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Theee best crispy beef in the GTA

I've been in the film business in Toronto for almost 30 yrs and I can tell you that the day Chung King on Spadina closed was a sad day for all film techs indeed.The crispy beef was sooo delicious.It was like heaven to my tastebuds.Today I see there is hope behind pacific mall.If this is the awesome crispy beef that my co-workers and myself have missed ,the transport dept. will be sending a driver on CRISPY BEEF missions lots!!!

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  1. This is an 'out-of-date' dish that originated from Calgary and slowly made its way across Canada. Only place I've seen this dish on the menu nowadays is 'Hi Shanghai' on Steeles and Kennedy. Not sure how good it is though?!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Rol San on Spadina also has a crispy beef dish that's similar to Calgary-style Ginger Beef.

      Might be out-of-date in the GTA, but Ginger Beef still shows up on every Chinese restaurant dinner menu I've seen in Edmonton, Saskatoon or Calgary! :-)

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Does anywhere still do this dish well in Calgary? Am heading there for one night in a week and would go for it.

      2. Lin Gardens in Scarborough. Absolutely addictive. Does not travel well, however.

        1. Don't know if the restaurant is related but there is a ChungKing Restaurant at Market Village (Kennedy just north Steeles) and they do a Crispy Beef dish there. Pretty good IMO. Their Peking Duck is also pretty good.


          1. Addictive version at Danforth Dragon -- Danforth just east of Pape.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dalton48

              Agree re Danforth Dragon - very very good!

              1. re: millygirl

                I 3rd this! Danforth Dragon crispy beef is the best I've tried since Helena'a at Steeles/Laureleaf closed down.

            2. Fairview Seafood Restaurant in a strip mall at Markham & Sheppard in Scarborough. Words can't describe how good...and cheap. You have to ask for it because I think it's off menu.

              2 Replies
              1. re: currycue

                I went the Fairview yesterday and asked for it and they pointed me to a dish called sesame beef. It's sliced beef, fried with a bit of a sweet/spicy sauce and sprinkled with sesame. It's on the menu for $8.99 + tax.

                It not bad, but it certainly wasn't cheap. I'm not sure if it's the same one you talked about though!

                1. re: ragged25

                  That's the one! Love it (but fear it's full of ve-tsin). From the description below, it sounds like it might be a different dish to what the op was looking for.

                  BTW, they also do a great spicy pork with xo sauce and king mushroom

              2. The Goof in the Beach does their version (Garden Gate Beef) which is serviceable but nothing compares to true Calgary-style out west.

                Not sure I understand the "out-of-date" dish comment. Who cares when it was created? If it tastes good, eat it!

                1 Reply
                1. Please help out a New England Yankee--what exactly is crispy beef???

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: KSlink

                    I was first introduced to this dish at Chung King on Spadina south of College. They called it Szechuan shredded beef. It's narrow strips of beef that have been coated in some kind of sesame coating and fried. It's tossed with julienne carrots and hot pepper flakes. It was absolutely delicious and highly addictive. At Chung King, you would see this dish literally on every table. I'm intrigued by the OP's comments on the film industry's attachment to this dish. I used to work with a photo studio and I overheard them talking about getting The Beef for lunch. I asked cautiously, "Are you talking about Chung King?" We bonded immediately and I was welcomed into The Brother/Sisterhood of The Beef.

                    1. re: crawfish

                      I have had the pork version of this at a restaurant called Victors which was located in Scarborough north of Eglinton on Markaham Road.(across from Cougar Crt), They had thin strips of pork with thin strips of bamboo shoots stir fried in a ginger garlic sauce. It was the best tasting thing in the world. The cook was a master chef his wife a master baker. Incredible artists both visually and taste and smell, Oh my God!!!
                      The husband and wife that ran the place dissapeared. So if anyone knows where they went.
                      PLEASE LET ME KNOW !!!!

                  2. I had the crispy ginger beef at the Spadina Gardens (on Dundas at Bay) - a guilty pleasure, but I have to admit that it wasn't as good the stuff I had in Calgary. Now, however, I'm loving the spicy tofu with peanuts at the Spadina Gardens. It is my absolutely favourite.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SusanB

                      So, based on the recs here I tried out Danforth Dragon and Spadina Gardens, both for the first time. My experience with both are below:

                      Spadina Gardens - I really didn't like their version at all. To be honest, it really felt like fish and chip batter and I wasn't fond of the pool of chili soy sauce that it was sitting in. I think I prefer the dry crispy ginger beef because then the coating stays, you know, crispy. There were three of us and we were actually offering each other to have the last few pieces.

                      Danforth Dragon - Clear clear winner!! This was so addictive and exactly how I imagined crispy ginger beef to be. I even did take-out and took it for a 30 min ride home during rush hr and it was excellent. I couldn't stop eating this.. can't wait to go back and get it again.

                      I've tried Szechuan Szechuan from the FCP food courts and it was great 2 yrs ago, but the last two times I had it were completely different stories. I wouldn't get it again.

                    2. When I worked in the financial district years ago, I use to take out a crispy beef from Szechuan Szechuan @ FCP after work to take home. We discovered it because it was a favorite dish among the crowd at my wife's work place. We never found a better source nearer my home in N.Scarborough/Markham. I guess it is considered a more "Chinese-Canadian" dish, thus the puzzling "out of date" reference. I only wish there were more good "out of date" dishes around these days....like the way they made S&S Pork ribs in Calgary in the 60's (never found a comparable in this great city.)

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: T Long

                        I'm w you T Long, the Crispy Ginger Beef at Szechuan Szechuan was one of my favourites. With a light, crispy coating and just the right amount of heat that builds and builds as you enjoy the dish.

                        Unfortunately, of late I've found the quality and consistency of dishes at this FCP veteran to be diminishing. I wondered whether the owners had changed hands and created a post on this here:


                        I'd love to know of another option in the Financial District. I miss my Szechuan Szechuan.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          I know that my son and some of his friends are addicted to the Crispy Beef at Hong Shing, 195 Dundas in Old Chinatown. Apparently that's what everyone in the late-night crowd orders there. It's #67, Honey Spicy Crispy Beef, $9.50 on the dinner menu.

                          1. re: Yongeman

                            Thanks Yongeman, if I have some extra time at lunch one day, I'll definitely check it out! Much appreciated.

                            1. re: Yongeman

                              Aww Yongeman, I went there last night and the beef was indeed crispy and oil free but the honey spicy sauce was not nearly spicy, nor was there enough sauceto give flavour to the dish. I also wish the sauce was evenly distributed... Anyways, that was the first and last time I'll likely visit Hong Shing, but now I realize how good Spicy Crispy Beef could be if done well.

                              1. re: chocabot

                                Oh, too bad, chocabot. Sounds like it has potential, though. Maybe if you ask for it extra spicy?

                                1. re: chocabot

                                  I actually got to try the crispy beef at Hong Shin the other night. It was very interesting, to say the least. Slightly spicy, crispy, very little sauce and quite sweet. I agree with chocabot that I would have likes it with more sauce and heat. Strangely addictive, though. Other dishes that were ordered (chicken fried rice and vegetable chow mein) were much less than stellar, but they did have their fans among the people who were sharing with me.

                            2. re: T Long

                              Tlong, have you tried the CB at Lin yet? I find it to be far superior to the CB at Szechuan x2. It's not even close. Ymmv, as always, however!

                              1. re: justxpete

                                I still need to try out Lin for a first time. It seems that every time I get close to Lin and the little plaza it's in, I end up going to the Michi Cafe instead.

                                1. re: T Long

                                  Careful - it's fairly addictive. I think it's probably due to the sodium content, though. ha. I've been going for years - the Crispy beef is one of my favourite dishes, as is the Special chicken. Definitely worth the effort. Will try Michi Cafe next time I'm in the area! I tried the Crispy Beef at Szechuan Szechuan hoping I'd have something decent closer to home that I didn't have to drive all the way to Scarborough for - but found that the crispy beef there wasn't nearly as good (for me). Anyway - do let me know if you head out to Lin some day. Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

                            3. I know that I will get flak for this, but The Pilot has had crispy beef on their menu for years. It may not be the most outstanding, but it does taste amazing after a few pints.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Lazar

                                as does the patty melt....the pilot is brilliant at 70's and 80's....

                                1. re: ingloriouseater

                                  The crispy beef dishes described above seem quite similar to the dry sautéed Szechuan shredded beef featured on the menu of Szechuan Gourmet, a popular Chinese resto in a strip mall on Steeles Ave., just west of Bathurst St. Dee-lish. Mind, it's been a while since I've had it - the smallish space is ordinarily jammed whenever I feel the urge for the dish on the occasional Sunday night, so I just give up and travel elsewhere.

                                  And that "elsewhere" is never Lin Garden. If the crispy beef is any good at Lin Garden, as attested to above (I haven't had it in years), it may be just about the only thing they do right anymore. That place is long past its prime. Its low, low prices are sure right, though. Probably best as a hangout for impoverished students.

                                  1. re: juno

                                    Actually, many of their dishes are quite delicious. They serve as a hub for all the surrounding tech firms and businesses during the day. Many different nearby companies have groups of regulars that go there of a frequent basis of every stripe and culture. It's packed at lunch almost every day. And no, it's not expensive, but food doesn't have to be expensive to be good. And I'm hardly an "impoverished student", but I still love going there. See you at Stock? lol.

                                    1. re: justxpete

                                      I'll take Federicks Haka 10 times out of 10 over Lin Garden in Scarberia. I haven't tried the crispy beef, as it isn't to my personal taste, but for chicken pakoras, chili chicken, kan-shue beans, manchurian noodles, s&s shrimp, etc. Federicks is much better, IMO.

                                      1. re: TorontoTips

                                        This is a thead about Crispy beef. I'm glad you like to eat other things in other places. So do I. Also - insulting Sacrborough does you no favors.

                                        1. re: TorontoTips

                                          Federicks has the very best "Shrimp Pakoras" in the world. Their Chili Cicken kicks butt.

                                          1. re: moondawg21

                                            I never saw the big deal about Federicks. Chili chicken tastes like plain old salty gravy with a TON of pepper in it. No complexity or balance.

                                      2. re: juno

                                        Several conceptually similar but really quite different dishes are entangled in this thread.

                                        The dry sautéed shredded beef was on the "secret" menu at China House until Joanne Kates outed it and they "Canadianized" the menu (ruining everything). I think this version has at least some genuine Chinese provenance. (I had the identical dish at two places in NY and one in Montreal in the mid-sixties.)

                                        It appeared next at the Shantung on College, thence to Paul's, then on to the many Paul's clones. The original Chung King, Henry's Hunan Palace, and Peter's Chung King did it very well; Young Lok, Spadina Garden, and another little place on College were decent. Garlic Pepper (Yonge/Wellesley) was good originally but became awful. Peter's served it to the end; still potentially very good, but only if you knew exactly how to order.

                                        Spadina Garden still has it on the menu, but it's boring these days. The Chung King north of Pacific Mall (supposedly descended from the original) serves it, but they kept giving me the "white guy food" version so I stopped going. I don't know what Helena was like way back when, but the dish was awful there about three years ago.

                                        The sweet crispy beef served all over town, the battered version served for decades at Yen Ching (among others), and the "Hakka" versions of crispy beef are all very different. If there's a good version of dry sauteed shredded beef downtown, I'd like to know where, as I've long been addicted to this dish. I learned to make it, and it's really difficult to do well. My wife insists I have the fire extinguisher handy whenever I try.

                                        Szechuan Szechuan (I haven't been there in many years) served a very bastardized version, enrobed in sugar until almost candied. The sugar coating turns a dish that's cooked three times and doesn't hold into one that's very easy to prepare. Thing is, it's not the same dish.

                                        1. re: embee

                                          Embee....once again...spot on!
                                          I have heard that Peter opened up somewhere in the 'north end' but not one person has found out where..have you heard that 'rumour'? I still don't understand how Peter just up and closed so suddenly..we were very friendly, he knew my kids when they were little and subsequently all of our friends. We used his place over the years for big celebrations sometimes as many as 3 tables of eight and he just closed up and was gone..such a shame. Do you remember "Danny from the old Sea Hi downtown?

                                    2. If you're ever working in Hamilton, transplanted Calgarians here like the Orange Beef at Le Chinois - reminds them of the Ginger Beef back home.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: foodiemommy

                                        The Goof in the Beach.

                                        Yummy, yummy, yummo

                                        1. re: foodiemommy

                                          Im going to have to try that as i agreee as "former calgarian" good crispy beef is hard to find.
                                          But Sczhewan Schewzan used to be excellent but now they have the two take out locations seems to have diminished in the quality. But there is a little chinese place in Oshawa that has amazing crispy beef.. spicy, crispy and amazing!!! On the whitby/oshawa border.

                                          1. re: MiniMom

                                            Hi MM,

                                            I'm trying to fill in the food waste land after Scarborough with a few good recs. Good crispy beef would definitely be a nice addition.

                                            Do you have a name, address, or intersection for your "little chinese place in Oshawa that has amazing crispy beef" ?

                                        2. Bombay Chopsticks in Mississauga has a tasty hakka style crispy beef. I believe there's a couple locations.. Not sure if this is the "Calgary style" you are all referring to though

                                          1. Kim Kim has a kickass version that is simply addictive. I am salivating just thinking about it. I believe it's about $9 bucks an order and have it with a bowl of steamed white rice!

                                            1188 Kennedy Rd Toronto, ON M1P 2L1
                                            (416) 757-8300

                                            1. What's people opinion on the ones at schechuan garden and kom jug yuen?

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                Don't know. Go to Lin Garden in Scarborough and be done with it.

                                                1. re: justxpete

                                                  Haven't tried the Szechuan Garden for a few years, and not sure I've ever been to Kom Jug Yuen, but earlier this month I discovered a new (tentative) favourite that, for me, clearly beat Lin Garden.

                                                  I had the Gan-Ben Beef (Hakka) but they also feature Szechuan Beef. This was the best version I've had since the 'original' Shantung/Paul's/Peters Chung King line.


                                                  I was at the Overlea location (which GoogleMaps doesn't acknowledge), but it's in the plaza behind Bamiyan Kabob at Overlea & Thorncliffe Park Drive.

                                                  Planned on writing it up if my second visit was as good as the first (which was spectacular). In fact, might just return tonight anyway!

                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                    Went to Faley based on this comment. Loved the dish but it was a tad sweeter than I like, which was "fixed" with the addition of their chili vinegar. I loved the fact that it wasn't covered in a goopy sauce. Excellent crispiness. Also, the staff (I believe owners) were incredibly nice. Out of curiosity I also tried a stir fried dish (chicken chow mein) and the wok hay was outstanding.

                                                    1. re: eppicurious

                                                      Thanks for trusting me. I didn't get back as planned but now am looking forward to trying the Wok Hay.

                                                    2. re: estufarian

                                                      Coincidentally, I went to Faley today. I hadn't seen your comment previously but searched for any references to "Faley" just because it was Hakka and they also had crispy beef - but oddly enough, some clients took me there randomly. I gotta say - we couldn't have further opinions on the Crispy Beef at Faley vs. Lin Garden - to me, Faley doesn't hold a candle to Lin. It's not even close (for me)!! Far, far too sweet for me at Faley. I left craving Lin.

                                                      Funny that we could be so completely opposite on this one!

                                                      /edit on a side note, I loved their chilli chicken, and the staff were great as well.

                                                2. I've tried many different versions, but to me Rol San makes the best version.
                                                  Meat stays crispy even for take out.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: 1roadstr

                                                    ok - you guy convinced me - I'm going to try Rol San - but have you tried Lin Gardens' version, Roadstr?

                                                    1. re: justxpete

                                                      I actually have had it there many many moons ago.
                                                      The Hakka version while good tends to get soft and soggy while rol sans stays crisp.

                                                  2. The best crispy beef (Szechuan shredded beef) is at Chung King Garden in Market Village in Markham.


                                                    They also have awesome peking duck. I know this is an old post but for those looking for the old Chung King on Spadina. This restaurant in Markham is actually owned by the head Chef / Owner of the old Chung King on Spadina.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jaymh

                                                      I have nothing to say about the beef since I am not a fan of this type of preparation.

                                                      However, I do like to voice my disagreement about Market Village's Chung King Peking Duck being awesome!!

                                                      A few months back, a few of us ' Best Chinese Restaurant Award' judges and organizer ( a few chowhounders and yelpers included ) went to Chung King for a clandestine tasting of their duck. It was unbelievably bad, the 'locals' who recommended the place were so embarrassed and have to apologize to our out of town visitors! Apart from the barely passable skin, the rest of the duck meat, pancake and other preparation was either too dry, too greasy or just plain BAD!!!

                                                      Right now for Peking Duck, I would recommend sticking with the more consistent Emperor ( photos attached ) or Yang's.