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HELP - Looking for real Hakka Food in TO!!!

  • h

Does anyone know where I can find real Hakka food in TO???

I've tried the infamous Fredricks and I was quite turned off by what was offered.

My parents are of Hakka origin, and I can tell you what they serve at these so-called Hakka restaurants in TO is quite a liberal interpretation of Hakka food.

The Hakka are actually a nomadic people in China that migrated from the North to the South. Since they were on the move a lot, they had to create dishes out of ingredients that would not spoil readily. Hence, their widespread use of preserved vegetables and meats.

True Hakka food includes braised belly pork with preserved vegetables, various stir fried meats with preserved vegetables in a rice wine flavoured sauce, and various vegetables or tofu stuffed with minced meat and fish.

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  1. Kimling on Lawrence East at Birchmount.

    1. Try Federicks in Scarborough. It's the best !

      4 Replies
      1. re: Diao nia meh

        The original poster indicated that this place was already tried and dismissed.

        1. re: Diao nia meh

          your opinion.

          mine was just the reverse.

          bad food with alot of hype.

          stay away!!!!

          1. re: bob

            Federick's is actually the worst. I did a taste test with a friend of a bunch of "Hakka" joints. Federick's was really the worst, by far.

          2. It's a problem. The only real Hakka(ke jia, lit. "Guest People" in Guoyu)resto I knew of was the original Lee Gardens on Spadina where the cooks and chefs were all Meixian speakers and the food was legit. Now, I'm not so sure. I need to ask around and find out since there's bound to be someone in the east end who does the real thing. The closest analog to the Hakkas are probably the Cajuns if you're grasping for parallels. Socio-historical rants aside, the so-called Hakka food that's Indo-Chinese fusion doesn't have much--if anything--to do with mainland cuisine.

            1. lin garden, vic park and sheppard

              1. I have always enjoyed the Hakka options at Danforth Dragon at 861 Danforth Avenue, between Pape and Donlands, on the south side. Not the best atmosphere, but the food, in my opinion, is excellent.

                1 Reply
                1. re: V

                  I second the posting about the Danforth Dragon (861 Danforth) ...excellent food!!!!! My taste buds were soaring for days

                2. Is there anyone who can tell me the chinese names of hakka dishes so I can look for them on non-Hakka restos? I've been to several Hakka Indian restos and asked for authentic Hakka dishes but they say they don't do...only when Hakka people come in and ask for it with 24 hours notice they will make. But I don't know what they dishes are --- help me.

                  Kim Kim on Kennedy just north of Lawrence was delicious Hakka Indian. Spicy Dragon on Kennedy just south of Lawrence was delicious, too.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: simonetai

                    I effing love KIM KIM HAKKA INDIAN RESTAURANT>..they make the best tandooris dish and the BEST TANDOORI CHICKEN FILLED PARATHA ROLLS>... THIS IS A MUST.... it is one of the best dishes in TORONTO..... I went there to day and I swear it was better than all the restaurants I've been to combined... IT's a must!! This is MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANT.. no competition whatsoever!!! I repeat a must

                    I bought 9 of them out of which I sparingly and begrudgingly gave my Dad, one I gave and the other one he borrowed while I was out!! I was peeved...but that's another story!!!

                    1. re: WhitePhoenix

                      The OP's NOT INTERESTED in the fusion version of Indian/Chinese food, OK?

                      1. re: Kagemusha

                        I second Kim Kim amazing Hakka! and cheap too!

                    2. re: simonetai

                      The thing is many Hakka-originated dishes have been incorporated into Southern Chinese cuisine and you can find some of them in Cantonese restos. I found references to some dishes with a google search in Chinese. Of the most famous ones, braised belly pork with preserved vegetables, stuffed bean curd (both listed by the OP ) and salt-baked chicken can be found all over. Other dishes that can be found easily are braised sea cucumber, whole duck with 8 ingredients. Ones that I have never seen before include salted vegetables with distillers’ grains (leftovers from rice wine making) and veggie buns with rice-flour skin.

                      I remember being surprised when an Indian friend asked me about Hakka restos. "Why would someone from India know about an obscure Chinese cuisine?" Turns out what they call Hakka is totally different from "real" Hakka.

                      1. re: Teep

                        I'll second kim Ling's on Lawrence...I'll also recommend Lucky's on Lawrence (couple blocks east of Markham rd.). There are two Luckys locations (the other is at Lawrence and Midland) but I prefer the east location...has been recently redecorated and is not your traditional suburban chinese joint. Lots of nice wood soothing colours...though the multiple TV banging out Bollywood hits are a bit of a distraction, but the groups of Indian familes who eat here seem to like it. The food is very good and very spicey. The fish pakoras are outstanding. Always busy and for good reason.

                    3. To Hakka Lacky who may not know - what is termed "Hakka food" in Toronto actually came from India, it is not a Toronto-only thing. These are fusion dishes created by Hakka who emigrated to India and the name stuck. As Indians in term emigrated to Canada, they brought this cuisine along. So people who don't know about the real Hakka food from China will think this "chili chicken" stuff is representative of Hakka.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Teep

                        I do not understand why people keep on recommending indian Hakka food when the OP is requesting for 'Real' Hakka food which has nothing to do with indian food, no wonder he never post back ...

                        Please understand Hakka cuisine (the original one from China) has nothing to do with indian cuisine, just like Teep said.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Totally agree. Try Kim Kim. Authentic Hakka at its finest.

                          1. re: Fat Swine

                            What dishes do you like at Kim Kim?

                      2. Generally when people are nomads their food sucks big time. Eat what you can for where you are...then move on...find somthing else moving...eat it... then move on.... Try Kim Kim or Federicks. These restos don't move anywhere and the food is authentic and tasty from a bunch of folks who are not always on the move.

                        1. You can also try "Tangerine" at Markham Rd. and 14th.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: niravirali

                            No don't! Tangerine is the worst I've tried in Toronto.

                          2. Chung Moi ...... i ate in their restaurant in Karachi and eat in their restaurant here. Their Hot and Sour soup is the best. Manchurian Fried Noodles and Hakka Fried rice is great also

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kernalpanx

                              Once again, Indian "Hakka" food is NOT real Hakka food, which is completely Chinese in origin, and is what the OP asked for.

                            2. Sorry for misunderstanding, the OP and what it wants.. forget the fact that Kim Kim maybe not a authentic "Hakka" restaurant, I can accept that. I have been to other places not just Hakka style food or imitation, whatever. But Kim Kim Hakka Indian happens to be one of my favorite restaurants just in terms of taste, service and price. Other than that I love my sushi!!! HOLLA ;)

                              1. Just had dinner at Kimling Chinese restaurant (2173 Lawrence Ave E) tonight. Singularly unimpressed. Real hit and miss. Everything was very oily and greasy. The pepper chicken was pretty tasty, but the lemon fish had an unappetizing preserved flavour.

                                Everything seemed to be deep-fried in the same old oil. I've been burping up this same stuff all night.

                                Overall, it didn't seem like Hakka to me - it just seemed like sub-par Chinese food.
                                I definitely will not be going back.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gps_shag

                                  A new place we tried is Hakka Thai Dynasty at Wilson on Keele ..... just opened and had really good food..... service was a little slow as they were soft opening and hired staff were starting this week i was told.
                                  But the food was good and the owners were husband and wife working.

                                2. Most of these recommendations are all Hakka Indian fusion, which is not real Hakka food.

                                  There's a restaurant in the south-east part of the Milliken Wells plaza (although I always called it Alton Towers plaza) on McCowan, just south of Steeles - they serve real Hakka dishes. I can't remember the name, but just go in and ask them. They look like another hole in the wall Chinese place. I think it is the 1st or 2nd restaurant right on the SE corner, by McCowan.