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Jul 9, 2009 04:08 PM

AUTHENTIC Chinese wanted- Downtown +

I am a foodie from Pennsylvania who will be visting Toronto in late September. My food obsession is authentic Chinese cuisine, all regions. I love it. I do NOT like Westernized "Chinese" food.

I am looking for inexpensive authentic Chinese in Downtown or accessible by public transport. I will not be renting a car. I'm really looking for CDN$10 lunch and CDN$20 dinner. A bit more than that is fine is the food is excellent. (I do not care about service, just food quality.)

So, please, your suggestions and links! All greatly appreciated!

I can't wait to visit Toronto. I have been to Ontario many times, but never Toronto, just Ottawa, Kingston and Lake Clarendon (Big Gull Lake).


Art C.

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  1. Mother's Dumplings, King's Noodles, Goldstone, Xam Yue (seafood) etc, these are all good options. The quality will be better in the suburbs, but you said you wanted downtown.

    Finally, Lai Wah Heen is the best in the city, but it is expensive, so it's out of your price range. I suggest you go for dim sum at least and crack your piggy a little, it's very much worth it.

    14 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Are there any good restaurants (in the downtown or elsewhere in the GTA) serving Chinese foods from regions other than Hong Kong, Guangdong (Cantonese), Shanghai, Beijing or Sichuan? I'm looking for some regional cooking from the far western provinces, or else north-east, or even south (Yunnan). I had great food in Inner Mongolia, Lanzhou, Xi'an, Chongqing, Pinyao and other lesser-known places in China, but I fear I'll never see those dishes on a menu again unless I return.

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        Yes. Chinese Traditional Buns on Dundas just west of Spadina serves some dishes that you'd find in China's northwest. They have yangrou paomo (lamb stew with pieces of bread, a specialty of Xi'an) and roujiamo (another Xi'an "snack", meat between two bread pieces). They even have dapanji (Xinjiang "big plate chicken") and lamb skewers. Besides that they have a big selection of (NW style) noodle dishes, dumplings, and buns. I've traveled a fair bit in Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang and the food at CTB is reasonably authentic. I like their soup-filled buns the best.

        There is an restaurant out in Etobicoke called Silk Road serving Xinjiang food. The owners are Uyghurs from Xinjiang. I've never been because it's a bit far for me, but I've heard it's quite popular with the Chinese student community.

        There used to be a really excellent Xinjiang restaurant in Montreal's Chinatown but when I went a few years ago the place was almost totally empty and I think they may have closed.

        1. re: pravit

          Chiness Traditional Buns is great...i'm not a Chinese food expert, so take it for what it's worth. I really enjoyed me meal there. They make their own dumplings. the grilled mutton skewers were really nice, with good texture (i.e. a little chew) and flavour. Order a bowl of fresh pickles. The meat between two pieces of bread pravit mentioned is good, but I was too stuffed to fully appreciate. Oh, and the dan dan noodles are really good, with a nice level of heat.

        2. re: 1sweetpea

          What specific dish are you looking for ? There are quite a few chinese restaurant in Scarborough serving the regional chinese cuisine you are looking for :

          North west
          Chinese Beef & Lamb House restaurant (3591 Sheppard Ave East)

          North East
          中華餃子館 (4188 Finch Ave E)
          中華灌湯飽 (633 Silver Star Blvd)

          For Yunnan cuisine,
          There is one in the first markham food court which serves the Yunnan style rice noodle.

          1. re: skylineR33

            Skyline, the North East names don't show up (at least not on my computer). What kind of food is it.

            1. re: grandgourmand

              Sorry, I only got the chinese name of them, they serve "NorthEast" cuisine, which includes a variety of dumplings.

            2. re: skylineR33

              Now I'm getting excited. I've been dreaming of the bowl of yangrou paomo that I had in the Muslim quarter in Xi'an. In Lanzhou, there were these little hole in the wall places that made a couple of soups, plus dumplings. I think they were calling them xiao long bao, but they were bigger and more filling. Each one was 2-3 inches in diameter. The filling was pork, scallions and possibly coriander. They were in a thicker wrapper than most dumplings I've seen before and since. It was somewhere between Shanghai xiao long bao and char siu buns. Does that make sense? In Yinchuan, I had an incendiary hot pot at a Muslim restaurant that was Sichuan style. In Chengdu, I had some wonderful breakfast noodle soups that contained some mystery meat that was highly seasoned with sichuan peppercorns and other flavours. The most interesting breakfast I had was in Shanxi province (not Shaanxi) in the small town of Wutai Shan. I don't know the name of it but it was a thin crepe-like dough rolled into short tubes and steamed upright. Each steamer looked like a honeycomb from a bird's eye view, with dozens of tubes fitting into the steamer. It came with two dipping sauces. It wasn't the most delicious item, but it was something I hadn't ever conceived of. Along with it came a bowl of millet congee that had a few carrots floating in it. Simple, but tasty. I could go on and on about jiao zi, stir-fried purple amaranth or many other groovy dishes, but I won't. To find any of these delicacies in Toronto would be a delight and would bring back wonderful memories of a great backpacking adventure. I must also add that I was surprised to see so many potatoes on menus. Aside from deep fried nests and the odd curry, I've never seen potatoes on Chinese menus in Canada.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                You are interested in inland chinese province cuisine ! No seafood, ha ?! Try out the restaurants suggested in this thread, you should be able to find some of them here. It is impossible to have a city to cover all kinds of chinese cuisine, it is just too much...

                1. re: skylineR33

                  I forgot to mention that CTB makes a pretty good jian bing as well. Jian bing are a kind of folded savory crepe with eggs and crispy fried dough. They're extraordinarily popular among foreign students in Beijing and Tianjin.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    Seafood and fish are my #1 faves, but I think I know where to find those in the GTA. However, I was intrigued by provincial cooking in China. I grew up in Toronto, thinking that the Chinese food I was eating in any old run of the mill place was what every Chinese family ate in China. I knew not to expect any such thing when I went to China a few years ago, but I was really fascinated with the variety, not so much within each region, but from region to region. I'm not really a meat lover, but I put my preferences aside and tried virtually anything, some of which I'll be happy not to have to eat again, LOL! Many times, I suspect we made terrible choices in restaurants, due to the language barrier. We had some very odd meals. We had many ordering mishaps, but nonetheless had some great food.

                    I'm equally interested in lobster 4 (or 6!!!) ways at O'Mei, dim sum from Yang's or LWH and Shanghai soup dumplings from Ding Tai Fung, but I'm on the hunt for those elusive regional dishes that were so savoury. I feel like I've eaten a ton of Cantonese food in my life, plus a goodly amount of crappy Sichuan food, probably at Cantonese restaurants. I'm ready to branch out.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                      the giant lobster 4 way from omei was freaking AWESOME. some of the best lobster i've had

                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                        It really depends on how a region is defined. Say for cantonese cuisine, it is sub-divided into 3 main streams, Guang Fu cuisine (the most common one we have in Toronto), Chiu Chow cuisine and Hakka cuisine, with other varieties.

              2. re: aser

                Recommendations in the suburbs are good too, As long as I can get there by public transport. Thanks for your suggestions.

                1. re: fsck100

                  You'll find much more variety in the burbs including Shanghai, Sichuan, Xinjiang, etc....but again Cantonese is the strong point of Toronto. Although this is slowly changing as the shift in population to mainlanders continue.


                  There is a Xinjiang restaurant at Metro Sq along Steeles & Warden. Their laimein was excellent, definitely made in house, great mouth feel. Their lamb kebabs were overseasoned though, way too much cumin.


                  Taiwanese is also available if you want, here's one...


                  Xin Jiang Restaurant
                  3636 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R1K9, CA

                1. re: GeoNit

                  I've been away for awhile. Just wanted to thank everyone for all the suggestions. You've been very helpful.