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Hole-in-the-wall with weird name but Great 'Wok-Hay' stir-fry

Charles Yu Nov 5, 2008 04:17 PM

'DAY & DAY COFFEE'! Yup! this is the name of this genuine hole-in-the-wall Chinese eatery up in Richmond Hill. Address is 10 West Pearce Street directly across from Spice Garden on Leslie. Their large lobster 2 ways is only $9.95/lb.( Stirred fry lobster tail with salted duck egg yolk and Deep fry claws and head with spicy salt and pepper ). Half the price O'Mei is charging but equally delicious. Their advanced order roasted pigeon is only $12.95!. We also had their 'Stir-fry string beans with minced pork and dried olives' Perfectly cooked with a unique aroma and taste coming from the olives not found elsewhere. ' Jair-Jair ' free range chicken in sizzling hot pot was very flavourful as well.
Bewarned though!! This place is a real hole-in-the-wall with non-existance decor and plastic disposable table cover. So jeans will be the perfect attire.

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  1. grandgourmand RE: Charles Yu Nov 5, 2008 04:30 PM

    Sounds amazing.

    I've seen the term in a few places...what's Wok-Hay?

    20 Replies
    1. re: grandgourmand
      minto RE: grandgourmand Nov 5, 2008 04:42 PM

      I've been trying to figure what the english equivalent would be.
      The best I could come up with is: The aroma and flavours you get from a fairly quick searing in a wok

      1. re: minto
        Charles Yu RE: minto Nov 5, 2008 04:56 PM

        Close! But its actually the aroma and taste infused into the food caused by the 'ignition/flambee' of the food/wine/oil comibination whilst the food is being tossed in the super-heated wok using a mega-btu industrial rings. Thats why one would only find butane/gas cook tops in Chinese kitchen. No electric or high-tech induction stuff! Now, even Italian and French chefs are trying to re-create this taste sensation by tossing the food in the pan over the open flame.

      2. re: grandgourmand
        foxymoron RE: grandgourmand Nov 5, 2008 04:52 PM

        I also struggle to properly explain what "wok hai" is, but look no further than Chow Hound to explain it:


        1. re: grandgourmand
          skylineR33 RE: grandgourmand Nov 5, 2008 07:04 PM

          You get some nice Wok-Hay when food is cooked with proper techique and setting like the following picture. Hope it can give you a better idea.

          1. re: skylineR33
            Charles Yu RE: skylineR33 Nov 6, 2008 05:09 AM

            Nice one skylineR33! Reminds me of the 'Stir-fry rice noodle with beef' I used to have in some Mong-Kok hawker stall years ago! Ah! Those were the days!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              Royaljelly RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2008 05:12 AM

              Great photo skyline. Every time I see or hear one of those things being used, it reminds of those jet engine turbines whirling away. Now I know why those chinese chefs are always so sweaty when they peek out from behind their kitchen doors.

              Charles, you're killing me with all these new finds up in your area... do you know how much gas is for me to drive up there all the time after one of your new posts? :)

              1. re: Royaljelly
                Charles Yu RE: Royaljelly Nov 6, 2008 05:40 AM

                Don't make a move until we chat further next week!

            2. re: skylineR33
              grandgourmand RE: skylineR33 Nov 6, 2008 08:18 AM

              OH yes...makes you wonder what they did before the days of mega-BTU burners.

              1. re: grandgourmand
                sweetie RE: grandgourmand Nov 7, 2008 06:18 AM

                Prior to the advent of gas burners there was open flames underneath the wok. There are still places in China (and Asia) that use wood to fuel cooking.

              2. re: skylineR33
                BokChoi RE: skylineR33 Nov 6, 2008 08:50 AM

                Great photo. Did you take that in Toronto? I would be amazed if you did, and will definitely try out the place.


                1. re: BokChoi
                  skylineR33 RE: BokChoi Nov 6, 2008 12:21 PM

                  Not really, this 'unit' is on a street in Macau specializing in chow mein and chow ho.

                  1. re: skylineR33
                    BokChoi RE: skylineR33 Nov 7, 2008 05:35 AM

                    That's too bad. Where's the place with the best 'wok hay' in the city, IYO?

                    1. re: BokChoi
                      skylineR33 RE: BokChoi Nov 7, 2008 07:15 PM

                      Fantasy Eatery (the one at Midland and Finch only) is considered one of the best in Toronto with a good pricing IMO.

                      1. re: skylineR33
                        BokChoi RE: skylineR33 Nov 9, 2008 06:46 PM

                        Ah Yes. I would agree. I have always felt they are a notch above the rest. Do let me know if you find some place even better! No one does a better "gon chow ngow hau" than they do.

                        I take it from your post that the new one is not up to snuff then? I was thinking of trying it out (Hwy 7).

                        1. re: BokChoi
                          skylineR33 RE: BokChoi Nov 9, 2008 07:20 PM

                          I have been to the Hwy 7 Fantasy Eatery branch twice but found that food there cannot match up to the midland one. Please let me know if you have tried it and found them improve the quality, thanks.

                          1. re: skylineR33
                            BokChoi RE: skylineR33 Nov 9, 2008 07:33 PM

                            Wow. Does not sound like it is worth trying. Thanks for the warning. If I do end up trying it, I will report back.

                      2. re: BokChoi
                        Chester Eleganté RE: BokChoi Nov 11, 2008 08:39 AM

                        I would put Sun Star Cuisine (Cheuh Ging) on Finch E. up there as well for the wok hay.

                        1. re: Chester Eleganté
                          jennjen18 RE: Chester Eleganté Nov 11, 2008 09:39 AM

                          Sun Star sounds familiar... Finch East and where?

                          1. re: jennjen18
                            Chester Eleganté RE: jennjen18 Nov 11, 2008 09:58 AM

                            That'd be between Leslie and Bayview in the Maxim plaza.

                            Sun Star Chinese Cuisine
                            636 Finch Avenue East
                            North York, ON M2K 2E6
                            (416) 733-2688

                          2. re: Chester Eleganté
                            BokChoi RE: Chester Eleganté Nov 11, 2008 11:27 AM

                            Thanks Chester Elegante. That one is on my list to hit next.


                2. e
                  erly RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2008 12:40 PM

                  Are any of these items on the English menu?
                  Do they have an English speaking person on staff?
                  Would love to try it.
                  Elegantview charged us $15. per pound on Sunday, and insisted we pay cash as it was a special.
                  I have always paid them less, and have not been asked to pay cash, so I am irritated with them, at the moment, especially because friends were paying the bill..

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: erly
                    Charles Yu RE: erly Nov 6, 2008 02:25 PM

                    Sorry! No menu! Every dishes mentioned are posted on the wall in Chinese. Likewise, cash only! Lady owner manning the floor is fairly young, so assume she spaeks a bit of English?! Good Luck!

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      pinstripeprincess RE: Charles Yu Nov 8, 2008 06:07 AM

                      sounds like another case for a chinese dinner meet-up!

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                        erly RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 8, 2008 08:10 AM

                        Unfortunately, we won't be trying it, too many hurdles.
                        How about a review of your group outing with Charles?

                        1. re: erly
                          pinstripeprincess RE: erly Nov 12, 2008 06:56 AM

                          sorry, don't mean to ignore. i was hoping someone else from the evening might chime in as my memory seems to be much more faulty or i was entirely distracted by the stories of the people at the table.

                          general consensus though was that the restaurant was a bit fast and furious with the dishes and the lovely selection charles put together was certainly worse for the wear because of it. by the time i had comfortably made my way through 3 dishes, the rest were cold and suffered quite a bit from it.

                          really enjoyed the crispy pig intestine with pineapple and it was even better with the dipping sauce (which i can't describe individually at this point). it reminded me of roast pork but not the actual meat, just the crunchy skin and rendered fat. several people liked the pork belly with soy beans though i barely recall it. i found the pigeon to have good flavour but agree that it suffered a touch from dryness. i was actually most disappointed with the seafood (sauce flavours and accompanying pork dice though were great) just because they were the last items i had and they had sat out for a long enough period to render their texture a little stringy. the rest i can hardly describe in any detail right now. i suspect though that having the dishes arrive in a more sequential manner will be top priority at the next meetup so we can properly savour it all.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess
                            Royaljelly RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 12, 2008 07:56 PM

                            That's one potential problem with Chinese food shared amongst a big table, especially with a very efficient kitchen, is that the food will come fast and furious and you won't be able to savour and examine each and every dish at your leisure. Unless you decide to go for the formal Chinese banquet style place where dishes are served one at a time, you'll have to eat quick, take no prisoners and and jot your notes later.

                          2. re: erly
                            Chester Eleganté RE: erly Nov 18, 2008 07:59 AM

                            erly, the Fantasy meet was a great time. The meal was of fantastic selection and high quality, and the company was even better. Though with writers such as Charles, embee, estufarian, pinstripeprincess and juno among others in attendance, this was almost to be expected.

                            Yes, the dishes may have suffered somewhat after sitting awhile, but I did not mind too much. They were tasty enough that they were still enjoyable in various states. Maybe we should grab a small quick taste of each as they come to try them all at their optimal level :) Seriously though, we were also still busy talking, and enjoying the visual spectacle of the dishes, and being courteous, and taking photos and all of that, so...it's all good.

                            Dishes for the night included: giant Typhoon shelter crab, lobster with garlic (those two being the visual centerpieces of the table, and eliciting the requisite oohs and ahhs), roast squab, soya chicken, 'teriyaki' ribs, fried intestines, pork bellies with bean sprouts, another tripe (?) dish, and gai lan/chinese broccoli. Plus maybe one more. Anyway, all of that for $26 each, all in! Or about what you might pay for a dinner at Kelsey's ;) Tremendous value, with the night overall a success on several levels.

                            p.s. estufarian noted in his post-meal comments that, despite whatever misgivings he had about the difficulty of trying each dish at their best, he could only recall one comparable Asian meal that was better (and it was more expensive by several-fold). Kudos to Charles for hooking it all up, and looking forward to the Shanghainese event tomorrow!

                            1. re: Chester Eleganté
                              homebaker RE: Chester Eleganté Nov 18, 2008 09:46 AM

                              Thanks for the rundown, Chester Elegante. I was glad to have been able to stop by and at least say hello, although wife and I wanted to have a sit-down meal as well.

                              I trust tomorrow evening's meal (and company) will be just as enjoyable as the last!

                              1. re: Chester Eleganté
                                erly RE: Chester Eleganté Nov 18, 2008 11:04 AM

                                Hi Chester,
                                Thanks for the detailed report.
                                Now I am so tempted to try a couple of the dishes you mentioned.. fried intestines is something that I don't recall tasting, and for whatever reason, I have never ordered Lobster there..

                                1. re: erly
                                  Chester Eleganté RE: erly Nov 18, 2008 07:28 PM

                                  erly - oh, to clarify, as per Charles in the other thread, those two dishes were the spicy stir fried pig's stomach with preserved vegetables, and deep fried pig's intestine with pineapple. Both choices were very well received. The lobster is good too, though I found their version of the crab more interesting. We should put up some of the food pics as well...

                                  homebaker - Ya thanks for dropping by, but too bad you couldn't stay. Do come out next time then!

                        2. re: erly
                          dory RE: erly Jun 18, 2009 04:54 PM

                          If you're lucky enough to be there when the owner's daughter is there she will help translate. On other occasions we've been fortunate enough that people sitting at nearby tables offered to translate some of the specials on the wall. And if I remember correctly they don't take VISA.

                          Thanks for the recommendation for this one. It's very close to us and we've passed by a zillion times and would never have tried it out without Charles' thumbs up.


                        3. p
                          Pigurd RE: Charles Yu Nov 10, 2008 06:55 AM

                          Tried this place a couple nights ago based on your recommendation, and thought it was pretty good, but definitely a hole in the wall! I was curious about their lobster 3 ways (I think it was 13.95 a pound for this where 1 was steamed, other was fried, and the head gut stuff fried with rice? i dont really speak cantonese well so my GF just translated a bit for me) my GF didnt want too much "carbs" that late and didnt like the frying method so we had it 1 way, which was 8.95 a lb and came on a bed of vermincelli. The lobster was over 2.5lbs, and was surprisingly fresh, the meat was completely loaded in the shell, and all the sweetness absorbed in the clear vermincelli. It also had a rice winey flavour, it would have been pretty cool if it was that drunken lobster style i've seen on iron chef (drowned to death in sake before cooking) but think it was just poured on after cooking.

                          We ordered that and a plate of popeye food (spinish (sp)) and was pretty stuffed.

                          All in all, it was a pretty good meal, and I think an amazing deal considering that T&T had another tank selling lobsters of this size and probably similar or worse quality for 9.99 (i think... there were 3 separate ones in t&t i think)...

                          I also notice pretty much every table ordered a lobster or two... we were near the tanks so I was impressed with the lobster turnover rate there...

                          There is also a take out menu with english on it, but much more stuff was pasted all over the wall, I think ill come back one day for lunch or something to try their noodles for wok hay-e-ness.

                          1. Chester Eleganté RE: Charles Yu Nov 18, 2008 08:01 AM

                            restaurant info:

                            Day & Day Cafe
                            10 West Pearce St. (off Leslie, one block north of Hwy. 7)

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Chester Eleganté
                              szw RE: Chester Eleganté Jun 18, 2009 07:13 AM

                              Is this place still around/still good? I'd like to take my family out for lobster dinner, we are used to Chinese restaurant "decor" so no problems there but just want to make sure the food is good.

                              Does lobster have to be preordered/reserved?

                              1. re: szw
                                jayt90 RE: szw Jun 18, 2009 05:40 PM

                                Call them. The current postings indicate they are still there.

                                1. re: jayt90
                                  Charles Yu RE: jayt90 Jun 18, 2009 05:51 PM

                                  Drove by today. They are still open!
                                  Havn't eaten there for a while, so cannot confirm current quality.

                                2. re: szw
                                  Chester Eleganté RE: szw Jul 1, 2009 12:35 AM

                                  Apart from the lobster, we had several really poor dishes.

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