“Wind Sand” Chicken Wings from Parker Place Food Court


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 once 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.

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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).

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Here it is … the Wind Sand Chicken Wings from Parker Good Food.

A quick visual comparison between Taikoo’s (see image below) and Parker Good Food shows that Taikoo’s is better.

Chicken Wing at Taikoo

Chicken Wing at Taikoo

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.

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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.

Sand Ginger Seasoning

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!

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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!

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After the chicken wings, we went over to the Shanghai Goodies stall for the main meal.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Parker Good Food 百家美食 (Parker Place) on UrbanspoonShanghai Goodies (Parker Place) on Urbanspoon

47 thoughts on ““Wind Sand” Chicken Wings from Parker Place Food Court

  1. They have wind sand chicken wings at Crystal Mall too, at the Libo cafe. They’re very crunchy and delish.

    Sad to hear about the changes at Wo Fung. No wonder i don’t see the usual staff there anymore. Oh well, Crystal Mall is closer.

    I might try Parker Good Food and the Taikoo as comparisons for future reference though.

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  4. all this talk about wings is making me hongray! i didn’t know that the Wo Fung is the same as the old Aberdeen which was my fave before the mall was torn down. But I rembr the original WF wings didn’t have ginger, and it was just the middle part (no drums and tips) where the current ones are the full wings and tips. The price was better back then too, $2.50 for 8 wings! lol

    • Yes, it’s a pity! I, too, loved their wings & “chei-chai” noodles – so good. I was so surprised when I recently went there and noticed that all the people working there were different. The food tasted different too – that’s how I found out that there was a change in owners. The food tastes less good from before.

  5. props to buddha girl – i guess wo fung is the O.G. =)

    “She told us that in the old days in China, …many people could not afford the wasteful use of scarce oil to deep fry…”
    -judging from the dark colour of her chicken wings… seems like she couldn’t afford the wasteful use of oil either! hahaha
    i think salted fish was wind dried too (and still is!), not sure about baking it tho but it’s a daring process.

    • Yea…I was just there this afternoon and noticed the sign looked different and the menu looked a bit different too…but I didn’t try it since I did not see much people lining up…and it was lunch time too!!!

      • Oops…sorry Ben…I was loading the pix from my camera to my comp…sorry…not a techie so not sure of the proper terms…hehehe…

        What I meant was, I noticed the time printed on the receipt from Cafe D’Lite when I visited Aberdeen this afternoon to check out Wo/Wu Fong…it was after lunch rush…

      • Hi Buddha Girl: I was checking all the Wo Fung pictures on blogs/internet and the old spelling is Wo Fung. Did you notice by any chance if the name is still spelt as “Wo Fung” in your visit today? Ben

      • Oops…I did not take any pictures…I should’ve!!! I’m not a very responsible blogger huh? I did not pay attention, I was paying more attention on their menu…did change…more noodle selections and prices have gone up.

      • this’ll be my mission for thursday or friday ! take pics of the aberdeen place and maybe drop by taikoo if i have time!

      • Awesome, neige.tyro:

        Hope you share the pictures. He he he … I hope you ask “Wo Fung” where the original Wo Fung had moved to. Oh … and also why they raised their prices. 🙂

        If you do go to Mr Taikoo tell him you are an agent of chowtimes and for him to show you his 12 year old master sauce. You mission, should you accept it, is to spy on his deep fryer and see if he uses old oil.

        This comment will self-destruct in 10 seconds … pssst!

    • I remembered Wo Fung was the first one in 604 that started “Wind-Sand Wings” (風沙雞翼)…they started in the old Aberdeen Centre about 15 years ago and there’s always a line-up…is it still in Aberdeen? I think I recall seeing some posting (elsewhere) saying it’s closed???

      • That’s what I heard too … that the original Wu/Wo Fung sold the business just recently and then made a small change in the name to read Wu to Wo or vice versa. Am too lazy to look but if someone could scour pix of that stall on the Internet, we might be able to figure this out. I could be wrong but it will be interesting to find out. Ben

      • The original owners have definitely sold the place. The chicken wings are smaller and the prices seem to have gone up too. 😦

      • Hi Buddha Girl:

        I am so amazed you know all these thing … about Wu Fung being the first to introduce wind-sand chicken wings to Vancouver 15 years ago in the old Aberdeen Center. How on earth do you remember these sort of stuff? 🙂 I would have thought that sand-wind chicken had been around for eons already because it seems like a traditional Cantonese food. Am learning new things everyday.

        BTW, are they also called Wu Fung during the early days in the old Aberdeen Center? It took a while when they tore down the old Aberdeen before the new one is up … did they just close shop during construction or did they opened at another place? Do you know by any chance?

        I am so interested with these kind of stories of the people behind long standing businesses.

        Ben

      • Hi Ben:

        Sorry, correctly speaking, I am not sure if it’s exactly 15 years ago, but it’s at least 15+ years. When I first came to Canada (about 21 years ago), my dad owned one of the food stalls in the old Aberdeen, then few years later, Wu/Wo Fong opened up…so I’am estimating it’s about 15+ years ago when they first started.

        I was too young to remember the name of the stall at that time…the only thing I remembered it that we always had to line up and wait…LOL! But when the new centre opened, my friend (who worked at Fairchild at that time) told me it’s the same family running it…until I saw a posting recently (can’t remember where) indicating it’s closed.

      • Thanks for all the info, Buddha Girl. 🙂 Gosh, I can’t remember what Aberdeen even looked like before this current one is opened. Oh, they are proceeding to build the extension to Aberdeen … I hope that place is also dedicated to food! Ben

      • He he he … we hope that there will be more food places … AND that they design the parking levels better. They have to fire the feng sui guy who designed the existing car park and get another feng sui fellow who has a background in Civil Engineering. LOL! Ben

      • I know! Every single time we go there, Buddha Boy complains…he kept saying how dumb the design was…OMG! It’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen! Dum-dum feng shui guy, I should refer my mom there for the engineering if it’s just feng shui!!! GOSH!!!

      • Geez, this brings back old memories of the original Aberdeen mall. I remember it used to have a bowling alley in the left wing and a movie house on the second floor. The foodcourt then was just in a small section on the ground floor. There was also an upscale Top Gun Restaurant on the second floor. Yes this is going waaay back.

      • I know!!! Back in those days, I remember we used to go drinking every night at the pub inside the bowling alley…and the best thing was…once they locked the outside doors (to the parking from the bowling alley)…the pub stayed open till late…once we stayed there till 6am!!! Ahhh…those were the days…

        I think Top Gun used to have two restaurants in the old centre, Rhino (above the bowling alley) and TG (above the movie theatre)…then they sold Rhino to a group of HK entertainment guys, and sold the bowling alley (and the pub) to Wing-Ko (later went bankrupt).

      • Yeah, the first Top Gun restaurant was in the same space as the eCanteen restaurant on Westminster HWY. I remember I signed up for the Top Gun card and my card number was 11. It was free back then. Unfortunately I lost the card.

      • Hi Crispy:

        Wow, #11 … and what more, free too! Total respect. I never knew that back then you are also so cheap. LOL! I think Buddha Girl can pull some strings for you to have Top Gun reinstate you and properly recognize you as one of the pioneers of the TG Card.

        Ben

      • OMG! Ben is so mean!!! LOL!

        Honestly, I don’t know where was the first TG…some told me it was where Harbour is right now, but some also told me it was where e-canteen is right now…not sure…hahaha I will ask and confirm!!!

        Ahhh…E-Canteen…our old hangout too when it was Xing Xing…good old times…

        I should really be studying right now but all this talk is making me really hungry!!!

      • LOL Ben, you know me so well. Actually when I was new to Canada I was a lot more cheap then. I used to convert the price of everything I intend to buy to Philippine pesos and of course they came up more expensive. That held me back in buying unnecessary stuff back then. How about you guys? Did you ever do that? Comparing prices back home and here? Not talking about just food but everything else.

      • Hi Crispy: Hmmm … I don’t remember if we ever did that. We knew Vancouver would be expensive but for sure, we were a lot more careful about money in the early days. Ben

      • Ben: LOL! No…no! I was just bugging ya since you mentioned to Lechon “I never knew that back then you are also so cheap.”

        Lechon: My mom did that when she first came to Canada…converting EVERYTHING to NT$…LOL!!!

      • Lechon: You are right! The first TG was where E-canteen is right now! Props to you!!! Hehehehe! Btw…did you say you were #11 card or you were 11-years old when you applied for your first card?

  6. there’s a place in abeerdeen that does wind-sand chicken wings, i forgot the name but a lot of ppl who had it really likes it. i only had it once and didn’t like it because i don’t eat ginger and it was laced with lots of ginger bits (it’s fried together).

    does susanne hoard the sweet salt that siu lap poe’s have to marinade their chickens? if so, where does she get it (i can’t find it anywhere)? the only place i can get it if when i bring a container to the siu lap poes and ask the butchers nicely for some! i don’t know if there’s a proper name for it tho

  7. I have to redo my master sauce. It was so good that we used most it up as sauce for rice. Next time I will add a lot more liquid.

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