You folks who read Chinese would have heard about “wind sand” chicken wings before. Not me.
For the past few weeks, several people had commented on chowtimes or sent me emails about “wind sand” chicken wings. And yesterday, neige-tyro commented about the Taikoo being an original gangsters of wind-sand chicken wings. I just had to find out what “wind sand” chicken wings are … and why that name.
It turns out that I HAD wind-sand chicken wings before, just that I did not realize it. It was in Taikoo (blog entry here) that I had them. I did not know it was called wind-sand chicken wings. I thought it was just plain out deep fried chicken wings.
Some one mentioned that the Parker Place food court also has the stall that is famous for the wind-sand chicken wings. I thought this stall would also be one of the original “gangsters” of the sand-wind chicken wings. Moreover, we wanted to make a return visit to Parker Place to have a closer look at the Shanghainese food stall. Our earlier blog entry on the Parker Place food court is here on this link.
From the way the name wind-sand chicken wings is pronounced in Chinese, we knew it must be a Cantonese stall. The thing is, the food stalls here in Parker Place is mostly Cantonese. We went around every stall looking at the menus knowing that we can never trust the English translations. A few of the stalls has “deep-fried chicken wings” but we are looking specifically for wind-sand chicken wings.
It was hard reading hundreds of menu items in the stall. We knew what the Chinese characters roughly looked like for wind-sand. Finally found it in the Parker Good Foods stall (just next to the popular Joy’s stall). It was the smallest of prints on the menu on the wall. Moreover it was handwritten too. It was only later when we sat down that we saw the BIG words in Chinese on the wraparound of the counter (the last six yellow colored characters in the picture above).
Here it is … the Wind Sand Chicken Wings from Parker Good Food.
A quick visual comparison between Taikoo’s (see image here) and Parker Good Food shows that Taikoo’s is better.
Price wise, it is $5.50 for four wings in Parker Good Food and in Taikoo, it is $3.75 for three wings. So it is about 15 cents cheaper per wing in Taikoo’s.
It is a good thing that the lady who manned the counter was really chatty. So I said to her, “What a strange name for chicken wings. Why do they call this the wind-sand chicken wings?”
I would have been happy if she just told me the answer in a single sentence but she went into a long story. LOL! I like her.
She told us that in the old days in China, people are poor and many people could not afford the wasteful use of scarce oil to deep fry chicken wings. Instead, what the enterprising poor folks did was that they hang the chicken wings up to be dried by the wind. The wings are then baked with a spice salt called “sar-geong” which literally is translated as ginger-sand. The wind drying process makes the chicken wings to be crispy.
The sad thing is this. She said that while this is called wind-sand chicken, they did not use the dry-bake method. :-(
She said that nowadays, everyone makes them by simply deep frying as the wind drying process is tedious. She also claimed that this process is not allowed by the local food safety code. She assured us that the flavour is, in her words, “more or less the same”.
I don’t care!
I don’t care if the flavour is “more or less the same”!
I just want my WIND-SAND chicken wings. Bwaaaaa!!!
Please, please … someone … tell me … tell me, please … Where can I find the a real Wind Sand chicken wings in Vancouver? Don’t tell me I gotta buy a flight ticket to Hongkong.
When we got home, Suanne dug out her bottle of “sar-geong”, the spice used to make the wind sand chicken wings.
Still unopened. Suanne hoards all kinds of spices in her kitchen cabinets. She buys and buys these stuff and use it for one time. Sometimes, like this one, she never even gotten down to using it at all.
So if you want to borrow any spices, sauces or other cooking ingredients, ask Suanne. It will probably do me a favour to help Suanne clean up some of her stuff. LOL!
Anyway, the Parker Good Food stall is also famous for their Chiu Chow style marinated duck.
I asked the chatty lady at the counter about this and later on saying that I saw the 12 year old master sauce (in Taikoo) used to marinade duck and chicken. Her immediate answer was “Ours is 13 years old”. I thought it was funny the way she suddenly became so defensive. She added that 13 years old is nothing. There are many other restaurants “back in Hongkong” that had the master sauce that is tens of years old.
Next time I encounter this type of chicken/duck places, I am going to ask the restaurant how old their master sauce is. Yeah, I am now on the mission to find out the oldest master sauce in all of Metro Vancouver. LOL!
After the chicken wings, we went over to the Shanghai Goodies stall for the main meal.
We said we would come back someday to have a closer look at this stall. What we like best is their prices and that they seems to serve authentic Shanghainese food too.
Click on the menus above to blow it up. None of their food is above $6.25. Most of them are $3 to $4. The $5 noodles (the left picture) is quite a deal.
I think they just increased their prices because the prices were taped over. I think some of it went up by 25 cents. You reckon too?
Suanne had the Shanghai Tan Tan Noodle. Can you believe it’s just $4?
Anyway, this is meatless, that’s why. It is spicy, peanuty and creamy and topped with spinach and crushed peanuts. Nothing fancy.
This is not great but at the same time I won’t call it shabby either. For what it’s worth, this is a filling meal.
For me I had the Shanghai Cold Noodle ($4.50).
This is another simple dish but this one I love. You see, it is partly vinegarish and partly peanuty. They did not mix the sauces and noodles thoroughly together which is why I love this so much. I like that one part of the noodles has the sublet sourness from the vinegar and yet another part has that creaminess of the peanuty sauce. I enjoyed this. If you eat this, DON’T mix it up. Just eat it the way it is.
The noodles are cold by the way.
I got one Shanghai Tea Egg to try. It is 65 cents each.
I know. The looks of it will turn down many people not familiar with this. But trust me, this is good.
It is savoury and the marinade made out of black tea leaves and soy sauce gives it a sweet taste that is infused all the way down to the yolk. A well made tea egg must have that clear marbling on the egg white. Give this a try if you had never try this before. I think you will like it … just don’t think about how it looks.
That’s it guys. I don’t think I’ll write about the Parker Place food court for the next little while. I still have a couple of food courts to cover.