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Warning on a couple of horrible tasting products!

What a day!

I went grocery shopping at both T&T ( Warden/Steeles location ) and Metro this morning. Bought two 'never tried before' products which ended up to be absolutely HORRIBLE!

At T&T, after noticing quite a few customers lining up at the Dim Sum counter to get Har Gow ( steamed shrimp dumpling ), out of curiosty, I followed suit and bought some! What a big mistake! The Har Gow must be one of the worst in town! Supposedly with paper thin and translucent skin wrapper, this T&T products has skin the thickness of perogy!! The shrimp filling was mushy instead of crunchy with loads of corn starch fillers. A totally unappealing tasting experience!!

Next, I made my way to Metro for some western groceries. There, I noticed some nicely packaged 'Irresistable Brand' Proscuitto. Man! This product was even worse than the previous one! One taste of this ham and I nearly threw up!! It must be the saltiest Proscuitto I have ever eaten! In my mouth, whilst chewing, I could actually bite into 'grains of salt'!! A closer look at the ham slices revealed every surface was scattered and covered with fine grains of them! Never have I seen salt cured products like this in my life!! 'Irresistable'!! - My foot!!

Just like that, $10 down the drain!!

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  1. Thanks for the heads up! I'm always tempted by the dimsum at T&T but now I'm glad I never bothered.

    However, I did buy some "Double Happiness Mochi" on sale in the frozen section at T&T - big thumbs down. They have that strange medicinal herb smell that I can't quite place.

    And I also tried the Asian Delight beef samosas (again on sale in the frozen section) at Loblaws. Just plain salty, with highly processed mystery filling. I was just at a get-together where someone brought some samosas from Little India. They said they were made in-house and then frozen for home baking, but I never got the name of the place. That's what I get for shopping on an empty stomach!

    1. Unfortunately, I've always been disappointed in T&T's bakery and ready-to-eat hot foods. The items look appetizing but don't live up to their appearance...

      10 Replies
      1. re: ibbileyta

        Charles, long may you live - and eat. It's a pleasure and a comfort having you run interference for me on questionable food products. Your snappy assessment of T&T's har gow and Metro's Irresistable proscuitto is one of the most entertaining disembowelments of dreary foods on supermarket shelves that I've read recently. Agreed, It cost you $10, but look on the bright side - you saved me $10. And countless others, I'm sure.

        1. re: juno

          The disappointing state of T&T's ready made food is no secret. We tried it once a few years ago and never again! Because of how bad that food is, my wife won't even go in the store. The strange thing is you see all these Chinese people buying that stuff and think it must be good, then after buying it and rushing home to eat it, you will wonder why you even bought it.

          1. re: juno

            Hi Juno! You're most welcome! Afterall, its 'Thanksgiving'!!

            1. re: juno

              damn, that was just funny.....you brought a smile to my face and for that I thank you

            2. re: ibbileyta

              I agree about the ready-to-eat hot foods, but there are some goodies to be found in the bakery section. I am partial to the coconut bread and taro bread. I know they are unhealthy, but very tasty!

              1. re: LTL

                Oh Charles, been there and done that! I couldn't agree more about T&Ts dim sum items. They're all lukewarm, mushy and terrible. You can just taste the low quality ingredients in them. I've also tried a dim sum dumpling assortment that was prepackaged. Not one item was good, and all featured an odd unchewable bit or two per dumpling. I've tried a prosciutto product from Loblaws that was identical to your description. It has temporarily turned me right off of prosciutto and serrano hams, although I'd probably make an exception for a top notch authentic version, just for comparison.

                I haven't had a single prepared item from T&T that was excellent and I've tried a few salads from the northern Chinese options, the sushi and sashimi and dim sum offerings. I bought tea eggs once and they tasted old. I'd stick to ingredients from T&T and do all the preparing of food myself in my own kitchen, personally. I've had no problem with anything else there, except a frozen octopus that didn't smell or taste great once defrosted and cooked.

                1. re: 1sweetpea

                  Hello 1sweetpea. The Loblaw's 'Presidential Choice' Prosciutto and Serrano ham though mediocre at best was still 'way better' than its Metro counterpart. Besides being less salty it doesn't 'stink' like the Metro version.
                  As for T&T, surprise as it may, but there's 'one' prepared food item that I actually like! Its those $3.50 a pack 'sea snails/whelks in sweet and spicy Korean hot chili sauce' in the sushi section. Nicely marinated, chewy and addictive! Nice snack!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I second Charles on the Spicy snails.....Nice with a Cold Beer....but be prepard for the miniscule portions.....I normally have to buy 2 of them......

                2. re: LTL

                  The Egg Bread is excellent, as well.
                  Better than Challah

                  1. re: LTL

                    I tried their Meat assortiment. So disappointing, But I fully agree with you about the coconut and taro breads, I am a fan of their cream puffs.

                3. Can't understand the scramble for T&T dimsum, especially when there's no shortage of the real deal here in Mississauga or the east end. Convenience doesn't trump the generally crappy quality.

                  The take-home lesson on proscuitto is never buy pre-sliced. Same goes for any salumi.

                  1. 2 comments =-=- T&T simply to shop carefull, the simple ready food counter has lost any lustre, only product always appreciated has lost it's minitive glow in time, the spicy tofu has no heat and less and less and less chile flakes, I think it is time to call the dish extra spicy tofu = - once there is no taste or trace of heat ------ Metro, dead in the water, products under the corporate banner best 99.9999% best avoided, seems to me that the products are never researched for taste and quality, but rather simply bought at the least cost to sell at retail, a very big Ugh to the Metro line!!!

                    1. Give the ham back for a refund, even without a bill. It should not be a problem.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bigpestle

                        I grabbed a meal from the ready cooked section and binned it after 3 bites.
                        I can eat anything, but not that.

                        1. re: bigpestle

                          Sorry! Too late! Threw them away on the same day!!!

                          1. re: bigpestle

                            Only refund I ever made at either Metro or Loblaws were their ' frozen wild blueberries'. They are so big in size and 'white' inside that they must be the 'cultivated' kind and not the small and purple interior wild ones! To get the sweeter, smaller 'wild' ones one has to buy the more expensive 'organic wild' ones. Wonder if this constitute ' misleading and/or false labelling'??!!

                          2. Sorry to say, I find all the meals to go items at T&T sucks...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ToxicJungle

                              T+T's take-out food counter is hit and miss. Some of it is the worst American/Chinese ever. The steamed buns can be good.

                              1. re: ToxicJungle

                                I am afraid so... Too bad because they have such a good selection of fresh meat, poultry and veggies...

                              2. To call the Har Gau at T&T disgusting would be an understatement. It is bad enough that the wrapper is too thick, but it was dried out and looked(and tasted) like a piece of chewy plastic. I ate half of one and threw the rest out. Never buying dim sum at t&t again. I don't know what all those people are lining up for, but I hope it's not the har gau.

                                1. The thing that really ticks me off with T&T and frankly most Chinese markets is they mix MSG in with their ground meats. If you're at all sensitive to MSG, you're guaranteed to have a reaction. To make matters worse, unless you ask (we found out the hard way) there's no notice that it contains MSG.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: Ghuldeen

                                    MSG in ground meat?! Raw or cooked? First time I've heard this if it applies to 'raw' meat! How reliable is your source?!

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      It's in the raw meat. My wife who's highly allergic, had a massive reaction and the meat counter guys at T&T when I asked them point blank if it had MSG in it.

                                      1. re: Ghuldeen

                                        Isn't it unlawful to put additive such as MSG in raw meat without informing the customers?!

                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          You would think so, but I've gone to quite a few different Chinese markets and most do the same thing. I've learned the hard way to ask. I'm guessing the idea is to enhance the flavor of the meet.

                                          1. re: Ghuldeen

                                            Wow, seriously. Thank you for sharing this, and do tell your wife that her unfortunate experience is helping others to be more informed!

                                        2. re: Ghuldeen

                                          Thanks for the info. I'll make sure not to buy ground meats from Chinese markets.

                                          1. re: mrsleny

                                            the quality and quantity of meats that they buy need to have some way to preserved them, salt is the best preservation. MSG have the highest sodium but not salty in taste.
                                            That is exactly why you can find seasoned meat in Corporate grocery store
                                            I don't think you want to know what they do to chicken

                                        3. re: Charles Yu

                                          I guess someone could buy the meat and test the composition, but this seems like a bit of a far-fetched statement... one to take with a grain of MSG.

                                          1. re: tjr

                                            Go on in to a T&T and ask them yourselves if you don't believe me.

                                            1. re: Ghuldeen

                                              I asked at Cherry St. and they said it was just pork (for ground pork). Are you sure they weren't confused?

                                              1. re: tjr

                                                It may have changed since they were bought, but that used to be the case.

                                                1. re: Ghuldeen

                                                  Well, they were bought ages ago, so how recent was your experience?

                                        4. re: Ghuldeen

                                          I can't comment about MSG, but I have noticed a difference between the ground pork bought at Chinese markets and main-stream markets like Metro or Loblaws. I use ground pork to make a kind of steamed meat pie (pork, preserved veggie, etc) and the resulting taste/texture is markedly different depending on the source of the pork. The resulting dish (for me) has always been superior when using ground pork from a Chinese market. I've speculated that the Chinese markets added something like baking soda (as the color of the meat stays a bit pink, independent of steaming times) to their ground pork. But the difference could also be the cut or freshness of meats used in grinding...also I understand some pork is seasoned (with salt) for retail sale in mainstream stores...perhaps the difference could be related to this. Bottomline...there definitely is a difference!

                                          1. re: T Long

                                            The "seasoned" pork you find in Loblaws and ilk is brined. Not only to keep super-lean pork from drying out due to the continued belief that non-well done pork will kill you, but also to boost the weight of the end product.

                                          1. re: TheKitchenHotline

                                            it is great info, thanks for the sharing this helpful info. i will never do this.
                                            i am afraid what is happening now a days people don not have feat to play with the lives of others. uuuufffff

                                          2. Yeah been there with the Har Gow @ T&T. Weird texture and flavour that lingered on your tongue far too long. That's what you get when you shop hungry after skipping breakfast... never again. As for the Prosciutto, I usually go to Highland Farms as their deli stocks several brands that are oh so good (not the best in T.O., but better than any other chain supermarket). Metro for prosciutto? I'm shocked you would do such a thing CY!

                                            Highland Farms
                                            850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

                                            1. I bought the prepacked ground pork raised without Antibiotics from T & T. Didn't detect any MSG. I am too very sensitive to MSG. Never bought ground pork from the meat counter. Now I like the ground lean pork from Costco. Very cheap and lean. $3.6 per Kg.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: smfan

                                                Yes, they have ALL NATURAL pork products at T&T meat counter now. In fact, for ground pork, one can buy a piece of pork and have them ground it for you there and then!! Should be safe?!
                                                Scarberian, though not the best, however, the Loblaws President's choice prepacked Serrano ham was 'passable' for the money. So, based on this, no harm giving the Metro product a try. Now, I KNOW!! Never again!!

                                              2. The dimsum and precooked counter has some redeeming items. I like their purple rice and coconut milk dessert. Their green-onion pancakes, while dripping in oil and msg, also tastes pretty good.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: marshies

                                                  Authentic green-onion pancakes served in the Orient ( China.Hong Kong...etc) are prepared on huge flat bottom almost non-stick 'cast iron' pan requiring minimum oil and hence almost greaseless!

                                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                                    My grandma makes a nice onion pancake. The pastry is layered when you bite into it. She puts bits of pork with spicy black bean sauce into the layers, so I'm always hoping that my next bite will hit a little pocket of spiced meaty goodness. I've always considered onion pancakes to be greasy food, even when she made it at home with minimal oil.

                                                    But the T&T ones are probably pan-fried in tons of oil. They're tasty, if not authentic.

                                                    1. re: marshies

                                                      Well, the layers are brushed with oil -- that's what makes it flaky. So even if they're cooked without oil, it's not quite low-fat.

                                                2. Yikes, I can't comment on the T&T shrimp dumplings but I do know of a dim sum product from Asian supermarkets that you can find in the frozen section, T&T included. Look for 'Asian Pantry'. It's a local product and if you're looking for a quick dim sum fix, I suggest this brand: http://www.thefoodpursuit.com/asian-p... The dumplings are big and the meat / shrimp is not mushy.

                                                  1. Ever since Loblaw (George Weston Ltd.) purchased T&T the stores have gone downhill. They've recently purchased Ace Bakery as well. God help the quality level of their fine bread.

                                                    Just what this province needs... another monopoly.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Jed Clampet

                                                      I haven't noticed any real change at T&T. What has gone downhill?

                                                    2. I did not know this of Ace Bakery.
                                                      But that can explain now why I can no longer locate Ace bakery frozen bread products at loblaws.Independent ect.
                                                      Now there is just PC frozen bread items (I can't always get to the store for fresh bread and only thing near me is foodbasics...which is best to avoid for any "fresh" bread.

                                                      I can't get to T%T that easily, it is over 1 hour by bus 1 way...so not really worth it for me at the moment.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: MiriamOttawa

                                                        Ace bakery frozen bread has been available for quite awhile at Loblaws in Leaside (off Laird Drive) and lately it's been available again at the Real Canadian Superstore at Don Mills and Lawrence. Miriam, if you're in Ottawa this may not be too helpful, but it may be a sign that the Loblaws chain has resumed stocking it more widely, perhaps at a store closer to you.

                                                      2. Well... a great posting - you beat me to the punch... Was going to start a new one (as you know) about T&T's HORRIBLE prepared food, and BEG someone to share a super NASTY story that would forever burn itself into my sub-conscious so I would NEVER consider making the same mistake again... One like the one I experienced at Mars on College... but I digress.

                                                        Ya gotta admit that the concept of an extensive prepared food section in a supermarket is BRILLIANT! You're shopping, you're hungry, there are chairs, and the food looks and smells great. This however is not just about their shockingly repulsive dim sum (which incidentally I've eaten a few times because my hunger monkey was overpowering me). Also, I would NEVER even consider touching the sushi because I love sushi too much to ruin that important part of my life, it's every single hot, prepared food item I have ever tried there, and trust me, I've tried many hoping to find a gem... Not even their simple pan fried singapore type noodle has anything going for it... bbq pork - the most benign of all Chinese cuisine even looks offensive. I'm good with their fresh meat section such as chicken breasts, and their beef tenderloin is incredibly priced (although I'm not a beef expert so I can't comment on the quality)... Still however hoping for a real toe-curler to deprogram my hunger monkey to ever force me to line up for that grease-soaked, gristly grub. Phew! Thank you and good night.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Moimoi

                                                          This is quite funny. But do you really require someone else's experience to permanently turn you off something? I find it hard to go on and on about something I don't like for the simple reason that if I didn't like it, I would be eating something/somewhere else the next time. I can talk somewhat informatively about places that I've eaten often, but for places/foods I don't like, it's usually a one shot experience. If you don't like/love it....just don't eat it. However just accept that others might like that which you don't.....(and vice-versa)

                                                          1. re: T Long

                                                            Oh, I disagree. Bad meals often stick in my mind much more so than good meals. Great meals always stay in my mind but bad ones make for the best stories. Case in point, one of my favourite meals ever was at Hashimoto, but if you ask me to describe the courses, I can't. It's been a couple of years and has become a beautiful sensory blur. I blame the sake, but I also think it was the delicate subtlety of the flavours that made me think the meal was so fantastic. Contrast that with two similar experiences, both in Laos and both involving water buffalo on a stick. One stick was hot from the coals and utterly unchewable. I worked and worked at it, only to get nowhere. It was gamey, tough, stringy and all-around nasty (to me). The second was a skewer sold to me while I was in a tuk tuk. A swarm of pushy kids were selling all kinds of stuff. It had been rather nutty day and let's just say we had a case of the munchies. By the time the kids scampered away to count their loot, we had a couple of warm-ish beers, a cob of corn and a few skewers of mystery meat, which turned out to be undercooked water buffalo liver, cooked I don't know how much earlier, since they were not even remotely warm. How's that for living on the edge? One bite and I was searching for anything to serve as a napkin. Once again I had a mouthful of unchewable matter that had the funkiest, rankest taste, even though I thoroughly believe it was fresh meat. I'll never forget those textures and tastes, yet I've already forgotten many average and several fine meals I've had in the better restaurants in the GTA.

                                                            I want to add too that the biggest pisser is when you spend good money on a product expecting quality to match price, and then it doesn't ... not by a country mile. It's downright infuriating, especially if you've bypassed a lower priced, sturdy alternative in favour of what you think will be the pièce de résistance in a dish or on your table.

                                                            1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                              Your case is well made! I will definitely stay away from eating water buffalo on a stick in Laos (or anywhere else) based on your experience. In your shoes, I would have stopped after the first one.....