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Jun 15, 2006 05:43 PM

Swatow rec's

  • p

Returning home on a late (no food Air Canada) flight, we found ourselves in search of a meal around 1:30am the other day and mozied on over to Chinatown. We saw that Swatow was open - half full, in fact - and ventured in. Pleased to see that Susur Lee was eating at a back table, I was tempted to say "I'll have what he's having" but instead, we tried the "special fried rice noodles" (pretty good) and the fried (egg) noodles with veggies and slices of bbq'd pork (outstanding). It was a perfect late-night snack.

So now that I have this place on my radar, what should I try next? I've heard good things about the shrimp dumpling soup. Any other rec's? Thanks.

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  1. The pan-fried dumplings are great-just order them well-done and with the sauce on a separate plate so they stay crispy. Shrimp dumpling soup is great (add a litlte of the spicy oil that's on the table), Singapore noodles are good as is the beef with chines brocoli. General Tsao Chicken is also pretty good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ROB

      May I add the clams in blackbean sauce...... Yum!

      1. re: Fredster

        And the chicken in the black bean sauce...heaven!

    2. wicked szechuan eggplant in black bean sauce with shrimp!!

      1. I would recommend trying the shrimp in lobster sauce on favourite.

        1. I dont think you could ever go wrong with a place like Swatow. I mean, why would Susur be there then, right? But its one of those Chinese joints that's there for soooo long that its mastered its menu; nothing can go wrong, except that the person ordering may not prefer the dish.

          I go there to have noodles in soups. Those really hit home. Try ordering your noodles in soups with their brisket sauce--it adds extra flavour.

          7 Replies
          1. re: jennjen

            Swaton is good for rice and noodles. Their main dishes are not up to par, generally speaking.

            1. re: TPC

              I have tried Swatow on a couple of occasions, as all of the good reviews made me think that I was ordering the wrong things.
              The second time was O.K., but we were still underwhelmed.

              1. re: erly

                I'm glad to know I'm not alone. I found it so . . . I don't know . . . "up and down". So completely inconsistent.

                The Special Fried Noodle was good. The Szechuan Shrimp were excellent. The Hot and Sour soup was worse than imaginable!! Like soupy dishwater. Ick. The Cantonese noodles with beef were made with hangar steak (or another heavy inner cut) and were just too, too beefy and heavy for me.

            2. re: jennjen

              >>why would Susur be there then, right?
              Because it's the only place open late at night in Chinatown that doesn't risk a gun/fist fight :)

              1. re: jennjen

                Actually, I went very wrong at Swatow. I must have ordered ALL the wrong dishes because I was unimpressed. This was at least a year ago. I haven't gone back. I'd rather eat at King's Noodle or New Sky. Here's another thread that includes suggestions on what to order, after my initial complaint on this board, but I haven't given it a second chance yet, when there are so many better places out there!


                1. re: Food Tourist

                  Swatow is best known for their fresh-made noodles and dumplings in soup. It is no where in the league of New Sky for other dishes. In fact some of the dishes at Swatow are IMO hard to eat because of a greasy flavour.

                  Once upon a time we used to go to Swatow for noodles and dumplings in soup and then head across to Happy Seven for Lobster and Fried Rice.

                  Now I Just go to New Sky for everything as I love their dumplings too. I also love goldstone for noodles and dumplings, as well as great BBQ items.

                  1. re: Food Tourist

                    Exactly. Swatow is riding off Joanne Kate's reviews from the 80's. Their won-ton soup is less than mediocre. The shrimps used in the soup are riddled with Brown feces digestive strings. It is nauseating. There are so many other places exceeding swatow. The service is rude and unwelcoming too.

                2. I'm sure that I'll get raspberries for this one but...

                  #111. Sweet and sour pork.

                  I know, I know, a North Americanization of the cuisine, but they really are the very absolutely best s&s pork I've ever had... I keep going back again and again and again for 'em because I just can't resist. Decadent, too, and not for the faint of heart: crunchy, fatty, blow up in your mouth pork. Yum.


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Schmal

                    Slight tangent, but oddly enough sweet and sour pork is most likely not a North Americanization since you can find it in Hong Kong and possibly other places in Southern China as well. On a more on-tangent note, great sweet and sour pork can also be had up at Times Square at Leslie and Hwy 7 (for us uptowners) at a place called Judy Cuisine (if it still exists). Went there a couple years back, I'd describe it the same way Schmal describes it.

                    1. re: Curtis

                      Yep, sweet and sour pork is an "authentic" Chinese dish... but most North American restaurants turn it into a rather frightening looking red mess. The genuine sweet and sour sauce has an amber color and isn't nearly as sweet as what you find here. Only the food gods knows why restaurants decided to add red food colouring.

                      1. re: Jo

                        I prefer to refer to it as 'the orange sauce' :)

                        That's interesting: I was going to add to my post that the BEST s&s I've ever had was in (of all places) a teensy little town in Saskatchewan called Kelvington. Every prairie town has a chinese place. They have chicken balls like I've never had anywhere, and the sauce was the amber to which you refer. Presumably they're so far off the beaten track that they have to make their own? Does anyone know a spot that serves the amber sauce in TO?


                        1. re: Schmal

                          I grew up in Western Canada and never saw the red sauce until I hit Eastern Canada. Toronto is east for people born in Calagary ;-)

                          I like the eggplant with garlic and shrimp at Sawtow, I've never had anything bad there.

                        2. re: Jo

                          >>Only the food gods knows why restaurants decided to add red food colouring

                          Because the red colouring used here is a lot cheaper than the original colouring agent in powder form.