Hou Lok Restaurant on Cambie Rd, Richmond

It had been almost five years since we last visited this restaurant next to the T&T Supermarket on Cambie Road. The Hou Lok Restaurant is actually one of the earliest restaurant posts I had written.

This restaurant is so low key that for the longest time I had forgotten about them. Even driving past this restaurant I did not even notice it is there. It came back on my radar when Keev organized a “dalang” chowdown with a focus … get this … chicken TESTICLES! You gotta read the fmed’s report on chowhound here.

No we did not join that chowdown because it was held late night on a weekday.

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Suanne and I went to Hou Lok last week to have their late night supper. In Chinese it is called “dalang” but we were not exactly sure what that word means. At that time, we were thinking that it could be from the word “da-lang-jan” as in shivering in Chinese.

Well, Suanne found out the following from a forum:

“Da lang” is 打冷. The 冷 is not pronounced in Cantonese, but same as Chiu Chow pronounciation for 人 (different tone).

In older Cantonese da 打 can mean eat, while the Cantonese 冷 has the same pronounciation as, but different tone from, the Chiu Chow word 人. The Chiu Chow people in HK used to call themselves “ga gi lang” (?) 自己人 among fellow Chiu Chow people.

So combined “Da lang” 打冷 means “eating Chiu Chow people’s food” (it’s more like a slang).

Interesting, huh?

Anyway, Suanne and I are more familiar with using the word “siu yeh” for these late night suppers.

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Hou Lok is one of those restaurants that we feel left out. They have a lot of special dishes pasted on the walls throughout the restaurant and they are all in Chinese only.

The restaurant is quite well maintained but we could see that it is also a well seasoned restaurant. There are so many new restaurants in Richmond that a restaurant this old just stands out.

Service wise we were well taken care of. Anyway there were only three other tables taken that night and so getting service when we need it was not a problem.

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This restaurant is definitely a restaurant that specializes in “da lang”. They open at 5 PM and keeps open until 4 AM in the morning!

As we got seated, they have us a sheet of 2-sided menu. The one on the left (click to enlarge) was the one we ordered from. It’s amazing … they have 80 dishes listed and every one of them is $5 only. If you order four items (i.e. $20), they will give us a complimentary large bowl of congee. If not for the free congee offer, we would have ordered just two, maybe three dishes.

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The first of four dish is the Szechuan Style Spicy Chicken. The Chinese name for this dish is Weird-Taste … Chicken. I am not sure why this dish has such a strange name. Anyone knows?

The chicken is served on a bed of deep fried vermicelli (or was it just puffed up?) and topped with fried peanuts. The chicken tasted vinegarish but it certainly was not “weird-taste” as the name implied.

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The second dish is the Pork Ear in Hot and Spicy Sauce.

This one has a sesame oil flavour and of course it is crunchy. Pig ear does not have much flavour. It is eaten merely for its texture. We like pig ear.

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The Fish Ball and Pork Skin with Radish was our favourite for the night. There were a lot of radish while the fish ball was springy. The best part to us was the pork skin … so soft and spongey.

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The fourth item was the Deep Fried Pork Chop with Peppery Salt. It is topped with fried garlic, green onion and chili. While it was crispy and spicy, it was no where near the excellent ones we had in YY Village.

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The good thing about the porridge is that we can have a choice of either the plain one or the one flavoured with sai yeong choi (what’s the English name for this vegetable?) and beef. The congee was just OK. Anyway it is not supposed to be eaten by itself and the flavours comes from the dishes that accompany this.

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It is cheap for sure. What we had was more than enough for three people.

Suanne and I sleeps early and do not have a lot of times when we go out for late night suppers. So, we are not familiar with the restaurants that specializes in “da lang” meals. Do you have a favourite “da lang” restaurant?

Hou Lok Restaurant 陶樂海鮮粥麵食館 on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Marike

    sai yeung choy is watercress! 🙂

  2. LotusRapper

    This is how I understand the story behind the Sichuan “strange taste” chicken’s name: http://goo.gl/5D42j

    1. Ben

      Awesome link Lotus, thanks for doing the research!

  3. Eric

    Deep Fried Pork Chop with Peppery Salt is my FAVOURITE. Good find!

  4. Wow, it looks so fancy inside. I would never have expected this interior, judging from its exterior.

  5. fmed

    I like Landmark Hotpot’s da lang menu.

  6. Ara

    自己人 is ‘ga gi nang’ in Chiu Chow.
    Check out http://gaginang.org/ for more about Chiu Chow / Teochew language

    I am Teochew and I never heard anyone use the term lang for 人.

    1. Ben

      Hi Ara:

      Dunno man. I just copied it verbatim from a forum that discussed the origin of the name “da lang”. But hey, that’s an awesome site. Gosh, I did not know that there is a site dedicated to Teochew culture. Thanks for the link.

      Ben

      1. TimeToChow

        自己人 is ‘ga gi nang’ in Chiu Chow. 人 is ren in mandarin, yan in cantonese, nang in chiu chow and lang in fukkein, i think.
        prob just a pronounciation thing i suppose.

  7. Buddha Boy

    Ben,

    BG and I went to this restaurant late one night and had questionable people there. They were smoking and we weren’t going to risk our lives asking them to put it out. I don’t remember how the food was except that the prices were pretty cheap.

    As Marike stated, sai yeong choy is watercress, it brings back memories when my parents would go out to Langley/Abbotsford and harvest watercress on the side of the road, ah, the good ol days.

    BB

  8. grayelf

    @eatingclubvancouver_ js: this resto is SO not fancy. Ben’s pic makes it looks way more elegant than it is — funny how that happens with photos; just look at a real estate site if you don’t believe me 🙂 We had fun there at the Chowhound da lang but I can’t say I was uber blown away by the food. Good value though. And I got my chicken ball sash!

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