How To Eat The Head of a Squab at Lucky Tao Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Alexandra Road, Richmond

Updated: 29th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

I think …

I think some of you follows chowtimes because it is educational. Today, I am going to demonstrate to you how to eat the head of a squab.

There is a procedure you have to follow to devour the trickiest anatomy of the squab. Lucky you … I am gonna show you the technique, step-by-step. This technique is known as the “JS Maneuver”, named after one of the low-key but definitely one of the most prolific foodie in Vancouver.

It is in this post that JS first reveal the technique.

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We went to Lucky Tao.

To tell the truth, we had not heard of Lucky Tao until Joe and LotusRapper put this restaurant in the shortlist for the 8GTCC Cantonese Homestyle Edition. I am not surprised because not many people can see the restaurant from the road, even though it is located along Richmond’s glutton street. It’s along the quietest side of Alexandra Road, at the western end of the road.

From the outside, it looked like Lucky Tao is an old restaurant … like one of those restaurants that were opened during the 1980s during the time when the wave of immigrants from Hong Kong came to escape the uncertainty of the handover to China.

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The restaurant is large, like most Cantonese seafood restaurants are. However, it also looked very old school. It is like time stood still here since the 1980s.

Even the captains and waitresses are older (and more experienced) people. While they were neatly dressed in white shirts and tie, I can see that it is old, over-ironed and wrinkly. Like I said, everything here looked like time stood still.

Before we came, we read reviews about poor service in Lucky Tao. Well, it was pretty good actually. They were very efficient and even very personable. So our experience here is definitely very pleasant.

It is also a decidedly a Cantonese restaurant. They speak perfect Cantonese. Many of the customers that night are families with kids and grandparents. I can see why many of their tables are of the bigger sized ones.

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We like menus like this. See the page above (click image to enlarge), particularly the bottom part. Those are the “Advance Order” items. They looked very good … and very pricey too.

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And then there is three pages of Chef’s Specialties. All of then looked equally as good too. It seems like all the common Cantonese dishes are in the Chef’s Specialties. So you can imagine how long we took to look at the menu.

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There are also the usual “Dinner for X People” specials. 4-person menu for $118 … 6-person menu for $178 … 8-person menu for $250.

Too bad we can’t read a word of what is in this.

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The first thing they served on the table is a small saucer of salted fried peanuts. Wow, I had not come across this served as we sat down for a long time. Doing this was common years ago but these days, I don’t see much of this anymore.

I mean, the fried peanuts are pretty common. It is just that they served this along with the tea before they took our orders.

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First order of business … the squab. I remember ET of Doesn’t Tazte Like Chicken raved about the squab in Lucky Tao. So it is a good time to try this and practice the JS Maneuver here.

Like killing two birds with one stone. Except that we only ordered one squab. Squabs are not cheap despite it small size. Lucky Tao’s Braised Crispy Squab is $14 each. Moreover, the boys doesn’t like squab. They think we are weird eating cute little birds.

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The squab was pretty good and quite fleshy. I like that it is not too salty. Some squabs I had tried are too salty for my liking.

I guess we will never quite understand what the big deal is with squabs. For the price, it is not worth it compared to say, deep fried crispy chicken.

So why do people like squab so much? Is it because of the texture?

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Ta-da … the head of the squab! The object of the JS Maneuver.

Quite revolting, isn’t it?

I had ignored the head thinking that no one would eat this.

Apparently some people do.

Here is how you do it …

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It takes an extreme courage … that’s what it takes.

The first step is the hardest. You got to bite the skull and crack it open.

*CRACK!*

The sound of it is quite sickening. You end up with a piece of the skull in the mouth. So what do you do?

Munch on it? Or spit it out?

Munch on it of course.

I felt barbaric eating this.

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The second step is not much easier. Hear this …

The yummiest part of the head is apparently the brain. So, how do you get to it? Use a spoon? No!

You suck the brain out if you follow the JS Maneuver to the book.

OMG … it was not easy, believe me.

I thought the Filipino was worse with their baluts. LOL!

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I had enough. I did not go through the third step in the JS Maneuver.

That is to eat the crispy and crunchy beak.

Not bad for the first attempt.

So, do I get the Squab Head badge on my foodie sash?

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I like that they have several soup du jour in the restaurant. Most restaurants would only have one.

We asked for the Pork Stomach Soup. We did not like the soup very much, to tell the truth. It was milky white which was quite a turn off for us because we expect it to be the clear type. We also expected to see some whole peppercorn in the soup but the soup is like it’s made with fine powder pepper. It has a soy milk taste to it.

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But the meat that came with the soup was interesting. Lots of stuff and lots in quantity too. And all this for $20 which we thought is a good deal.

It has ginkgo nut, carrot, water chestnut, bean curd sheet, pork and pork stomach.  A big mound of it …

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… and underneath is lots of bean curd sheet. I think what ruins this soup for us is that they put in too much ingredients in it. The ingredients we like but the soup we did not.

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Ginkgo. Here is a little trivia for you.

Ginkgo came from a tree called the Ginkgo Bilboa which is the national tree of China. This is an ancient tree with some trees reportedly are over 1500 years old. The Ginkgo is the only species of the tree existing today … all other species are extinct and so there are no other trees that are related to the Ginkgo Bilboa today.

Ginkgo is believe to help in retaining memory. So if your kids are studying for exams, feed them ginkgo seed. I got all these interesting facts from wikipedia (where else?).

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The Steamed Pork Patty with Salted Fish was $14. Immediately … we did not like it.

Firstly, the salted fish are in big pieces and quite a lot too, making this dish very salty if we mashed all of them up. The salted fish was also very boney. We had to spend time to carefully pick them out.

It is a large dish and it does smell nice. But that’s about it.

The dish became dry quickly as the pork absorbs all the “jup” up.

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In memory of the Chiu Chow restaurant we went to recently and the many discussions around oyster omelettes, we decided to order this.

They call this the Pan Fried Oyster Omelette Chiu Chow Style and costs $14.

It was eggy. It was overcooked. It was like a pizza, served in wedges. It was dry.

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It was food.

Just that.

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On the wall in the restaurant, they have a large picture poster of the dumpling with ingredients spread out. It looked like it’s their specialty. We decided to try that too.

They just call this the Special Dumpling (Jung) $6. They warned us that it will take 20 minutes to make. We said fine. We’ll wait.

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It has dried scallop, pork, chestnut and salted egg yolk … which I like … a lot.

It also had mung bean … which I hate … a lot.

They do this well. Just that I hate the beans. I prefer the hum-yook-jung sans beans better. My mum used to make it at home and we all love her jungs.

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We were about to leave and they said that the meal included free dessert. Suanne brightens up. The boys face darkened.

I like the fact that they gave TWO types of complimentary desserts. It is green bean sweet soup and Osmanthus Longan Goji Berry Jello. Very nice.

This is the only place we came across that serves 2 free desserts. First the fried peanuts and then two free desserts.

Sweet.

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The talk on the table for the day was a nag from mum to the boys … how they MUST sleep earlier one week before the school starts again. They had been sleeping at 11PM at night everyday during the summer break. Mum went on and told them why they need to sleep earlier … focus better in class, that sort of things.

We talked about Sonic and lamenting why we don’t get it here in Canada. Then the discussion went to Sonic the Hedgehog which I know very little about. So it was educational for me.

Arkensen declared that he is going to buy the Blue Ray version of Lord of the Rings … and then went on to say “you never let me spend my own money!”. He he he … yeah … although they have money in their own bank account, they need our permission to use them. And then he declared that the moment he can spend his own money “next time”, he will buy a new LCD TV and put it in his room.

So we talked about buying expensive stuff verses cheap stuff. Like … is it better to spend more for better quality or just spend as little as possible as long as it does the job. Me? I believe in the saying “Good things not cheap; cheap things not good”. Suanne? She is cheap. OK, before I get into trouble … she is careful with money. That is why her pen (above) is so hard to write with, sometimes it doesn’t retract well … and god knows where she got it from. I am sure she did not buy it. She said “It works, OK?”

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The meal was somewhat expensive as you can see. Maybe we will come back again … maybe not. If we do, it is just for nostalgia sake and when we wanted Cantonese homestyle food.

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This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Elaine

    If you do go back again Ben, trying their dim sum. It’s super cheap and the quality is decent, although the selection is small.

    1. Ben

      Hi Elaine: Thanks. I will. I heard about their cheap dim sum before. Do you remember how cheap they are? Ben

      1. Elaine

        Hmmm I don’t really remember. Maybe around the price range of South Ocean Seafood? Not sure…

      2. Jessica

        It’s $2.75 per dim sum item and then they have the menu of larger dishes (like congee, fried rice etc).

        And I think you just unluckily ordered some of their less successful dishes. You should ask the waiter next time what he recommends. I recommend the winter melon soup, the clams in the spicy lemon broth, and any of their steamed fishes (flounder is my favourite, although I’m not sure if they refer to it as flounder or another chinese name).

        If you’re feeling really indulgent, you should definitely try their king crab. It’s amazing. Although it’s pricier now because it’s not the peak of king crab season anymore, it’s definitely worth it. They steam the legs with butter and green onions, and then you can choose to use the delicious leftover sauce from the steamed legs in your next dish of king crab fried rice or fried noodles.

  2. LMAO: Thanks for the shout-out, Ben! I don’t know why their squab heads look like they have bullet holes through them, though. LOL Maybe that’s how they “took care of it.” 🙂

    1. LotusRapper

      “I don’t know why their squab heads look like they have bullet holes through them, though. LOL Maybe that’s how they “took care of it.” :)”

      ROTFLOL, sounds like a Mafia job !

    2. Ben

      Hi JS: He he he … how did you like how I named the technique? “JS Maneuver” sound pretty cool huh? LOL! Ben

  3. Rosie

    Pork stomach soup is supposed to be milky, and jung without mung beans is not really the norm, I think!

    1. Winnie

      Yes. Pork stomach soup done properly should be milky. For squab, I personally like its texture and gamey flavor.

      1. Ben

        Hi Winnie, Rosie:

        If I may … I beg to differ. Pork stomach soup is not supposed to be milky WHITE. Murky maybe but definitely not milky WHITE. Just to make my point, refer to the picture on this post which is like white milky. Refer simply to this link of images by googling Google Images for the word “pig stomach soup”. Every single image is not milky WHITE. Anyway, would love to hear from you what makes the pork stomach soup milky. I really do think that Lucky Tao has some additional ingredients that made it different.

        Ben

  4. Shirl

    Methinks it’s time to learn to read Chinese!

    1. LotusRapper

      Yeah, it’s …. offal …. when you think you’re eating something that’s different than what you thought it’d be !

    2. Ben

      Hi Shirl: We are too old to learn to read Chinese now. Should have listened to my dad when I was young. 🙂 Ben

      1. Buddha Girl

        Do what Buddha Boy does…he install this application that you can stroke the words in and tell you exact what it is…LOL!!! He’ll do anything for food! LOL!

        1. Ben

          Hi Buddha Girl: What application is that Buddha Boy is using? Is it an iPhone app? Would be a handy app to have on mine. Oh … about the pig brain, I had never tried pig brain soup before but my mum used to make pig brain omelette (with fried ginger). It was awesome. Suanne doesn’t want to make that because its too unhealthy, she said. And … No … pig brains are not gross. Not to me anyway. 🙂 Ben

          1. Marike

            Yes, I have the app (itouch/iphone) too!
            http://www.klausthul.com/ktdict/

            Fairly accurate at guessing what you want to input. Sometimes it can get cumbersome if the characters have many strokes!

          2. Ben

            Hi Marike: Thanks. I’ve downloaded the free version. Ben

          3. Buddha Girl

            BEN: I will ask Buddha Boy to send you an email about the application he uses! I am looking for pig brain recipes!!! Let you know when I mastered it!!!

  5. Buddha Girl

    **PROPS TO BEN** for trying the squab head! When even I eat those (usually at TG, and especially at TG)…I always have the eyes on me…from other tables or from their servers…LOL!!! I actually eat the whole thing! LOL! Have you tried pig brain soup before??? YUMMY! (I know…sounds gross!)

  6. Carina

    Great photo of you eating the squab head, that made me laugh!
    The photo of the steamed pork patty looked really disgusting and not even appetising, how could you try to eat that? I think I’ll stick to the steamed egg custard with pork mince.

    1. Ben

      He he he … Carina: Suanne and the boys were laughing at me too when I couldn’t bring myself to sink my teeth into the skull. So she said, “do it again” and took shots of me in action. She thought it’s funny to share that moment on chowtimes. 🙂 Ben

  7. James T.

    You are quite correct, some of us do subscribe to ChowTimes merely for the educational read. My self, my father, his father, his father, for ten or perhaps twenty generations have lived in this country. And all of my mothers have come from Northern Europe. As a result I was never exposed to any Oriental culture and find every tid-bit of information you write to be of interest to me.

    The most interesting fact was finding out that the foods we consider “chinese food” are not what people of your culture tend to eat.

  8. That first photo of you eating the squab head is amazing! I just eat the squab meat and not the head….too much cholesterol! LOL. I used to not like squab before…didn’t get the point in it since there was so little meat but now I like it. 🙂

    Squab is nice in the different flavor it has and it is also more nutritious. Although most restaurants fry it…I bake it when I make it at home!

  9. Carol

    lol

    that pen~ looks awfully like the ones that i put out to sign the release forms when we were at alvin garden XD

    if indeed is that one~ i’m sorry ben~ it’s from the 99cent store in richmond near the well bbt place~
    they were really really cheap~ i think a pack of 12 for maybe 2 or 3 dollars? BUT!! i’m still using them~ and they write fine to me~ but it’s true that it sometimes doesn’t retract….

      1. Ben

        LOL! That is so funny! Did you happen to lose one of yours pens during the filming of the 8GTCC Hunan dinner? Ben

  10. lucie

    most of the chineese are really disgusting i hope karma punish u people for what u doing 2 poor animals

  11. Pinoy Gourmet

    FPoor ilipinos also eat Chicken heads and Chicken Feet,When you earn 5$ a day and have nothing,You eat the whole chicken.I suppose you prefer that 3rd world people starve then eat the whole animal nothing is wasted.I dare you to eat nothing for 48 hours and lets see if you will eat a chicken head

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