I'm going to be in Toronto for the next couple of months on business. I'm from New york, so have a bit of everything here. I've done all the basics of most cuisines ( not that strong in Africa). I'm looking for interesting spots to eat. By interesting, I mean unusual ingredients simply and well prepared. I much preferred a $5 plate of minced pork steamed with dry squid to the 50 Euro roast chicken that the French president took Bill Clinton to. Or ingredients served in ways I'm not familir with. I recently had manchego cheese served with honey and nuts and a glass of port that was a perfect end to a nice Spanish dinner. Unusual game is always good. I'm Chinese, so I have a slight bias in that direction. Are there any places that pull the noodles for soup noodles for you like in streetside Shanghai or Fukien? Are there any Toysan places? I'm also looking for a good beef pancake ( A Fukien thing, kind of like a scallion pancake stuffed with beef, scallions, cilantro, etc.). Also, if anyone wants a partner in exploring, drop me a line. I find that on these food quests, the more the merrier.
There always seem to be questions about Toysan cuisine, so here goes. Geograpraphically, Toysan is an area north of the city of Guangzhou. I'm not certain if it's in the province or not. In my mind, Toysan cooking is somewhat more peasant ( and I mean this in the finest culinary sense possible) than classical Cantonese fare. There is more use dried ingredients, less use of fresh ingredients, and everything is steamed. My favorite Toysan place (and only, they are hard to find) in New York only has one wok in it. Some of my favorite Toysan dishes in addition to the ones listed previously are frogs steamed with dried duck, or pork belly steamed with preserved mustard greens. Now, in cantonese or Shanghai cooking you can get the pork belly stewed with soy sauce, sugar, and mustard greens, which is delicious, but I consider that more typical Chinese fare and relatively easy to find.
Also, remmeber, I am not limiting myself to Chinese food. I have a slight bias in that direction, but it's all good to me.
I think Ding Tai Fung up in Markham does hand pulled noodles, keep meaning to go and try the place, but it's hard for us since most of the people we know have self-imposed dietary restrictions. Sometimes it seems we're the last hold outs of the "I'll try anything once" group. As you know, Asian food is best eaten with a fair sized group...
Also up in that area are places for Vietnamese curry crab (search on "Vietnamese" on the Toronto page and you'll see my entry). There's also great Chinese food to be had here, better than San Francisco and I think even New York, altho the latter was limited to family events. Great place for fried pigeon and snake soup in Scarborough. Good, cheap Taiwanese places. For good wonton mein Scarborough, Markham, Richmond Hill are the places to go, the good noodles just don't seem to make it downtown.
We have a great Korean area on Bloor St between Bathurst and Christie with lots of choice - including pork bone soup and this other cold soup noodle which really hits the spot in the summer for cheap and good eats. As for cheese and wine, the best thing to do is go to St Lawrence Market or the Cheese Boutique to make your selection and share with friends. After having had good cheese plates in France and Italy, the ones served in restaurants here pale in comparison. We were in Paris a couple of years and actually brought a bunch of cheese and wine back to share with friends.
Sorry about the ramble, I should ask, what do you consider unusual game?
There's a meet, greet & eat in Toronto on Sat Apr 3rd - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors say that Toronto has the best Chinese(all my Chinese friends and relatives from NY say this). Old Chinatown is ok (Spadina & Dundas), but I prefer north Chinatown up on Highway 7. Warning: crazy parking & crazy Chinese driving:
- First Markham Place plaza (crazy parking) at Highway 7 (east of Woodbine, west of Warden) - there is a Shanghai restaurant that might have fresh noodles, but not sure
- Highway 7 & Kennedy or Pacific Mall and Market Village (you can get those fresh made egg/waffle pastry balls in Pacific Mall) at Kennedy & Steeles in Markham.
- There is a Taiwanese mall at Steeles & Ferrier (west of Warden); might have the fresh noodles?
Never knew there was a Toysan cuisine.
Hot Pot is popular if you're into that.
For different entertainment, there is belly dancing at the Sultan's Tent; never been there so can't comment.