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Nov 22, 2007 05:14 PM

50's style Westernized Chinese Food

I am looking for terrific comfort food found in Cantonese restaurants. The kind where the decor has deep black booths, paintings of geisha girls in mint and gold, and where they take pride in a home made chicken ball. Do you know what I mean? The China house on Eginton and Bathurst is a perfect example. I realize that I will probably get some snobbery about this one. Everyone likes the authentic stuff, as do I. I grew up with szechuan. I'm getting older and can appreciate more comforting bland food too. There's something very relaxing about shovelling chow mein and home made egg rolls down on a Friday night when you just don't feel like a trendy restaurant. Anybody feelin me? Help me out hounds.....

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  1. Mayflower, on Royal York near Lawrence. Take-out only, but great food.

    1. If you're including takeout and live in the east end, try the International Chop Suey House. It's 50s-style all right - the place has been around since that era. All the old standards, a bit bland, and they deliver in the area. 955 Kingston Rd. near Scarborough Rd., telephone 416 698-1661 & 2

      1. Hey, hey,.....let's hear it for the 'old tyme' .............
        We have been customers of The China House for almost as long as they have been in business...that is not to say that we use them soley BUT they have a distinct place in our hearts and we order from them at least 2 or 3 times a month.......fear not about snobbery...those who will dis will dis!
        Go for it and enjoy!! Order some of those 'long' bar b que ribs...they are divine!!!

        12 Replies
        1. re: pearlD

          You must also. remember Canton Terrace (which sadly is no longer) and Sea Hi (which sadly is still around)!! Wow, this takes me back. Does anybody still frequent Sea Hi?
          Man that place was dumpy then, I can only imagine what it looks like now

          1. re: millygirl

            Careful millygirl, Sea Hi has now been declared an architectural classic of its era, and one of the few that remain in Toronto ;-)

            (I last ate there in the seventies. I'd be surprised if anything has changed for better or worse.)

            1. re: embee

              Unfortunately, I know people who still consider it their favourite and order from it regularly. It's beyond disgusting in many ways.

              For me it lost it's appeal around 1988 when I was in high school and we would order the chicken sticks wrapped in bacon after a night of "partying". Those chicken sticks wrapped in bacon (so authentically Chinese) hold a fond place in my youthful food memories ;-)

              1. re: embee

                LOL!!! We use to walk up to Canton Terrace on our school lunch for egg rolls and chicken fried rice with sweet and sour sauce. They had lineups of kids waiting...everyone ordered the same thing. You know what, those egg rolls were damn good. I could go for one right now....well, that or perhaps a meal at Mistura :)

              2. re: millygirl

                Actually I do remember Canton Terrace (but never ate there) Yes, I also remember Sea Hi but only ate there a couple of times...we used to go to the 'original' Sea Hi downtown...also the Nanking, Sai Woo and who could forget the 'original' Lichee Gardens and Number 12 !!!!
                I know I am truly dating myself now!!

                1. re: pearlD

                  Pearl, My parents loved the original Lichee Gardens, (downtown) and we ate there almost every Sunday.
                  The best honey garlic spareribs ever!
                  I think that Lee Gardens would be the closest replacement to-day.

                  1. re: erly

                    Back in the days, the Nanking, Sai Woo, and Lichee Gardens were among the upper levels of Canadian-Chinese cooking, where there was a smattering of dishes like Cantonese Chow Mein which one did not typically see in the mom & pop Chinese restaurants of the day and in a manner were at the forefront of cuisine aimed more at ethnic Chinese (some call this "authentic") tastes rather than a western palate. Nevertheless both your current "ho-lee-chow" type fast food and your typical Richmond Hill/Markham authentic restaurants are evolved from these roots. How they evolved is simple economics of demand/supply. Back to the issue of good old fashion Canadian-Chinese, I think elements are still found in some of the staples like SS Pork, Fried Rice, and basic stir-fries that are found in most Chinese food establishments...including "authentic" ones. I think the real question is where can one still find the best egg rolls (not spring rolls)....a true Canadian-Chinese invention.

              3. re: pearlD

                Back in the early seventies, China House was (ironically) one of the few places in Toronto to serve Northern and, I've been told, reasonably authentic Chinese food. I've got another post somewhere on Chowhound about our adventures getting them to admit they had it, and then to actually serve it to us. Ah the memories.

                Do they still list their wonton soup as "kreplach?

                1. re: embee

                  The reference is here where embee discovers J. Kates lifting something from Baron de Groot. This thread is great fun.

                  1. re: embee

                    I was there last night. Kreplach are totally still on the menu!

                  2. re: pearlD

                    Those long ribs are still incredible. Oh dear are they ever so tasty and sticky. God Bless China House.

                    1. re: magic

                      Baruch Hashem for the China House.

                  3. - Lots of east enders rave about Seabreeze on Queen (though, personally, I dislike it intensely).

                    - The Wokker on Queen has the appropriate ambiance and quite good food. However, it might not be sufficiently authentically inauthentic. They have most of the dishes you likely seek, but beware of things like the beef with (pickled sushi) ginger that wouldn't have existed in 50's Toronto.

                    - The Peking Express delivery place on Parliament gets good reviews, though I can't offer a personal endorsement.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: embee

                      Does anyone remember "Sam the Chinese Food Man"?

                      For many, this type of Chinese restaurant was the guiltless way for a Jew to eat pork. Many an observant Jew, who would not think of cooking a pork chop at home would happily consume many spareribs. "Kosher in, treyfe out" seemed to be the motto.

                      1. re: ekammin

                        Do I remember? Yes.

                        Did I ever eat there? No.

                        1. re: ekammin

                          Oh my goodness. I love you guys. This has been a dream come true. I'm writing down all your knowledgabel suggestions. Ekammin, every jew knows...

                          "Ribs aren't Pork!" wink.

                          1. re: food face

                            Hi, food face -

                            Well, shrimp in lobster sauce, lobster cantonese, wonton soup with sliced pork, etc., are all competely Kosher - aren't they?

                            1. re: ekammin

                              As long as your'e eating it in a Chinese restaurant it's kosher.

                              1. re: food face

                                But ONLY when you are eating it in a Chinese restaurant.

                      2. Does anyone remember the Moonglow on west side of Yonge around Lawrence? I think it closed a few years back but that was PERFECT for that 50's style chinese dinner.
                        Far East in Etobicoke is take out/delivery but pretty good.
                        Does anyone have any other recommendations for a place like this in North York?

                        Also should mention I came on this site because I had a craving for this very thing today! I usually stop the craving with some lemon chicken from T&T but it's too far to drive today....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jacquieF

                          I also thought of the Moonglow when I saw the title of this thread. And yes it is indeed gone. Believe it or not, the Moonglow Tavern and Restaurant was actually open back in the 40s.

                          1. re: mikeb

                            I had totally forgotten about MOONGLOW.....I worked at Yonge and Eglinton (the old, now gone OHIP building...they tore it down and put up more than a parking lot>Minto Place<) Friday after work the 'girls' took themselves out for Chinese Food and the first choice was always the Moonglow! As I recall, they even had those silly drinks with 'umbrella's perched on top"!
                            We're talking a seriously long time ago!