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Swatow on Spadina - BEST dishes?

toronto guy Sep 5, 2012 12:19 PM

What are the best dishes at Swatow?

Thanks in advance


  1. r
    robb Sep 5, 2012 01:40 PM

    shrimp dumpling noodle soup, special fried noodles...more like a linguine type noodle than chow mein, pan fried pork dumplings....ask for them well-done with the sweet soya on the side.

    4 Replies
    1. re: robb
      petek Sep 5, 2012 02:33 PM

      Eggplant with shrimp(ask for it spicy).

      Pan fried dumplings

      General Tsao(sp?) chicken.

      Steamed oysters w/black bean

      BBQ pork noodle soup..

      1. re: robb
        justsayn Sep 5, 2012 04:16 PM


        1. re: robb
          acd123 Sep 5, 2012 05:00 PM

          +1 on the shrimp dumpling noodle soup. Flavour of the dumplings (shrimp and mushroom) and egg noodle are good although the soup could be better. The chilies in oil, soy sauce and vinegar pull it all together. It's in my lunch rotation.

          1. re: acd123
            justsayn Sep 5, 2012 10:56 PM

            Yes its true that the soup could be better - its too sweet. I much prefer House of Gourmet around the corner on Dundas.

        2. Notorious P.I.G. Sep 5, 2012 02:44 PM

          Wonton Mein + Curry Squid

          1. T Long Sep 5, 2012 02:50 PM

            Beef rice noodle soup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: T Long
              caitlink Sep 5, 2012 08:02 PM

              Stirfried pea shoot with garlic, shrimp dumpling noodle

            2. w
              Wandering Foodie Sep 6, 2012 06:47 AM

              Haven't been there in a few years but I prefer their beef internals noodle. Not many places give you the variety and quantity of organs. I find the wonton noodle good but pretty standard compared to other places.

              1. Dr. John Sep 6, 2012 03:04 PM

                Definitely the shrimp dumplings - either as noodle soup or just shrimp dumpling soup (more dumplings).

                Beef stew noodle soup and four kinds of balls are also good soups. Agree that the broth is not the strong suit.

                In terms of the fried noodle dishes, we like special fried noodles, beef and black bean rice noodles, and the Singapore fried noodles particularly.

                Eggplant and shrimp, clams in black bean sauce - both a bit cornstarchy but very tasty.

                Scrambled egg with shrimp on rice - almost a comfort food for me.

                There's a bitter melon dish that's quite good - I can't remember if it is with oysters or something else.

                Agree about the fried dumplings. The fried stuffed tofu and the fried stuffed hot peppers are similarly good.

                1. b
                  bbbradk Sep 6, 2012 09:41 PM

                  For sure get the General Tsao Chicken, it's so good

                  1. aser Sep 6, 2012 10:34 PM

                    beef brisket + daikon
                    curry squid
                    salted fish & chicken fried rice
                    water spinach (tung choy) with preserved bean curd or shrimp paste

                    and the ubiquitous wonton mein of course.

                    1. d
                      Danybear Sep 7, 2012 09:47 AM

                      went to SWATOW last night after reading this post. Third time at Swatow and was amazed at how EMPTY the place was at 8 pm. Had the beef and black beans on rice. Cook had hurried to get it out, even though I hadn't asked. The onions and green peppers were totally uncooked and very off putting. The shrimp dumpling soup was delish, the broth especially so. Hope they haven't begun a slide to the bottom.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Danybear
                        bryanayrb Sep 7, 2012 10:47 AM

                        swatow's never actually been that great whenever i went. maybe i'm spoiled by markham chinese food.

                      2. luxual Sep 15, 2012 07:15 AM

                        71. Beef with black bean on noodle.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: luxual
                          DDD Sep 15, 2012 01:43 PM

                          Shrimp with lobster sauce on rice

                          1. re: DDD
                            Hondapendragon Sep 15, 2012 03:17 PM

                            +1 for the shrimp in lobster sauce.

                        2. j
                          justanotherdoan Sep 15, 2012 03:12 PM

                          agree with luxal. the beef with blackbean sauce over noodles is very good. u can ask for the thick white rice noodles or the crispy fried noodles. very hard choice for myself as i enjoy both types of noodles.

                          1. j
                            jdgo75 Sep 18, 2012 09:42 AM

                            not sure of the #, but there is a mushroom and bok choi dish that is excellent.

                            1. t
                              thebutcher Apr 4, 2013 07:15 PM

                              Went last night and picked up some food for take-out and used the recos here as a guide.
                              Shrimp Dumpling soup - terrific (lots of shrimp filled dumplings in a light broth).
                              Beef with black bean sauce over crispy noodles - meh. (Crispy noodles, hard, green pepper and onion, undercooked, beef ok, under-seasoned overall).
                              Hot n Sour soup - amazing (not too gelatinous, good heat).
                              Spring rolls - v good.
                              Garlic pork (good flavour - but container steamed the dish making the pork soggy).
                              Overall - will stick with the soups and spring rolls.

                              1. PoppiYYZ Jan 12, 2014 08:01 AM

                                Anyone know what the Asian greens are that they serve at Swatow ? It is bright green, some leaf, and tender stocks (slightly smaller than asparagus).

                                Definitely not Chinese Broccoli. I've seen packages of Yu Choy (Rapeseed) in the markets that looks similar, and also thought it might be Chinese Spinach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_...).

                                Planning the garden already and want to try growing it !

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                  happycamper Jan 12, 2014 08:49 AM

                                  Yes, most likely Water Spinach like you mentioned (they usually saute them with garlic or fermented tofu.
                                  It could also be baby pea shoots though.

                                  I have tried to grow my own water spinach in the backyard with amateur hothouse/plastic covers. They are finicky things - require a lot of water, well-drained pots. Mine were droopy and yellow.

                                  Best of luck!

                                  1. re: happycamper
                                    Teep Jan 12, 2014 09:25 AM

                                    Water spinach has a hollow stalk.

                                    Chinese spinach is lighter in flavour and colour than regular spinach, the stalks are very thin, very tender when cooked.

                                    Pea shoots have no stalks to speak of.

                                    Yu Choy or choy sum is the cheapest of these and is often the default greens in a dish. The other 3 above you have to specifically order.

                                    1. re: Teep
                                      PoppiYYZ Jan 13, 2014 06:56 AM

                                      Bought a bag of Yu Choy and I think that is it. No hollow stock, multi stems joined at the bottom, and a small flower cluster in the center.

                                      Amazing tasty vegetable. Crisp but tender stems, nice peppery flavor. Excellent dish at Swatow (usually as a side) and excellent easy to make at home.

                                2. Charles Yu Jan 12, 2014 03:30 PM

                                  23 replies and no one mentioned it so far?!!
                                  Actually, it's not a dish but more like side dish/ condiments!! - Their 'Fried Fish Skin'!! Crispy, crunchy, salty, savory!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                    aser Jan 12, 2014 10:27 PM

                                    Alas, they don't have it very often. A lot of times it's not available. Trust me, I try to order it and 9 times out of 10 I'm denied.

                                    For the adventurous, the pork blood cube dish is also good. It ain't in the menu, strictly wall item in Chinese.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                      Teep Jan 14, 2014 05:40 PM

                                      Have you tried the packaged fried fish skin found at e.g. T&T? not like fresh but still addicting!

                                    2. Ediblethoughts Jan 14, 2014 06:27 PM

                                      Any mushroom egg drop soup? My fellow diner is dying for this...

                                      My least favourite part of Swatow has always been the lack of wine... sigh.

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