                                2. re: ARisen
                                  pescatarian Feb 4, 2009 09:14 AM

                                  On the Promenade Mall grounds - Bathurst and Centre in Thornhill

                            2. re: duckdown
                              food face Jan 24, 2009 05:57 AM

                              Duckdown. I liked reading about your long anticipated experience at the China House. I can see how that could happen. Their food is definately bland. The egg rolls are a nightmare. Mine was frozen cold in the middle once. It sucks that you had a grease pool at the bottom of them. I guess with deep fried items that have sat for a while it's to be expected. I actually prefer a fluffy softer shell on the balls. I don't like them so crispy. I also like the fact that the China House balls can be served with the House Honey garlic sauce which is delightful. I definately think the ribs are excellent and it's too bad that they where oversalted...I have also never found them to be anything but perfect (and overpriced). Anyways, it was cool reading your experience. I definately would try Cynthia's, they sound good too.

                              1. re: food face
                                duckdown Jan 24, 2009 06:03 AM

                                Hey, thanks :o)

                                Glad you enjoyed it, took a few minutes to write hehe

                                Lots of people have been mentioning Cynthia's, so I will make that next on my chinese-food list, but tonight I'm going to go for Italian

                                I think the honey-garlic sauce would have been nicer than the sweet & sour I asked for, regarding the chicken balls, so I would try that next time. Also, I guess I would dine-in next time because I can absolutely confirm 100% that the food does not travel well at all

                                Thanks for the comments :) I will report back when I try my next location

                        3. Brain of J Feb 4, 2009 09:29 AM

                          There's no shame in this. I adore Canadianized Chinese food---just as long as it's done properly. Parking in Chinatown will cost you only around $3.00 at the green p lot as long as you don't go there mid-day. Well worth the cost and effort. Should you venture down there, check out Taste of China at 338 Spadina for Toronto's best General Tso Chicken.

                          1. Brain of J Feb 4, 2009 09:31 AM

                            Hey gang, is there any way to access posts beyond one year? Because there was once a long thread that talked about this same issue. Some great tips on it!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Brain of J
                              wontonfm Feb 4, 2009 05:27 PM

                              enter what you're looking for in the search bar at the top of the page. when it brings up the results there will be a field that says "1 year". You can change that to any number of years then just hit search.


                            2. s
                              sway Feb 4, 2009 01:33 PM

                              I NEVER eat Canadianized Chinese food (sorry for being a snob...) but my ex would never eat the real stuff. We discovered Salad King does have an awesome chicken ball fried rice that has fresh out of the oil chicken balls... if that's your thing : )

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