Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mexican Chicken Hof

It’s been months since I went to that crazy restaurant, and I probably should have done this post much earlier, but even so it feels like only yesterday that I sat down to the strangest meal I’ve ever had in my life. I realize now that I will never forget about the dining experience that was Mexican Chicken Hof.

The place was recommended to us by a friend who described it as a Korean BBQ. So you can imagine my surprise when we got there and saw the sign proudly declaring it to be a Mexican restaurant. Also, it featured a cartoon chicken gleefully asking us to eat him. Already, before walking through the door, I could tell that this was going to be… special. Once inside, I was overwhelmed by the inconsistency of the d├ęcor. It looked like a flea market crossed with my grandpa’s basement and a museum of modern art that was also somehow a restaurant. There were bizarre paintings, tacky souvenirs, half-dead plants, and all manner of odds and ends. In a way, these furnishing suited the restaurant perfectly for the randomness seen all around would be reflected in the food they served.

After being seated, a colourful array of plastic cups was doled out to everybody before pitchers of water were passed around. And by “pitchers” I of course mean various Tupperware containers that might be used to hold cereal, of which no two were alike. This was soon followed by the appetizer: baskets of popcorn. Not any special kind of Korean or Mexican popcorn, but just regular popcorn that you get from a bag. I have nothing against popcorn, and indeed their popcorn tasted fine, but I couldn’t help but feel that none of this made any goddamn sense and I felt strangely uneasy while eating it. Next came the chicken which despite their differences in size and appearance, really only seemed to have two different varieties: deep-fried or spicy red sauce. The deep-fried one also came with honey-mustard sauce that kinda looked like mango pudding. This would be the most coherent part of the whole experience. The next course was corn covered in melted cheese which up until this point I never really thought of as a dish. In fact I still don’t. That being said, it tasted exactly like corn covered in cheese so I guess in that respect it was a success. Once that was all gone, they gave us some chili cheese fries. At this point I realized that we were in neither a Korean BBQ nor a Mexican Chicken Hof, but a restaurant epitomizing the Korean conception of a Mexican restaurant. This would be the closest I’d come to understanding the logic of the place, and even this loose comprehension was complicated by dessert which was of course sliced watermelon. Wait, fried chicken and watermelon? Is this the result of a Korean’s somewhat racist attempt to appeal to black people? If so, then why did they choose to set up shop in Burnaby? At this point I decided there probably wasn’t an answer to any of these questions and just accepted the place for what it was: crazy.

In closing, I left the place full, and relatively content with the quality and price of the food. I suppose if you were to take each individual element of Mexcian Chicken Hof and look at it by itself, then it seems reasonable enough, but when you put it all together you get one giant barrel of I-don’t-know-what-the-fuck.

Bonus points to whoever comments on their own bizarre dining experience.