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Feb 9, 2014 07:27 PM

'Chuan Yu-Home' - Some AWESOME tasting Sichuan food!!

First, a word of advice to Ba Shu Ren Ja. Be afraid! Be very afraid!! When words started to get out about how great the food tastes in this place, you will have some mighty huge competition!!

Tonight, I tried out this newly opened Sichuan restaurant on 633 Silver Star Blvd, Scarborough just down the road from the current GTA Sichuan favorite - Ba Shu Ren Ja.

Some of the dishes we ordered must rank amongst some of the best tasting Northern Chinese food in town! Yes! It was THAT good!

Though the three of us only ordered 5 dishes and one dessert. They were more than enough to show case the high calibre cooking skill of the kitchen. The dishes were:

- Savory Tea Smoked Duck

- Stirred fry crystal shrimp with asparagus and Ginkgo nuts

- Garlic and Chilli sauce dressed cucumber cubes

- 'Good Omen' assorted skewers in spicy chilli broth

- Savory and spicy minced pork 'Jia Jeung Mien' noodles

- Glutinous rice nuggets in Golgi berries and Yuba skin sweet soup

There is only one word to describe that duck - Awesome!!! Wow! It was so very good! Crispy skin, paired with well seasoned meat and all rounded off with a great smoky aroma. I can eat that dish all day long!

The stirred fry shrimp dish was nicely executed. Shrimp was well marinated and seasoned, the end result, bite after bite of crunchy and sweet morsels. The equally crunchy asparagus was also perfectly cooked. By the way, the tannic and bitter after taste of Ginkgo nuts might not be for everyone! Guess the same can be said about red wine?!!

The chewy and al dente house made, hand pulled noodles was a joy to eat. The minced meat sauce, full of Sichuan peppercorn aroma and taste, was very flavourful. Degree of spiciness was just perfect.

The garlic, cilantro and chili seasoning for the cucumber was very similar in taste to the delicious sauce used by 'Northern Dumpling Kitchen' in their sliced leg of pork dish. Now that I know how flavourful this Chuan Yu-Home version is, I will definitely give their leg of pork a try on my return visit.

The unexpectedly 'cool looking' presentation of the spicy skewer dish was an eye opener. The skewers, comprising of a mixture of innards, gizzards, home made luncheon meat, potato and bean curd skin was soaked in a spicy oily/watery sauce. Great for those who can handle the heat! I particularly loved the taste and chewy texture of the pig's intestine!

Dessert was not too sweet and full of the wonderful aroma of the wine marinated Golgi berries. The chewy Gnocchi like, little glutinous rice balls was most addictive!

Lastly, the full color and picturesque menu must be the most beautiful menu I have ever encountered. Those beautifully photographed food pictures makes one want to order almost every single dish! Nice PR job!!

This is one restaurant I will definitely return to try out more of their offerings. I anticipate it will take more than one trip!!

BTW, here is their ultra-long website address!!

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  1. Morning Charles,

    Looks fantastic! Do the servers speak English or Cantonese? Do you order via a sheet?

    8 Replies
    1. re: dachopstix

      Paper and pencil was indeed provided for us to do the 'do it yourself' ordering. However, the lady server helped us out with our order. The staff speak English and Mandarin.

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Ah Charles, I usually agree with you but not on this one. We went on a night when the restaurant was 80% full. I really liked the duck since I love duck and anything smoked. However, the rest of the family found it very salty after the 2nd piece.
        The dumplings were good. But the rest of our dishes took another 45 minutes to show up. By 6pm, they were out of green onion pancakes. Cumin lamb came 45 minutes after the duck and it was just lots of garlic, onions and miniscule amount of lamb fat morsels.
        The intestine soup noodle - was not what we expected. The noodle is not cut so it's like eating big strips of lasagna. We would have been ok with it but it was very doughy.
        Really liked the "water cooked beef". But not a lot of beef.
        Overall, I think they were understaffed and there was a language barrier. We only speak Cantonese and English and asking for rice, water or condiments took a very long time and lots of gesturing.
        thanks for the rec though. We found their prices to be $2 per dish higher than the dumpling place 2 doors down. So my teenage foodies will be sticking to their go-to favorite next door.

        1. re: caitlink

          Sorry to hear that! You win some, you lose some!!
          However, running out of green onion pancake seems weird??!! So easy to make!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Hopefully the pancakes aren't pre-made/frozen from a supplier...

          2. re: caitlink

            ate here yesterday---the green onion pancakes were pretty mediocre--you didn't miss anything.

            1. re: afong56

              What style were they? The flaky, crispy style or the doughy chewy style? Relatively thin or quick thick?
              For good green onion pancakes, if the establishment makes them 'fresh' in house, I would always place a request for addition spring onion to be added to the dough.

              1. re: Charles Yu

                fairly thin, but doughy and chewy. we don't speak mandarin, and their english was passable but not quite fluent enough to explain everything we wanted, so i don't know if we would have been able to get extra green onion added. i prefer the flaky and crispy style.

                to be fair, of the seven or eight dishes we ordered, it was the one dud. the others ranged from solid to excellent.

                1. re: afong56

                  Glad to know!! May be I'll skip that during my next visit.

      2. Nice find. Will have to check out Gourmet Paradise. Thanks for sharing Charles!

        Total aside and it's been a few years... but I've always much preferred Sichuan Legend to Ba Shu Ren Ja.

        1. Went yesterday to Chuan Yu for dim sum and really enjoyed it!!

          Had the best "green onion pancake" I've ever tasted, filled with a thick layer of chives and then quickly and lightly deep fried. Amazingly good. Handmade noodles in shredded pork and pickle came in a large bowl perfect for sharing-the noodles were chewy and excellent and the broth tasty. The star attraction was the pork dumplings, the best I've tasted outside homemade-juicy and bursting with flavour. We also had a glutinous green dumpling like item filled with very flavourful minced pork. The hot sauce provided was very different from what we normally see as well.

          As you mentioned the menu was truly splendid. Great pictures and a menu that we are going back to investigate this weekend with two friends. Service was friendly, efficient and bill was 21.00 before tip. What a great find Charles, thanks so very much. It seems new Chinese food restaurants have been scarce lately.

          3 Replies
          1. re: g.m.

            You are most welcome dear chowfriend! Glad you loved the food. Guess I have to try out the dumplings on my next visit!
            That gorgeous menu was indeed something else!!

            1. re: g.m.

              Glad their dimsum is good. I want to go but my family doesn't really like sichuan food very much. Dimsum could be a good compromise to get us in there.

              1. re: g.m.

                Returned to Chuan-Yu for another visit tonight.

                Based on reviews from fellow chowhounders, we tried out the pot-stickers and the Scallion pancake to see for ourselves.


                - Pot-stickers were some of the best I've eaten in the GTA. Nicely seasoned fillings with plenty of juice and ultra thin wrapper skin, Bottom was nicely crisped.
                - The dough of the Scallion pancakes were again well seasoned. Salty, crispy, chewy and non-greasy. Very enjoyable!. Next time, I have to remind myself to ask for more spring onions. BTW, based on taste and look, the product is definitely house-made!

                In addition to the smokey and addictive 'Tea Smoked Duck', some other stand-out dishes we ordered included a nicely executed 'Double Cooked Pork', 'Marinated sliced leg of pork with spicy chili garlic soya sauce' and House special Free Range Chicken with sweet chili sauce.

                Service was a little bit slow but very friendly.

                All in all a very satisfying meal with good food and great company!

              2. Looks great. I will be going :) Thanks Charles.

                3 Replies
                1. re: magic

                  I'm always up for Sichuan, and this sounds like my kind of joint, though I'm usually wary of any spot with the word "gourmet" in its name. Ba Shu Ren Jia, I've found lately, to be rather up and down, with some dishes much better than others. I'm particularly interested, Charles, in those minced pork noodles you happily inhaled at Gourmet Paradise. To me, that dish a good test of a Sichuan kitchen. Looks like I'll shortly have to make a safari up that way - it's great weather for eating Sichuan.

                  1. re: juno

                    Haha, I'd agree with that rule, but that "gourmet" rule shouldn't apply to Chinese restaurants, who have ridiculous names by Western standards.

                    1. re: juno

                      Hi Juno! If I can find the time, I might join you and may be share that 'Tea Smoked Duck'!! Still salivating thinking about it!! Its like eating a whole half of a 'greaseless Duck Confit' with crispy skin and kicked up a notch seasoning!!

                  2. Thanks Charles,
                    Once again a great review. Definitely gonna try this place out. Thanks again!!