Min in Chinatown
We tried one of the newer restaurants on Dundas just east of Spadina - Min Ji - they serve Min (閩) style Chinese cuisine.I had to look up what this "Min" is - it is a part of Fukien, so it's Southern Chinese. They have a lot of items not usually found in Cantonese restos. Here's what we tried
Taro cake - looks like a hash brown, made with taro flour and deep fried. Sort of interesting.
Oyster cake - chopped up oyster and veggies (bak choy and black mushrooms) wrapped in a batter and deep fried. Looks like a muffin top. Good but a whole one for me was too much.
Chicken "Stewed Health" - this is a collection of "healthy" soups, some of them incorporating Chinese medicinal herbs. The black-bone chicken version has goji berries and maybe dong quai and/or tien chi. We also added the "thread noodles" option for $1 and they were melt in your mouth silky.
Fried rice noodles with seafood - unlike Cantonese fried vermicelli, this is not greasy at all and has lots of veggies. I liked this the best.
Shrimp with tea leaves - the shrimps (with heads and shell on) were deep fried with tea leaves. While the leaves were edible, they did not add much flavour to this dish. I would not order this again.
There are other interesting thing on the menu - moss cake (!?); guobien which is a kind of pancake in soup I think; dumplings with potato filling; as well as main dishes like eel with pickled veggies, fried squid, lobster etc. None of the ones we had were bad so would definitely go back and try other dishes. (Note that "sleeve-fish" in their menu means squid!)
Oh and cheap too. There is no tax if you eat in, and the above meal came to $23.50.
I think the address is 480 Dundas West, in the basement level.
I ate there yesterday and was pleased. I had an oyster roll and the BBQ eel with sour cabbage. The oyster roll ($1) was the razor clam roll on the menu, but substituted with bits of oyster since they didn't have clam that day. The roll consisted of stir-fried oyster and napa cabbage, wrapped in a (tapioca?) flour pastry, and pan fried. It was tasty and fresh tasting though not super crispy, but I think that's due to the juices from the stir-fry rather than pure grease. The BBQ eel with sour cabbage was satisfying too and consisted of sliced eel in a tidy radial pattern on pickled cabbage and was $6.50. The cabbage was lightly vinegary and not too pungent, and the eel was not crispy like unagi, but also not too salty and quite good. The rice ($1/bowl) was also not the least bit mushy. It was the closest thing I've had to Chinese home cooking at a restaurant.
The tables and chairs are nicer than your average Chinatown restaurant and the place is new looking. No tax on your dine-in bill is a plus too. It's a good place to sample Fujian cuisine.
The sign for the restaurant says "Ming Ji," but "Min Ji" on the bill I think. "Min" is the short name for Fujian province.