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HK style cafes Markham/Scarborough

Looking for a clean one open for lunch on weekdays, not too pricey, kid-friendly ... any suggestions please? Better if they have English take-out menu. The threads on this are getting quite old, and maybe someone has seen some new ones open ...

Thanks!

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  1. My personal favourite is quite the hole in the wall, so it doesn't meet your first criteria - but it is very cheap (you can get a steak dinner for about $9, or a pork chop lunch/dinner for about $5). They also carry macaroni set meals for about $4 with cold cuts/ egg sandwiches and a drink. Note that all combos include soup + drink. BUT they do have a cousin and it is much newer and cleaner/modern, though I have not been to this location - it's located at Metro Square near T&T at Steeles and Warden. They have a similar menu with similar pricing and it's in English as well. It should be called Metro Square Cafe. Cannot attest to the quality at this location as I have yet to try it.

    The original hole-in-the-wall I speak of is at McNicoll and McCowan. It is called Mei Cheun Cafe, or something to that effect. They have a fantastic Egg Sandwich ("Dan Jee") for about $2.99. Best one I've ever had. Both locations are kid friendly.

    I am not saying that these places serve fantastic food - I eat it because the price is just so ridiculously good. Sometimes you just need to fill the belly. I love the egg sandwiches and that is basically all I order usually. They are the same style as the now defunct chain, Dickens.

    Caveat Emptor - it's chock full of MSG, but what can you expect for that price?

    Cheers and Happy Eating!

    1. Richmond Hill might be a bit out of the way for you... but in case you don't mind the drive, I've found a new place (new for me, they've been around for a while) at Bayview and Major Mac, in the same plaza as Restaurant Malaysia (815 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Richmond Hill, Ontario)

      Decent food, not much seating, but very clean.

      1. Anyone know if Leslie Cafe at Finch/Leslie is good? I just passed by it the other day and it seemed very busy. I will try it out soon.

        2 Replies
          1. re: szw

            forget about leslie cafe...personality..i think it's one of the worst HK style cafe i've been to...
            i was really disappointed! the food is overcooked and i think it's a bit too pricey compare to the other good ones

          2. Again, another hole in the wall, like BokChoi's. :) There's one in Chinese called "May Wah" ... not sure what the English name is. That's at Warden and Steeles, in Bamburgh Circle, same as where Sam Woo is located. "May Wah" is located at the south side of the plaza. Holler if y'all been to this one before ...

            Cheap food. Portions are huge. Good breakfasts. I think for $4.50 you get an instant noodle with spam, fried eggs, toast, and coffee/tea. That's an all day special, one that I'm familiar with. There's breakfast specials too, for $3.99, but not with instant noodle, with either macaroni or spaghetti, and with the fried eggs, toast, and coffee/tea.

            I've also had tea here too .. the chicken wings and fries. Lordy, it was HUUUUUUUGE. I ended up taking almost all of it home. I could only have 1 wing, and that was it. 1 wing = the whole wing (wingette, drumette and the tip). And there were a lot of fries too.

            It's not the best in cleanliness...

            If you want a little bit more cleaner, there's Phoenix up on McCowan and Hwy 7, which Vacuum mentioned there. It's more expensive, .. and we live closer to May Wah so we opt to go to that one... We just found that Phoenix wasnt that much more spectacular for breakfasts... They're good for their Hainan chicken rice though (which I still havent tried)!

            4 Replies
              1. re: jennjen18

                "May Wah" is called "D&R Wings" in English. It has so much turnover in business, that the food is likely to be very fresh....food is OK, consistent, and good value. Decor is basic, ....also my sensitive stomach has never had any issues with the food here, unlike the place Bok Choi mentioned (which is actually at Middlefield & McNicholl, if its the place I'm thinking about). I've also had good lunches at Ming's Cafe on Kennedy, South of Steeles.

                1. re: T Long

                  T_Long, thanks for the correction. You are correct in the location - I could not get the intersection straight in my head. It's been a while since I had last gone - the cravings for butter-laden egg sandwiches have not hit lately, so I have been as of late. Once again, I agree and emphasize they use a lot of MSG and tenderizer in their meats. But many restaurants in that price range do. I do not really eat their meals, and only get their egg sandwich to go. Another strong item is their baked curry on rice (with ox tongue, or beef) - it isn't as good as it once was, but still very solid at $6 per serving with soup + drink. (all of this info applies to the hole-in-the-wall location, not the 'hipper', newer joint.

                  Cheers!

                  1. re: T Long

                    Hi T Long, ok, I don't feel so bad now, as I have a very sensitive stomach as well, it kind of tells me if I can return to a place or not. We tried Fortune Stone, did not agree with me, and Ming's Cafe, which was good, but again didn't agree with me. The latter, I need to isolate and see if it was the ice-cream I had later on that night. If I eat there one more time, I should know the result ...lol

                    We had the curry beef brisket at Ming's Cafe, nice portion, but way too much sauce and hidden strands of beef, a bit chewy and a lot of tendon/skin, not sure what it's called, but next time, we'll try something different.

                    Can't believe we live in the area for over 15 years and never tried it, although we drive by all the time!

                2. Another one that might be out of the way for you is one in Times Square in Richmond Hill. They market themselves as a somewhat higher-end cafe (they got baked escargots and crepes!) but also do a decent tea-time menu, and it gets really popular around that time. I never remember their name in English, but it's the one across the parking lot from Richmond Court.

                  They do have their menu in English, and their fried fish/ fried pork cutlets and chips are nice and crispy, definitely kid-friendly!

                  While we are at it, does anyone happen to know if anywhere in the GTA serves the "French Toast" that is stuffed with peanut butter? I get a craving here and there, and am disappointed that no cafe I come across serves them that way..

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: tarteaucitron

                    The Metro Square Cafe in Bokchoi's post above in the Square near T&T at Steeles and Warden serves the "French Toast" that is stuffed with peanut butter !

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Yay! All hope is not lost! Extra points that it's been recommnded (somewhat) by BokChoi too. I gotta go there very soon.

                      Thanks skyline!

                      1. re: tarteaucitron

                        tarteaucitron,

                        Finally tried the PB French Toast that skyline pointed out was at Metro Square. Though metro square's meals are not as good as their hole in the wall cousin shop, it stil made an excellent egg sandwich, just like I remembered.

                        Onto the PB French Toast though...

                        The saltiness/sweetness mix was quite unique! I had never sampled anything so strong in each direction. It was a bit jarring at first, but by the end, I found it to be very enjoyable. I great 'childhood memories' type of treat, I'm sure! Unfortunately, this was my first sampling, so no great memories for me.
                        Here are some pics to show you what it looks like to determine if that's what you were in search of:
                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
                        Inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
                        My favourite Egg Sandwich: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                        To those less familiar with HK-style Cafes: Please note that all this food is artery clogging and not 'subtle' in the least. I just have an affinity for them because they are cheap, and remind me of my younger days.

                        Please also note that the PB french toast is NOT on the menu, we had to ask for it by name. It was about $2.99 each.
                        Cheers!

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          We tried out the MetroSquare cafe last week. Found the milk tea a bit weak in comparison to others. Did not like the egg sandwich much either. The curry chicken and shrimp on rice was good - lots of shrimp and the curry was quite spicy.
                          However, the rest was average and my daughters prefer not to return since the utensils were quite dirty as well.
                          We will stick with Mings and Octopus.

                  2. Two decent ones at 16th and Woodbine. On 16th, east of Woodbine is Hing Tsai (I think that's the name, in a TINY strip mall on the south side of 16th)

                    Also at the 16th and Woodbine strip mall (with No frills, Tim Hortons and All Star Wings) is Ho Garden which we like as well.

                    1. fa yuen (as in garden) in the plaza across from Dragon Centre on Sheppred would be my choice but lately, they're not as good as I remember. Their satay beef vermicelli + egg and toast morning combo is still pretty solid none the less.

                      If you're on the west end of Markham, I would try the Woodbine Pheonix which I think is noticeably better than their Markville branch.

                      Actually, there's a not bad one on Buttonfield and 16th Avenue, just east of Woodbine in a very small plaza. And the Goldstar at Times does HK cafe style breakfasts at reasonable prices if you order before 11 (or was it 11:30?)

                      5 Replies
                          1. re: tksh

                            I used to go to Rural Garden (I believe that's fa yuen's English name) a lot with my parents... for us the selling point was the price of the lunch specials, though with the increase we moved onto greener pasture.

                            We actually like "octopus" (the Chinese name) restaurant on Steeles between Midland and Brimley. Good cutlets and lunch specials at a good price, relatively new and clean. P.S. Found the english name, it's Sugar Sweet Cafe.

                            We're not so enamoured with Phoenix (either location). Seems overpriced and mediocre. I do like the hainan chicken rice but my parents are unimpressed by it.

                            1. re: Blueicus

                              What do you usually get at "Octopus"?

                              1. re: jennjen18

                                We're a thrifty family, so if we're there for lunch we order whatever's on the list of specials listed at the table. We also go for breakfast and afternoon tea, which are also listed on the little menu stands at the table

                      1. New City in Peachtree Centre at Hwy 7 and Kennedy also has the French toast stuffed with peanut butter. Great for tea time, especially with an iced milk tea. Also has brekkie specials and lunch specials. They did a reno a few years back, so it's not so hole-in-a-wall-ish as it once was. They do have English menus, you have to ask for them though.

                        1. any of these restos serve pancake like items, toast with condensed milk, or buns(I'm thinking of the pineapple buns) and congee?

                          also about the french toast with p.b: how is it prepared? pan or deep fried? While I enjoy a good french toast, I'm not too fond of anything too greasy.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: sugarcube

                            Pancake items I don't believe so, but definite yeses to the toast with condensed milk, congee, and pineapple buns (some places in T.O. may not have the last one, other places do.)

                            The french toast at HK style cafes is usually deep-fried, I'm afraid, just as Elvis would have wanted it. That's what makes it so tasty, along with the drowning one gives with the syrup (not maple or even maple-flavoured, just syrup -- delightfully trashy). Some places have a lighter hand with the frying so it's not so greasy, but it still is deep-fried.

                            1. re: lsk

                              Ming's Noodle Cafe does deep-fry their french toast but it's not greasy. They serve it with either just butter and honey or peanut butter and condensed milk. I really enjoy it.

                              Another thing I love there is the chili oil. They have it on the table but you can also buy a bottle of it to take home. I always have a bottle in the house, except when I ask for it and they tell me they're out!

                            2. re: sugarcube

                              Phoenix serves toast with condensed milk and toast with sesame spread but most of the other cafes in town go with just plain butter.

                              1. re: sugarcube

                                sugarcube, the one I suggested at Middlefield and McNicoll serves the condensed milk with toast. They also have buns available, so I am not sure if you could even ask for a substitution - have not tried myself. They do not, however, carry congee. I will be trying the fried p.b. later this week (hopefully) and will let you know how that goes.

                                Cheers!

                                1. re: BokChoi

                                  Thanks for all the helpful info Isk, tksh, and BokChoi.

                                  tksh, when you mention sesame spread, do they use black or white sesame?

                                  BokChoi, re: your resto suggestion, that's odd that they don't carry congee eh? So that means they don't carry dough sticks (yeow tew) and fritters (knou lay sow) either?

                                  1. re: sugarcube

                                    Phoenix uses black sesame on thick toast (think texas style)

                              2. Someone here said Ming's Noodle Cafe on Kennedy Road, just south of Steeles serves Hong Kong style food. I've never been there, but drive by all the time.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: red dragon

                                  My family and friends prefer Ming's. It's very clean. And service is good. Breakfast combo lets you choose eggs/ham/sausage plus a soup noodle or congee plus radish cake/stirfry noodle, etc. So very good value and tastes great as well.
                                  Dinner we like the beef brisket noodle and black pepper steak.

                                  1. re: caitlink

                                    Finally got around to trying Ming's, posted above

                                2. I think it's called "New City" or something, but we always refer to it as Sun Sing See.

                                  Or May Doh, beside Mix2.

                                  Or even Keung's and Kennys has all day breakfast.

                                  1. If you want a cozy and clean place, I usually go to one called Fortune Stone (located at Warden and west side of Steeles) in the same plaza as T & T. The MSG level is minimal and I haven't had a stomach ache yet :) Been going there for several years and food quality is consistently good. I was so happy they made instant noodles with their own chicken stock and not the msg powder.

                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: cha_siu_bao

                                      I've moved to Hong Kong and have to say that these HK instant noodle breakfasts are a downer compared to the stuff you can get the rest of the day.
                                      Condensed milk on crap toast does not make it OK!

                                      1. re: cha_siu_bao

                                        Hi cha_siu_bao! :) Do they have set meals, breakfasts, tea menus, etc..? Would you know prices and what they include off the top of your head?

                                        1. re: jennjen18

                                          Hi jennjen18: They have set meals...breakfast ranges from $3.50 to $4.75. I tend to go there for a combo with congee and bean sprout and soya sauce chow mein. I lunch/dinner meals around $6 -$7 such as for a pork chop w/ onion sauce on rice, comes with soup and a drink (which is standard in most HK style cafes). If you want steak on a grill plate, I think it's about $10.

                                          Hope this helps :)

                                        2. re: cha_siu_bao

                                          Hi Cha Siu Bao, we tried Fortune Stone, but it didn't agree with my sensitive stomach. Service was quite abrasive (but comon for Asian/Chinese places most generally). It's just the older woman who served us kept squinting her face up as we asked questions (and we were not annoying or rude, nor was the place busy, or the sun shining in on her face ...lol). The baked pork chop on rice that i had consisted of a lot of fat, I guess I was unlucky and got perhaps 65% fat on the two pieces I had. That, and the stomach issue, we won't be returning, but glad we gave it a try as we never know and chows must try right!

                                          1. re: red dragon

                                            I stop going to Rolling Stone because of the attitude of the owner. Now my usual go to HK style cafe is Goji (Yung Kee) at Bamburgh Circle close to Mei Wah. It's only 2 months old. It's clean. Servers are friendly.

                                            1. re: ace123

                                              I went by there yesterday (Yung Kee). Is there specialty wonton noodle or is it HK style cafe? How does it compare to D&R wings? I have read good things about D&R wings and thinking of trying. Somehow we always end up at Pho 88 because that's what the family prefers.

                                              1. re: caitlink

                                                Yung Kee is HK style cafe. It serves also congee & wonton noodle. The menu is extensive. My friends ordered deep fried chicken wing, it was hugh & they said it's good. Compared with D&R, YK is newer, cleaner & with a nicer decor. The food is comparable if not better than D&R. The HK milk tea is stronger than D&R but not as strong as Ming's. Worth a try if you are in the area.

                                                1. re: ace123

                                                  Thanks - will definitely give Yung Kee a try soon!

                                              2. re: ace123

                                                Where is Rolling Stone?

                                                Where is Goji exactly? I get lost and confused easily ...LOL. Is this the plaza where the McDonald's, the two Sam Woo's and the newly renovated Chinese grocery store is? Oh, and I think there is a Pho 88, I might be wrong about the name, just need to know exactly where Goji is and what the sign says.

                                                TIA!

                                                1. re: red dragon

                                                  Rolling Stone is in the same plaza of T & T, Warden & Steeles. It's close to the gas station.

                                                  Yes. Goji is in the plaza of McDonald's. It's between the newly reno Chinese grocery store & Pho 88.

                                                  1. re: ace123

                                                    So there are 3 cafes in that plaza? D&R, Yun Kee and Goji? Wow, I will have to take a closer look the next time. Like I said, usually, we go straight to Pho 88.

                                                    1. re: caitlink

                                                      Goji = Yung Kee (Chinese name).

                                                      1. re: ace123

                                                        You guys keep butchering the names of these places. Its Fortune Stone (not Rolling Stone) and its Yogi Noodle (not Goji). I've found Yogi was quite a find when it first opened, but has fallen off noticeably. I would still go for Yogi's noodle (fried or soups) dishes, because that's not D&R's specialty, although Sam Woo BBQ remains an alternative for noodles in that plaza.

                                                        1. re: T Long

                                                          Oops! Thanks for providing correct names.

                                          2. Look if you really want a solid consistent HK style, then New City is the place. Always full, food consistency is great and price is very reasonable. Kid friendly, yup. and they have an english menu.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                Peachtree at Kennedy and 7. It's on the on the west most corner.

                                            1. My personal favorites are: Cafe 28 (Richmond Hill), Octopus (not sure of its real English name but it is Octopus in Chinese, on Steeles just west of Brimley), Phoenix (Woodbine location), Honey Cafe (inside Silver Star Blvd foodcourt), Station Asia (Market Village location) and Amigo (Silver Star Blvd)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: muimui

                                                Asia Station, really? What do you recommend from Asia Station? I've tried their noodles a few times from both their locations and swore I could do better at home.

                                                1. re: tksh

                                                  They have BBT specials right now though!

                                                  1. re: tksh

                                                    I always order their grilled eel on rice (Taiwanese style) and a red bean float. Never disappointed~