In 2003 I started working in Belville with my friend Albert du Plessis, from his home. We started a partnership music booking agency for local rock ‘n roll artists. It was a very exciting time in my life and I enjoyed being part of this small and vibrant growing industry. During that time I also discovered a few take-away spots in the Northern Suburbs, one of which is Ho-Ho Take-Aways in Kenridge. It was run by a soft-spoken tiny Chinese woman, and she was a legend in the way that she stuffed your foamalite take-away container full of freshly cooked food. My favourite was always her sweet & sour pork – warm, crispy, golden nuggets with a small container of sweet and sour dipping sauce. I would stand in her shop, mesmerized, looking at the way she filled the containers with her scoop. More, more, always more. It was a value-for-money bonanza, and the best sweet & sour pork that I’ve ever tasted. She’s still there as far as I know, but sadly I don’t frequent that neck of the woods that often anymore.
This is the closest I could come to Ho-Ho’s legendary sweet & sour pork. Be sure to eat it straight from the fryer, as it becomes a bit softer on standing. If you’re feeling lazy, buy some sweet & sour sauce from your local speciality store instead of making your own.
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar
- 10-15 ml soy sauce
- 45 ml tomato sauce (I prefer All Gold)
- 20 ml corn flour, mixed with 125 ml cold water
Mix the sugar, vinegar, soy and tomato sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the cornflour/water mixture, then turn down to a simmer and stir until thickened – it will happen quite quickly. Remove from the heat and set aside. Serve warm or cold as a dipping sauce.
Ingredients for the pork: (serves 2)
- 2 XL eggs
- 60 ml cake flour
- 60 ml corn flour
- a pinch of salt
- canola oil for deep-frying
- 250 g lean pork meat (like fillet or steak), trimmed and cubed (about 2 x 2 cm)
- Mix the eggs, cake flour, corn flour and salt together to a sticky batter.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat until it reaches around 180 C.
- Dip the cubes of pork into the batter and carefully drop into the hot oil, frying until golden on all sides. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with sweet & sour sauce.
Recipe, food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe
Photography: Tasha Seccombe
Assistant: Scott Armstrong