Charles Yu's Profile

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Hong Kong and Beijing Solo Dining

I totally agree with our fellow chowhounder PhilD. An indication of the style and if Chinese, the regional cuisine, would help us tremendously with our recommendations.

FYI, I have no problem dining alone in high-end places in HK especially western ones like L'Atelier Robouchon....though being single would limit the number of dishes one can try in a Chinese restaurant. If you like Japanese, an Omakase meal at the 2* Ryugin atop of ICC would be most enjoyable!

1 day ago
Charles Yu in China & Southeast Asia

Best chinese in the city of Toronto

Oh yes, the tea!!! IMO, better and flavourful than a lot of so called 'award winning' outfit!!

1 day ago
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best chinese in the city of Toronto

Believe it or not. Their Cantonese Roasted Duck is IMHO one of the best in town! The marinade, unlike a lot of 'cut-corner' versions, is very authentic traditional Hong Kong. Resulting in an absolutely delicious sauce.

A lot of their 'Wok-Hay' stirred fry noodle and rice dishes have nice smokey aroma and gorgeously seared caramelization of proteins in particular the beef. As such, rice noodle with beef and black bean sauce, Prawns with scrambled eggs on rice noodle or Beef Ho-Fun aka ' Gone Chau Ngay Ho ' are all superb. Portion sizes are huge!

Apr 14, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

" Dragon Boat Fusion Chinese " - May be the BEST of the new bunch?!!

Went for dinner tonight! What a disastrous ' service related' experience!!
We ordered the Peking Duck two ways. The duck arrived promptly and in perfect condition. The lacquered crispy skin was carved in front of us and presented. Next came the wait!!! The loooooong wait!!10-15 minutes elapsed before the pancakes and condiments arrive and the skin to get cold! What a joke!!

Apr 14, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best chinese in the city of Toronto

Hi smfan,
Interesting you mention 'Borscht'. I had one at Richmond Court, Times Square for the first time, a couple of days ago and was stunned by how 'GOOD' it was!! Dense and complex with a hint of ' Old Hong Kong Commercial flavor and aroma '.

Apr 14, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Restaurants around Fairview Mall

Wow! Nice job estufarian! Totally forgot about this thread!

BTW, I thought you are out of town enjoying 'out-of-this-world' yummy Michelin star food?!

Apr 13, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tian Tian Hai Nan Ji Fan 天天海南雞飯 – My Favorite Hai Nan Chicken Rice in Singapore

Yes!! How time flies!!
Guess its about time I make another visit! This time I hope you will 'vow' me with more great 'curry' places

Apr 13, 2014
Charles Yu in China & Southeast Asia

Tian Tian Hai Nan Ji Fan 天天海南雞飯 – My Favorite Hai Nan Chicken Rice in Singapore

If only they would use 'free-range' chicken as well, then the whole package would be perfect!!

Apr 13, 2014
Charles Yu in China & Southeast Asia

"La Mere 'Pekingnese' Restaurant" - Richmond Hill Branch, Times Square

After an interesting and surprisingly enjoyable chowing experience at La Mere's Scarborough flag ship last week.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489287

Today, I decided to give their much closer-to-home, Richmond Hill branch a try. Again, the reasonably priced food was delicious and lovingly prepared. There were a few repeat favorites amongst our order as well as some new and untried dishes.

A number of stand outs include:
- A nicely seasoned " Marinated shredded beef tripe with chili oil, seasoned soy, garlic, Cilantro...." cold appetizer.
- A flavorful " Stirred fry shredded Cabbage with mini sun-dried Shrimps ". A very delicious veggie dish with the aroma and sweet umami taste of the shrimp really stood out.
- A basket of " Deep fried tooth-pics Lamb Nuggets ".. This is not unlike your typical chicken nuggets but in this 'exotic' case, the lamb nuggets were marinated heavily with cumin and other spices. Exotic indeed! Unfortunately, a touch overly greasy spoiled the eating sensation a little.
- Lastly, stealing the show was the bowl of " Cold Noodles with House special Spicy sauce Topping ". Man! This is one great yummy bowl of noodle!! Period! With the right amount of heat, the slightly unfamiliar but savory taste sensation was very complex and a delight to eat. So good! A must order for my next visit!

With the now 'chowhound-favorite' "Northern Dumpling Kitchen" and this soon-to-be favorite located side-by-side.from each other. Decision in choosing which one to enter is going to be tough one!

Apr 12, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Restaurants around Fairview Mall

Used to be own by Greek. Award winning!!
Now, taken over by Orientals. Charbroiled Burger still pretty decent.

Apr 12, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Restaurants around Fairview Mall

The Burger place next door to TARO is pretty good too!

Apr 12, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Restaurants around Fairview Mall

For much better quality Sushi and Sashimi prepared by 'Japanese', one can head over to 'Taro' at Sheppard and Leslie. Pick your choices of fish, seafood or cooked food and then eat them at the counter! Kind of cool!

Apr 11, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Restaurants around Fairview Mall

There's a new 'Congee Phoenix' on Sheppard just east of the 404 exit. As good as Congee Queen. Only downside was they do not have BBQ meats

Apr 11, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Another new 'Congee' invasion!! - This time 'Congee Phoenix'

I did not take photo of the Congee because its not to 'photogenic'! White is white?! However, ingredients of my bowl were fairly generous and texture of the porridge pretty good.
IMO, almost all the 'mega-chain' Congee places are fairly identical and consistent. Food, not just Congee, of 'Congee Queen' is slightly better, especially their BBQ meat.
In fact for Congees, my favorite are not the above captioned few but the Congee and Rice roll place inside Market Village as well as 'My Kitchen' and 'Richmond Court', Times Square

Apr 11, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Another new 'Congee' invasion!! - This time 'Congee Phoenix'

During the past year or two, whilst our Japanese Cousins are having their own 'Ramen' invasion, I noticed the Chinese side too are having a similar invasion of their own. In their case - 'Congee'.

With Congee Wong, Congee King, Congee Queen, Congee Star and Congee Time sprouting up all over the place, Today, I noticed a new addition to the list. Located on Sheppard next to the 404 exit,( 2111 Sheppard Avenue East ) the place is called 'Congee Phoenix'.

For lunch, I had a rice Congee of salted pork and thousand year eggs plus a Stirred fry seafood Taiwanese Rice Vermicelli. Quality of the food was pretty high. A definite welcoming addition to the culinary void in that part of town.

Apr 10, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

'Skyview Fusion Chinese' - Sorry folks! Another relatively new kid on the block. This one could be the best 'early-bird' Dim Sum in the GTA?!

Friday is still 'weekday' for Dim Sum!

Apr 10, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Scarborough Gems

Is that right?! Thanks for the heads up! Much closer to home!!

Apr 10, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Scarborough Gems

Photos of La Mere's food

Apr 09, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Scarborough Gems

' La Mere Chinese Restaurant ' - 3278 Midland Avenue,

Nestled inside a relatively new and modern plaza at Midland and Finch lies this cozy little authentic Chinese eatery with a French name serving homey, comfort Pekingnese food that is as authentic as can be here in the GTA.

Famous for their variety of delicious and soulful Meat filled pancakes, noodles, dumplings and finger foods. This is a great casual and reasonably priced hang-out place, if 'tapas' size dishes for sharing are in your mind!

For our little casual dinner last night, we ordered a plate of ' Slow braised huge meaty pork bones in seasoned soy ', the house special ' Lamb meat pan cakes ', 'Chives and scrambled eggs pancake ' and ' Pickled salad of cabbage, cucumbers and wood fungus'. For dessert we settled for a bowl of Sweet fermented rice, Gogi berries and mini-mochi soup.

The off the bone tender, pulled-pork like meat from the huge meaty bones were delicious and subtle in taste. 5 out of 8 tables inside this small dining room all ordered this dish! A testament of its popularity and yummy goodness! 9 huger morsels for only $5.99! What a bargain!

Both the pancakes were piping hot. The crispy and chewy crepe like dough were greaseless wrapping around a generous pile of juicy fillings. The sliced lamb with a bit of tender tendons and gelatine were particularly good.

Unlike normal pickled vegetable salad. La Mere's version was almost void of acidity. In its place the marinade infused a nice clean subtle sweetness to the vegetables. Very refreshing and tasty.

The dessert was superb! My wife was saying it was even better than the one at the famous 'Shanghai Fraternity Association' of Hong Kong! Now! That is something!!

For the good food and great price, this place is highly recommended! Be prepare to line up and wait!

Photos are posted separately.

Apr 09, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buy, Buy, Birdie?

Hi pourbol
On a lighter note. just out of curiosity, was the foie gras inside the chicken cavity or between the skin? I was wondering how they manage to keep the foie from melting to oil if they remain between the skin during the entire duration of the roasting period?! Unless they partially cook the chicken before inserting the foie, the 45 minutes+ normally needed to roast a chicken should surely melt the foie?! Guess just this cooking skill alone deserves a cost premium!

Apr 08, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

CHRIS JERK Caribbean Bistro - A GREAT NEW FIND in Scarborough!

I also heard the hole-in-the wall Chinese Wok-Hay place is pretty good as well. Kind of like Fantasy Kitchen of old?!

Apr 08, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

'Stone Fortune' - A disappointing 'Hong Kong Cafe' experience.

'Hollywood Cafe' in Market Village is decent.
There's one next to Congee Wong in PeachTree/Kennedy Plaza ( Kennedy &Hwy7 ) which is pretty good. Forgot the name though. ( some Marine theme name? )

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

CHRIS JERK Caribbean Bistro - A GREAT NEW FIND in Scarborough!

'Foie Gras under the skin of the jerk chicken' - That's a good one VV!! $71??!!
Their 'Jerk Chicken Sharwama' IMO is fusion enough. With the Foie addition!! COOL!!!!

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

'Stone Fortune' - A disappointing 'Hong Kong Cafe' experience.

Yup! I suspect we ordered the wrong dishes!
Judging from how busy the place was, there must be things that's good to lure customers in!
Thanks for correcting my mistake!

May be I'll try OMG next?! Any idea as to what I should order?

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

WTF is up with the noise level in Toronto restaurants?

If you think that is bad, try having a Dim Sum lunch on a Saturday in a packed Chinese restaurant with low ceiling and hard stone flooring! So loud, teens are communicating with 'What's App' instead. Ha!

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Monk Kitchen (Templar Hotel) - anyone?

Nice review the 3hungry cat! A few photos to go with your great write-up would be fantastic!
BTW, how did you know the photographer was from Toronto Star?

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

'Stone Fortune' - A disappointing 'Hong Kong Cafe' experience.

I was running some errands in the neighborhood of Steeles and Warden when I drove past this eatery. Recalling it was mentioned positively by one of our fraternity member, we decided to drop in for lunch.

The place was small, cozy and modern, quite clean by Chinese eatery standard. It was still pretty full at around 2.30 pm.

We ordered the following set lunches and a la carte dish: ( Daily soup, beverage of tea or coffee were also included in the package ).

- ' Baked Pork Chop on fried rice in Tomato sauce'
- ' Sweet and Sour Pork on rice'
- ' Chinese style stirred fry beef with Tomatoes on rice'

First off, considering it was posted on the wall as a 'chef's special', the 'Tomato and beef on rice' was one huge disappointment. Portion size was extremely small when compared to similar dish from say, Richmond Court or Bayview Kitchen. In fact in was less than half the size! The beef was really tough and totally lacking of seasoning and luster. The pool of over-starched sauce was one dimensional and bland. A few strands of raw Scallions were put into the dish at the end, The bitterness of the uncooked greens rendering the dish even less attractive. I was too discontent to take photo of this one.

Portion of the Sweet & Sour pork was also on the small side when compared with some of its competitors. Taste wise, in this case, it was more acceptable with fairly balanced sweet and tart sauce and nice crunchy fried pork morsels. OK but nothing overly distinctive. Again, not worthy of the ' Gold Medal ' house special title.

The ever popular ' Baked Tomato sauce Pork Chop on Fried Rice ' was decent in size and presentation. Taste was a bit underwhelming when compare to say Richmond Court. The 2 pieces of pork chop were quite generous in size but lacking smokiness and crispiness from being under-seared. Again, the protein was quite tough.

For the portion size offered, price was not cheap. For the quality, I will not return.

The young lady serving us asked me suddenly at the end how my tomato beef was. I was lost for words!!

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buy, Buy, Birdie?

Fellow chowhounders frequently compare similar dishes from eating establishments all over the world to check for authenticity and degree of 'yummyness'!. I don't see what's the problem? San Francisco hounds compare their Won-Ton noodles with that of Hong Kong's, Toronto hounds compare the Peking duck from Scarborough's 'Dayali' with those in Beijing?!!

Back to the discussion on 'chicken'

Surely, when doing the pricing comparison, one should take into account of the pedigree and fame of the chef behind, in this case, the 'Michelin 1* Bouchon' and the recipe?! No?!
'Bouchon' is the brainchild of a 'World Famous' Michelin 3* chef! whom people are willing to dish out significant premium ( US2000 VS $350 ) to taste his 'French Laundry' Tasting menu in places like Hong Kong!

Sure, the 'Chase' is currently Toronto's hot table but the chef is no where near Thomas Keller's calibre!

Looking at this scenario 'reversely'. It reminds me back in the good old days of 'Susur Lee's Lotus'.when Susur was charging a fancily plated fried Calamari tentacles for over $20 when similar dish can be had in Chinese restaurants for $3.50! - Just because he was the 'famous' Susur Lee.

Lastly, if for example 'Zen' charges their sushi omakase the same price as Jiro in Tokyo, I'm sure there will be similar backlash and heated discussion?!!

Apr 07, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Buy, Buy, Birdie?

Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Yountville charges $26.50 for half a Roasted Chicken!! For two = $53!!
And Keller's version is 'World famous'!! Like Paul Prudhome's Blackened Red Fish!!
The Chase??!! How many people outside of Toronto has really heard of it and it's chefs?!
Any more 'rip-off' dishes like this and they will indeed 'Chase' patrons out of the door!!

Apr 06, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Places to buy dried strawberries?

+1 for Tavazo
Quick turn around hence products pretty fresh. Organic as well!! I get my bulk Gogi berries, organic apricots and prunes plus nuts from there!

Apr 06, 2014
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)