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Great Chinese around downtown TO?

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Hi everyone,
My wife is working with someone who is here from Shanghai for 6 months. She's missing food from home so we've arranged to take her and and bunch of other co-workers to Chinatown (Dundas/Spadina area).

My question to you fellow Chowhounders is where is a good spot to take her so that she'll get a taste of home? I don't think it necessarily has to be Shanghaiese food per se, but somewhere where Caucasions (most of the group) and Chinese (her and I) can both be happy?

Scanning through earlier posts mentions Asian Legend for some Shanghai-style food, but I'm wondering if it's maybe too chain-like now? I went there once, and it wasn't bad, but I think she wants somewhere where it's predominately Chinese. How about E-Pan?

If anyone can offer some suggestions, that would be fantastic. We're taking her this coming Friday (April 20/2007).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. E Pan is Cantonese, so is Rol San, New Sky etc. Not much choice for Northern Chinese food downtown, except for Asian Legend. There are however several dumpling places, like Mother's. And a place called M.Y. hotpot, which I've never been.

    1. Is downtown a constraint for you? Because if you can drive up to Markham, you'll have many more (and better) options for Shanghai cuisine. Plus you can include a stop at the T&T supermarket and she can stock up her kitchen with all the staples that she's missing from home. And if you've never been to a T&T, trust me, it's predominantly Chinese! :)

      2 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        Yeah, it is a constraint since my wife has already organized it. I would have preferred to head up to Markham but I have to make due. Yep, love T&T, except that I usually frequent the one at Promenade Mall.

        I think that we'll probably end up trying E-Pan. I've heard pretty good things about it so I guess it's worth a shot.

        1. re: kenbong

          The staff are all Chinese and should speak Mandarin (though their native dialect is Canatonese) but lots of "foreigners" go there - not sure if "predominately Chinese" means the staff or clientele.

      2. Chinatown's offerings are predominantly cantonese based. The quality is nowhere near as good as markham/richmond hill. There are still decent options such as e-pan, xam yu (seafood), etc...Mother dumplings will probably be the closest reminder to home for a Shanghainese, given the area constrains.

        http://www.mothersdumplings.com/

        if budget is not a constraint, then head over to Lai Wah Heen at the Metropolitan (around old chinatown). Very expensive, but on par w/ restaurants found in high end Hong Kong hotels.

        http://www.metropolitan.com/lwh/

        1. I highly recommend Wai Sing on Baldwin. They have a special black bean lobster when in season that is awesome. So is their hot pot chicken, but everything is good.
          Another, more casual favourite is Swatow on Spadina. The best hot and sour soup in the city in my opinion.