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Muslim Chinese food

e
Ender Mar 7, 2007 08:49 AM

So I'm in search of any Muslim style Chinese restaurants that might be in/around Toronto. Also anywhere that might serve Xianjiang style food would be awesome too. Especially Naan bo Su

  1. Gostenhofer Dec 17, 2009 10:39 AM

    I am going to echo the praise above for Silk Road. We went last night - and arrived at the essence of authenticity in late capitalism (a strip mall with parking in front, surrounded by bleak industrial waste). It was a hellish commute, no liquor license (!), only accept cash, and surly servers. But, the food was incredible - we had the chicken dish (as per Delish's advise), which was really like a chicken stew (just as described above - with leeks, peppers, potatoes, homemade noodles/dumplings along with star of anise and other amazing spices). The lamb soup was also extraordinary. The meat was chopped with a cleaver, Chinese style, bones still in, and the broth was extraordinary.
    We have the feeling that the secret ingredient in the lamb soup, which made it taste so sweet and distinctive, was a little red fruit. We can't figure out what that is. Any ideas from the culinarily gifted/intelligent people on this thread?
    I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gostenhofer
      1sweetpea Dec 17, 2009 12:05 PM

      Without having been there to experience this dish, I'd toss out goji berries as a possibility. The fruits of the lyceum are found in a few Hui and other minority groups' dishes in Western China.

      1. re: 1sweetpea
        Gostenhofer Dec 19, 2009 05:49 AM

        tremendous, 1sweetpea! I bet that's it!

        Dinner party at our house!

        1. re: 1sweetpea
          s
          szw Dec 19, 2009 07:53 AM

          I had to google this and realized I've been eating this goji berry in soups my whole life, though I had no idea what it was called and had no idea it was a berry. Mom always said they were good for your eyes!

          gostenhofer also if they were larger maybe they could be dried dates
          http://www.tradevv.com/TradevvImage/p...

          1. re: szw
            m
            mchuchra Jan 23, 2010 05:14 PM

            I went to Silk Road tonight with my family. Despite being tucked into an industrial area and very humble little joint in a strip mall, it turns out you need a reservation on a Friday or Saturday night. We arrived around 6:30 pm and were told there would be no free tables. But I would say the wait staff was actually very pleasant, if no apologetic, and accommodating. They suggested we could do take out as an alternative -- so that is what we did. The food was great -- as all described above. Sure enough, the place quickly filled up while we waited about 15 minutes for our take out order to be prepared/packed. We loved the chicken stew -- it was fantastic. The kebabs were good, but probably taste better right off the grill -- the cooled off a bit while driving back home.

            To the question of unusual spices -- not sure this is what some of you were detecting in the posts above -- but we found a couple of our dishes included whole star anise. Distinct flavor and it is a star shaped thingy about a centimeter in diameter floating in the stew. Here's a little info on start anise:

            Star anise, star aniseed, badiane or Chinese star anise, (Chinese: 八角, pinyin: bājiǎo, lit. "eight-horn"; Malayalam: തക്കോലം) or hoa hồi (Vietnamese) is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a small native evergreen tree of southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in Malay–Indonesian cuisine. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking.

      2. Royaljelly Mar 12, 2007 06:13 PM

        There was yet another chinese place on Steeles and somewhere east of McCowan (I think) that served lots and lots of lamb dishes. All the waitresses are all dressed up to look like those colorful ?Tibetan uniforms (sorry I may be confusing my nationalities here). Tried their cumin lamb and it was ok.

        Gonna have to try that new place that Yongeman alluded to....

        1 Reply
        1. re: Royaljelly
          d
          dayna.e Mar 16, 2009 08:43 PM

          I think you're talking about the restaurant at Steeles & Warden (Metro Square). There's a restaurant there that has many lamb dishes. Never been there though, but I'd love to try it one day.

        2. y
          Yongeman Mar 11, 2007 06:39 PM

          Did you see the article in Sunday's Toronto Star? Page C12 in the Buzz Section. It's all about a fairly new restaurant at 3591 Sheppard Ave. E., near Warden, called Chinese Beef and Lamb. The owner is from Qinghai province, near Tibet and he apparently prepares Islamic Chinese foods. I haven't been, but can't wait to try it. Here's the link to the Star article: http://www.thestar.com/artsentertainm...

          1. g
            Gritseeker Mar 9, 2007 05:59 AM

            Yes, Ooohlala, Silk Road's owner speaks Mandarin and has mainly Chinese customers. He didn't do buns/breads last time I was there but that was a few months ago.

            XinJiang BBQ Restaurant is 3330 Pharmacy Ave (north of McNicoll) 416-493-3398

            1. g
              Gritseeker Mar 8, 2007 02:41 PM

              Silk Road is a gem. Tiny (a handful of tables), only open late afternoon + sparse menu but they grill their cumin lamb over charcoal behind the restaurant and make their own noodles. Last time I was there they'd created some new dishes that weren't on the menu board - so ask. It's run by a Uyghur family. There are at least two Chinese-owned Xinjiang restaurants in Scarborough/Markham - tried some of their food at the Asian Night Market in the summer but haven't gone to the actual restaurants (don't have details handy but something like Xinjiang BBQ Resto and New Xinjiang Restaurant). There's a fourth place - Chinese Muslim chef (not from Xinjiang, but from neighbouring province)....but start with silk Road.

              1. e
                Ender Mar 8, 2007 01:45 PM

                I don't mean hakka. When I was in China most everywhere we went you could find Muslim Chinese making lamian and when we were in Xian, paomo. Usually these restaurants were run by people of Hui descent and served no pork. I have been unable to find anywhere in Toronto that serves anything resembling this food. I'll try and check out the Uighur resto see what that brings up. Thanks again everyone

                3 Replies
                1. re: Ender
                  oohlala Mar 8, 2007 06:35 PM

                  Traditional chinese buns on Dundas (west of spadina) serve Xian "paomo". I've seen actual chinese people ordering it. The owner just gave them the buns and the clients would just tear them into pieces themselves. It was quite funny cause when i was in Xian, the restaurants would have them ready in bowls~ I can't comment on how authentic it is, but at least it's a start (if you live in the downtown area).

                  Gritseeker, can you get information on the other 3 restaurants if possible? and do you know if the owner of Silk Road speak any chinese?

                  1. re: oohlala
                    1sweetpea Dec 16, 2009 11:04 AM

                    When I was in Xi'an, I ate at a hole in the wall joint selling paomo. I was handed a thick round of flatbread not unlike the pitas used for gyros. I followed what others were doing, which was tearing the bread into bite-sized pieces. I noticed that others were directing the server as to what they wanted in the their bowls. I wanted to try everything available, but the server wasn't interested in my attempts at hand signals. He gave me only about half of the items available. I was disappointed, but my soup was still great.

                    I'll have to check out TCB on Dundas to see how similar or different it is to that bowl, and perhaps Silk Road, though I'm not expecting a bowl of paomo. Are there any Hui restaurants in the GTA?

                    1. re: 1sweetpea
                      Teep Dec 16, 2009 06:56 PM

                      It's similar, last time I went they (TCB) chop up the dry bread for you, but it came in uneven sizes, so some bread pieces are soaked through but others are still a bit hard in the centre. There weren't any more items to be added though.

                2. sweetie Mar 8, 2007 10:37 AM

                  I am not sure about Muslim style but a lot of the Hakka Indian restaurants serve halal meat. I assume that they are trying to accomodate to Muslim palates.

                  1. Herb Mar 8, 2007 08:21 AM

                    Do you mean Hakka?

                    1. e
                      EASTENDCURRY Mar 7, 2007 06:31 PM

                      There is a Chinese fast food type place in East York on Overlea . It's in a mall that has a really great kabob place . I'm pretty sure it's Halal . Hope that helps .

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EASTENDCURRY
                        z
                        Zengarden Mar 8, 2007 02:50 AM

                        It is definitely halal. It is opposite the Goodwill store on Overlea. Have never had the food so I can't comment on it,

                      2. j
                        jcanncuk Mar 7, 2007 02:31 PM

                        I know of one Uighur resto in TO - never been there, but it's on my list. Had some amazing Uighur food in China recently and craving Lagnan noodles.....

                        Silk Road
                        438 Horner Ave. (east of Brown's Line)
                        Etobicoke, ON
                        416-259-9440

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jcanncuk
                          oohlala Mar 8, 2007 06:22 AM

                          can any chowhounds out there comment on this restaurant? plz plz plz

                          1. re: oohlala
                            Delish Jun 12, 2007 11:51 AM

                            We went to this place a couple weeks ago. At the recommendation of our young server, we had the chicken dish with potato and homemade noodles. It was so freaking good! The dish itself was huge and chock full of goodness. Lots of tender chicken, potatoes and the most amazing thick, chewy noodles (almost dumpling like), leeks, garlic cloves and spices (like whole star anise) swimming in a complex and spicy broth. If I lived closer I'd eat that dish weekly, at least!

                            The proprietors were courteous and welcoming, and were very concerned the food would be too spicy. No way! I looooooved it.

                            The one compaint we had was with the shish kebab we got on the side didn't look nearly as good as the ones served to our dining neighbours. Theirs were carmalized and plump, ours were pale fatty bits that tasted strongly of cooking gas. Guess you can't win 'em all, but the chicken dish certainly made up for the failure of the kebab!

                            1. re: oohlala
                              b
                              beepbeep Mar 16, 2009 01:36 PM

                              Went there last week. On the phone they were not particularly friendly(called on 2 different occasions), a cultural/language issue. Once inside the restaurant, service was OK. Small place with authentic suburban communist China atmosphere.

                              That evening, the parking lot was full of luxury cars with out-of-province license plates. Inside, Chinese students from PRC.

                              Chinese menu is more extensive than the English one, with stuff like goat tripe soup or noodle, various lamb platters from $20 up to 50 iirc.

                              Food was good. The lamb skewers similar to places in Scarborough or Markham. But the various lamb dishes not available elsewhere.

                              1. re: beepbeep
                                Food Tourist May 13, 2009 04:50 PM

                                I saw a "hot and cold" platter of lamb atop cold noodles served to a large group just now. An employee said it was only listed on the chinese menu. English menu is pretty short. I tried Combo #1 ($14 incl tax) which includes lamb soup, 2 spicy or plain lamb shish kebabs (a bit too fatty), and lamb pilau (with raisins). It was decent but I won't be running back for more. Last year I tried the lagman noodles and they were decent, too.

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