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wonton noodle search continues

I know some of you guys were discussing where to get the most authentic wonton noodles around the city.. and I was trying to reply to the thread, but perhaps it was too old, the reply box wouldnt pop up... so here's my recent find. :)

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Hong Kong Noodles, in the plaza at Kennedy and Hwy7. It's located on the east side, beside the Japanese place alongside the back of the plaza.

Great noodles - al dente and bouncy. The lo mein (thicker noodles) was very good as well. Don't get the ho fun (thick flat rice noodles) though.. I think they get it from somewhere, and no one was ordering it, so it got really hard. :( It's not the really thin kind, I guess, is what I'm trying to say. I'm still looking for a place that would have REALLY really really thin ho fun (in texture, not in width).

Soup - the best that I've had. Here, you can really taste what's been put in the soup. And they charge extra for more soup, .. so I guess that really means they dont want to be giving soup away for free since they've put so much labour and effort to make a good soup. Its very flavourful, and I think the least MSG-ish that I've tasted.

Wonton - nice and light, biteful sizes! I'm sorry guys, I didnt take the most important picture, the WONTON!!! But again, very flavourful ..

Fish balls - this isnt the white kind, its the kind with the "fat choy," made from the dice fish. I could really tell that they make it from scratch 'coz it crumbles as it enters your mouth. Very heavy in fish taste.

Hand-made meat balls - pork to be exact. Again, I dont taste any MSG here. Very very healthy and delectable.

Beef brisket and tendon - its like as if Mom made it at home! I say that because I ordered it after tasting mom's at home.. and it was exactly the same. Once again, minimal if any MSG.. very hearty.

Give it a try - definitely best so far in the city, for me. It's our go-to place now for HK-style noodles.

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  1. Oh oh, and they have weekly specials at $2.95/bowl. First week we went it was wontons, then the dice fishballs, then it was the handmade pork balls.. It's the same size as a regular bowl item, but just no veggies in the bowl.

    And they're closed on Tuesdays.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jennjen18

      I am always open to the idea of having a great bowl of Wonton noodles for a fast and casual dinner. After reading Jennjen18's raving report, I decided to take the long drive from Richmond Hill to give it a try. I arrived at 6.40pm and the place was packed with only one waitress working!! Result - very slow service!

      I ordered the 'must try' Wonton noodles and a plate of Braised brisket and tendons.

      First, the positive. Yes, the brisket and tendons was indeed very good. Nice dark colored gravy, real 'Chu-Hau/five spice' aroma and taste and super tender. An authentic and close rendition of Hong Kong's best. Will be hard pressed to find a rival in TO that can beat that!

      Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the bowl of Wonton noodles. First, the sight of chopped scallions and NOT yellowing chives immediately knocked it down a few notches. The noodles, though cooked al dente, have strands that were simply not fine enough ( Big Joy in Richmond Hill and Chicken & Noodle aka 'Jun Jun' in Scarborough are much better ). Sorry! No where near Hong Kong's best. The 'all shrimp' Wonton however, was correctly seasoned and the shrimp texture was bouncy and crunchy. The five monstrous size morsels are definitely good value for money. However, personally, I prefer them to be smaller and bite size!

      Lastly, about the broth! This is one component where my opinion differs totally from that of fellow chowhounder Jennjen18!! I found the broth totally lacking in smell and taste of a well prepared ' Flame roasted dried tile fish, shrimp eggs/shell and buddha fruit' based soup that usually accompany a top quality bowl of noodles. The broth colour has a diluted greenish hue rather than the authentic dense brownish colour. To drink their soup is like having a Caesar's salad with dressing thats void of garlic and anchovies!

      Well, thats my two cents worth! May be some other chowhounders like skylineR33 or Aser can provide more input down the road?

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Hmm.. interesting. I've never been there at a busy time, if that makes any difference...
        Thanks for giving it a try.

        1. re: Charles Yu

          I have not tried it, but my dad and mom gave more or less the same comment as Charles on their wonton noodle - BAD ... maybe I will give their braised brisket a try when I am in that plaza since everyone here saying that it is good ?!

          I gave Jun Jun a second try, found Jun Jun's noodle is good in the beginning, but it lost its fine texture and elasticity after soaking in the soup for a short while. Really hard to find a good one in Toronto ... I got a strong craving for wonton noodle one day and went to Jim Chai Kee. It' s broth is like MSG powder + water in a diluted form, not a hint of dried tile fish or shrimp roe, no sweetness whatsoever.

          I found a ok wonton broth at "Yung Kee" (not the one in HK) which I can actually found dried shrimp roe and taste of dried tile fish in the broth ! However, noodle and wonton are so-so.

          1. re: skylineR33

            Well I tried going tonight but I just missed it as I got there slightly before 8. They were closing up....

            I ended up at a hk western spot on hwy 7, Golden Restaurant formerly known as Sweet Heart Cafe. I haven't been there for a good 12 yrs at least, the hot plate steak is still as good as it once was. Extremely old school HK western feel, very heavy food.

            I got a top sirloin w/ black pepper sauce combo. Came w/ borscht, bread, app (escargot), ice cream and coffee/tea. $14.99 was the cost.

            The escargot was forgetable, very dry and sitting on a bed of mashed potato. The borscht reminded me of my youth, I always craved it as a kid. The steak was actually cooked spot on at medium rare, most hk western places tend to overcook proteins. There was fat/gristle on the side of the steak, it wasn't trimmed properly. Then again, that happens at most hk western spots.

            I enjoyed it much more than what I got at Cafe 28 a few months ago. Again, you have to be in the mood for this place, it's very old school and heavy. Think 太平館, but obviously not as high quality.

            1. re: aser

              Yeah, there is less and less sizzling plate steak found in Toronto ... Sweet Heart, Goldsor and Boston ? But the last two are not as good as the old days anymore ... I remember there are used to be more in Toronto ?!

              It will be great if they have 太平館's staple dishes, pigeon and swiss sauce chicken wing !

              1. re: skylineR33

                Tai Ping Koon's Oxtail soup, baked stuffed crab shell and pan fried veal scallopine were pretty good too ( in the old days! ) Found their quality gone down hill a lot but prices gone way up! Still lousy service!
                BTW, has anyone try out the new 're-opened' Dickens underneath Full House yet?

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  I've been to that Dickens several times. I found the food better than Cafe de Nice & Firefly, very generous portion & reasonable price. The set lunch/dinner comes with soup & H.K. milk tea. Too bad Cafe 28 does not serve H.K. milk tea.

      2. I have tried this place too. I love the beef tendon here, so soft. I haven't really tried anything but beef tendon noodles, and wontons. Looking forward to trying other things on the menu.

        1. I ordered a beef brisket and tendon mein today and found the noodles were good, as they were quite "zhong"/al dente. I've had finer cut ones, but in HK, not Toronto. The soup seemed quite run-of-the-mill for TO, which is quite so-so.

          I found the tendon and brisket unevenly braised. Some pieces of tendon were quite difficult to bite through while some were fall apart tender. The brisket was so fatty that I was picking apart the pieces and setting the fat aside as I was eating. The flavour was fine, but not exceptional. Perhaps an "off day" because it was Canada Day?

          1. HA! So I went there last weekend with mom and SO.. I know what you're talking about now. It was like night and day when I went like last month when I posted the original post!!! The soup was horrible!! Ech.. no taste at all!! Their wonton was mushy. :( What happened??

            3 Replies
            1. re: jennjen18

              I'm live in the states but head up to Toronto at least 2 or 3 times a year for the great chinese food. I usually go to Jim Chi Kee (across from Time Square) for the wontons but want to try HK Noodles the next time I'm in town. Is HK Noodles in Markham or Brampton? Thanks a lot guys!

              1. re: Asianfoodlover23

                In Markham, corner of Hwy& and Kennedy.
                Jim Chi Kee , IMO, is not a good representation of how a good bowl of won ton noodles should be. Big Joy in Chalmers is more dainty and flavourful. More authentic. If you are heading Markham's way to try out HK noodles, I would make a detour and head down to Sheppard and Glen Watford and try out 'Jun Jun' ( Chicken noodles and congee ) instead

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Yes, I agree with Charles on Big Joy and Jun Jun for wonton noodle. Just a point for reference, if Mak's HK gets a score of 5 out of 5, Big Joy probably get 1 and Jun Jun gets 1.5, in my opinion. There is really no good ones here.

            2. Thanks Charles! Big Joy in Chalmers - Where is this located? Sorry, but I'm not from toronto can you provide the exact location?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Asianfoodlover23

                I believe Charles Yu is refering to the Bayview Hwy 7 area (which is in Richmond Hill)
                Hwy 7 E Unit 1
                Chalmers Gate II
                Richmond Hill, ON
                (905) 731- 1206

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    We are planning an excursion to Big Joy

                    1st time gwai-lo's

                    Please recommend what we should order for dinner there

                    Their best dishes, please

                    Thanks in advance

                    TG

                    1. re: toronto guy

                      Big Joy is better known for their rice congees, soup and fried noodles, rice with toppings etc. When you mentioned 'dishes for dinner' , are you planning to order different dishes that will accompany plain rice or are you looking for a few 'self-contained' noodle/rice dishes to share? If the former, I would head down a few stores and eat at John's B-B-Q instead! They have much better stirred fry dishes and awesome Chines B-B-Qs. However, if the latter, then the typical fried crispy noodles with seafood or prawns topping, rice noodles with beef in black bean sauce, wonton/prawn dumplings soup...etc are all pretty decent.

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Hey Charles,

                        For congee, how about My Kitchen at Leslie and 7th ? I like their congee better than Big Joy. I never think Big Joy can be a destination spot worths an excursion provided there are so many better choices along Hwy 7 area nowaday ! Interesting !!

              2. A food related program shown on Toronto Chinese TV today, interviewed the owner/founder of Hong Kong's 'Tasty's' - Chef Ho Kung Ming. ( Arguably HK's best noodle place ). Based on experiences passed down through generations, he identified four major 'must have' components to a great authentic bowl of Won Ton Noodles. These are:

                1). The soup broth using top grade dried flounder/tile fish that must be slowly grilled over open flame for at least half an hour to extract the flavour.
                2) Each Won ton's prawn filling must have a small piece of 'pure pork fat' in it to create the correct texture and mouthfeel.
                3) Chopped raw yellowing chives to be sprinkled over the hot soup noodle to create the ultimate taste and aromatic dimension to the total formula.
                4) The use of the thinnest and most elastic 'hand made' alkaline noodles. Commercially made thicker ones simply does not make the grade.

                In Toronto, apart from Jun Jun of Glen Watford, Scarborough, whose product might satisfy a couple of the above captioned criteria. No single Toronto outfit I have tried remotely comes close to the 'authentic Hong Kong version'.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Oh Charles, you make me hungry with the description of a good bowl of authentic wonton noodle. How about the location of the spoon ? The noodle would be placed on top of the spoon inside the bowl to to keep the elasticity of the noodle, ha !

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    Another dimension to the taste. In the olden days, I noticed noodle chef use to dip the chopstick in lard and then mix the noodles with it before putting them in the bowl. With current health conscious concerns, wonder whether this practice is still being used?! Guess a bit of bad fat occasionally won't hurt?!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      yes, and its the big fat wooden chopsticks too...!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        There is no wonton noodle in Toronto uses lard. There is some in HK though. For my experience, no one single wonton noodle place in Toronto satisfy points 1, 3, 4, and is far far from it, unfortunately. What a shame !! I suggest all my friends to stay away from any wonton noodle in Toronto as it really gives a wrong impression of it !

                    2. re: Charles Yu

                      What is the address of Jun Jun???

                      1. re: acd123

                        NE corner of Sheppard and Glen Watford. Next to the railway bridge.

                    3. does anyone know where to find the dry wonton noodle with the leafy vegetables and char siu and sauce??

                      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_II8xB8Ke_u4...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: halugii

                        Most siu lap (cantonese bbq) places will have this, it's called lo mein since there is no soup.

                        Considering the quality of Cantonese food in Toronto, wonton mein is the most glaring weakness. Tis a shame......

                        1. re: aser

                          Would have to agree Jun Jun is the place to go for wonton noodle. We went tonight. Not too busy.

                          But very good value. Not just the wonton noodle - the soup was quite tasty. The Taiwanese beef stew noodle was a huge bowl. So was the Japanese noodle. We are trying the pork chop peanut sauce noodle the next time.