I don't have a reference handy. But as other commenters have stated, it's probably a regional form the word that means "to drink" in Mandarin and is written 喝. Words for "to eat" and "to drink" tend to cross over a certain amount between those exact senses.
As for the sound that reminds you of hou, the open final -e in Mandarin is a rather rare sound in Chinese — it's a diphthong whose phonetics are roughly [ɯɘ] or [ɯə] in Standard Mandarin — and regional equivalents are typically forms of [o].
This meaning "to consume [food]" is a fairly recent association for the character 喝 — with the modern pronunciation hè, it's attested in the meanings "to frighten" and "to berate", and is seen in those meanings in old texts. There's another reading yè for meanings connected with choking or sounds of choking, but these uses are only found in pre-modern writing.
Though neither the word nor the character is likely to be related to hè 嚇 'to frighten" or hē 訶 "to berate".
We still use 喝 in the pronunciation hè to mean "to cry out", as in yāohe 吆喝 "to shout one's wares (said of peddlers)" and hècǎi 喝彩 "to cheer (as at a sports event)". The character is attested in this sense by the Sòng.