Charles Yu's Profile

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Magic Noodle - Richmond Hill Branch

Yes, assuming you still have room at the end. The soup/broth was supposedly created by slowly simmering beef and chicken bones for hours. Hence, should be pretty nutritious as well.

However, you were correct in pointing out that, based on your after-effect symptoms, some type of MSG or flavor enhancer with MSG base are used. Frankly, I have not come across a noodle outfit with delicious broth that does not use some sort of MSG enhancer. Those who claim they do not use the magic powder most probably practice other form of voodoo black magic! Ha!

Best Jamaican Rum/Black Cake in the GTA?

Chris Jerk Caribbean Bistro, Scarbourough.
Not sure whether it is the BEST? But, IMHO, its PRETTY DAMN GOOD!!

Hong Kong - first time, short trip, advice would be appreciated

I sympathize with OP.
Amount of information provided on this board could be quite daunting! Personally, sometimes I too suffer from information overload!

Hong Kong - first time, short trip, advice would be appreciated

Its WOM guide. Short for Words OF Mouth. Also, there's Hong Kong Tatler too.

Magic Noodle - Richmond Hill Branch

Yes! Staff do speak English. Also, menu with color photos is bilingual. They have so many choices, I'm sure you will be able to find the option you like!

Great desserts in Hong Kong?

And you are still slim?! Great job!

Magic Noodle - Richmond Hill Branch

With so many hand pulled noodle shops sprouting up around town, 'Magic Noodle' with its better than average products offering tends to stand out above the rest. Its Scarborough flag ship had been attracting a constant stream of dedicated and loyal fans.

Recently, they have opened up a new Richmond Hill branch at the SW corner of 16th Avenue and Leslie. So far, judging from the long line up at the door, this 'packed to the brim' place is definitely the go-to noodle place for noodle fans in this part of town!

We arrived early for lunch today only to find the place was already full! Wow!! ( see photo! ). Our party of two shared a large bowl of the 'House Special Hand-Pulled Noodle', Fried pancake pocket with leeks and chives and a couple skewers of Cumin crusted Lamb Kebab.

Standard of the products was as good as their Scarborough flag ship store. Our bowl of noodles with beef broth, fried pork cutlet, fried egg, sliced beef, lamb ribs and beef tripe was pretty delectable. The slightly sweet broth was tasty and full of beefy aroma and gamey goodness. Our fine noodles was chosen from a choice of 6 different thicknesses. Texture was al dente but not overly tough and chewy. Filling of the crispy shell pancake was very generous. Juicy and great textural interplay. Lamb Kebab at $1.99 per skewer was a tasty and value for money side dish.

All in all a good meal and the place a welcome addition to Richmond Hill. With so many other dishes to try, I will definitely return. However I might have to wait for this patron tsunami to subside first!

Magic Noodle
1383 16th Ave Unit D, Richmond Hill
905 889 9886

Hong Kong - first time, short trip, advice would be appreciated

Thank You! Always happy to help!

Hong Kong - first time, short trip, advice would be appreciated

To maximize your culinary and sensual experience, I would do the following:

- Still stick with Lung King Heen but Dim Sum lunch instead of dinner. IMO, LKH's Dim Sum is one of the finest offering in Hong Kong but the same cannot be said about their good but 'lacking wow factor' dinner. IMO, more hype than substance.

- At least one Cantonese dinner at either Man Wah, Fook Lam Moon or Yan Toh Heen. Both Man Wah and YTH will provide excellent food and fine views of the harbor from another angle ( provided one books early for a window table ). FLM's food is more traditional but when executed well can be awesome. Love their roasted pigeon, stuffed crab shell and roasted suckling piglet.

- A Shanghainese dinner at either Zhejiang Heen, Liu Yuan Pavillion, or Ye Shanghai (TST). Cuisine offers a different taste sensation. Can be subtle and finely balance. I love the filet of sole or other ocean fish in rice wine, sauteed river shrimps, braised bamboo shoots, drunken pigeon...etc. An appetizer platter will usually offer you a potpourri of Smoked fish, Chinese head cheese, marinated jelly fish, drunken chicken, sliced braised beef shank...etc

- A casual Cantonese BBQ meat lunch at Yat Lok. Go early before they sold out of their great tasting Roasted Goose.

- A must try bowl of Cantonese Wonton noodle and side dish of melt in the mouth braised beef briskets and tendons for lunch at either Tasty, Starz Kitchen or one of the 'Mak's' establishment.

- If you are ultra adventurous, go have a bowl of snake soup ( Yes! they do taste like great soup with shredded chicken! ) and some air dried duck liver sausages at either Ser Wong Fun or She Wong Yee. Both are pseudo hole-in-the-wall, providing unique local dining experience!

You can and should achieve a lot in three days. For more information and provided you don't mind information overload, consult for additional trustworthy ideas!

Good luck!

Great desserts in Hong Kong?

IMHO, no discussion of great Hong Kong style dessert can ignore ' Honeymoon'!
Favorite of fellow hound Nilecable. We went there for dessert after a chowmeet a few years back and he alone ordered 5 different dishes including mochis and soup with mangoes and steamed eggs with ginger essence...etc

Good Chinese veggie meats at a veg Chinese restaurant?

Personally, I have not tried it. However, I was told by friends who did ( and judging from how full their parking lot is ), the Veggie Restaurant on Woodbine just south of Hwy#7, next to the GM dealership is one of GTA's best Veggie establishment.

Silk Road Restaurant

Nice to know! Did you also have the lamb soup noodle? Still as good?
Pity the place is soooo far from Richmond Hill!

Any veg Chinese in Toronto that does use garlic?

Thanks Pigurd! One learns something new each day!

I subsequently did a Google search and found this:

" “Turning to China, where anti-Allium sentiment is also found, there is strong suspicion that Buddhists were responsible for introducing it. One reads of Kumarajiva (A.D. 344-413), a famous Indian Buddhist scholar brought to China by the emperor, who fostered Indian ideas there and translated Buddhist works. in one of these, the Brahmajalasuire, various forms of Allium were included among the wu-hun, “five vegetables of strong odor” forbidden to Buddhist clergy, and in T’ang times such “lists of five” usually included them.”

Among the banned: onion, leeks, garlic, scallions and ginger… “items believed to stir the passions and reduce one’s likelihood of attaining nirvana.”

Man! If that's the case, then there's not much delicious choices to consider!
Its almost like asking western dessert /pastry chefs to come up with yummy desserts without the use of butter, cream and eggs! Ha!

Any veg Chinese in Toronto that does use garlic?

Most if not all restaurants I frequented in the Richmond Hill, Scarborough and Markham area use garlic in their vegetable preparation.
Some examples include Pea shoot and Chinese mustard green ( poached in Shan Tong Broth and top with whole fried garlic ). Gai Lan ( plain stirred fry with minced garlic ). Romaine or Chinese Lettuce ( again with minced garlic ), String beans and miscellaneous name a few.

Any veg Chinese in Toronto that does use garlic?

It all depends on the type of vegetables. In fact some vegetable greens clash with garlic. Best is to check with server for alternatives

A few examples:

'Choy Sum' clashes with garlic. Chefs use ginger instead. Sometimes even par-boiled and serve with oyster sauce only!

' Gai-Lan' on the other hand is more flexible. Can be cooked with ginger and Chinese cooking wine was well as sauteed in minced garlic

' Water Spinach ' favorite way of preparation is shredded ginger and chili with either fermented bean curd or salted shrimp paste.

One Shanghainese way to prepare Nappa Cabbage is to add a cream sauce and shredded Chinese ham topping.

With so many different preparation methods, I'm sure you can pick a few options sans Garlic!

Good Luck!

Best Dim Sum in Toronto

Thanks for the review TLong. You are beginning to read my mind! Ha!
Avoiding the holiday crowd, so no Dim Sum for me. BBQ at home instead.
Have a nice long weekend! :)

Tasting Menu at Lung King Heen

Nice review! Thanks!

Somehow I always find LKH way over-rated as a 3*. All the meals I had there, some type of flaws always cropped up in the food. Not so much related to the flavor but more with the slightly 'rough with an edge' presentation. Slightly burnt Baked Crab Shell or slightly burnt roasted suckling pig skin...etc. In fact, I noticed the same 'burnt' on the right hand side of your suckling pig skin as well! More scrutiny of the food before heading out of the kitchen is definitely warranted for a 3*!

Toronto Hound Summer Re-Visit - Need another round of recommendation and critique.

How formal is Lark? Is it family friendly enough for a group of three adults and two teens ( 14 and 16 )? The adults are into seafood and the kids love meat. Looks like their menu is varied enough to cater for us all.
Given one choice, Lark or Rockcreek?

May 17, 2015
Charles Yu in Greater Seattle

'Live' Spotted Prawns - Part 2

Further to giving the live 'shami ebi' spot prawns a try. Today, I bought a bunch of live BC 'botan ebi' spot prawns from 'Lobster Island Seafood' in Scarborough ( Finch/Milliken ). At $6 per pound cheaper then what T&T is selling right now, these creatures are huge in size as well!
Initially, I was planning to steamed them but ended up eating them raw, 'sashimi' style instead. So tasty and sweet!!

where can I find ginger and black vinegar pig's feet

'Tong Ha Supreme BBQ' inside food court at 633 Silver Star Blvd has them.

This place is also becoming my favorite go to place for Cantonese roast duck and roast pork. Very nicely seasoned. Even the crispy/crunchy pig's skin. Duck marinade more sophisticated tasting than most.

BTW, the noodle shop 'Freedom Noodle' next door has raw Won-Ton and Fung Sing Shui Gow dumplings for sale. 12 for $10. Very good quality with sweet crunchy prawns and great for hot-pot. Much, much better than those pork fat filled packaged frozen stuff.

Recent Lunch at Babbo: Terrific Food, Exemplary Service

It was dinner. Our party comprised of 3 adults and two kids. Comparing service to another 1* - The Modern, it was like night and day. Staff of the latter, so friendly, great sense of humor and very attentive.

May 14, 2015
Charles Yu in Manhattan

'Live' Spotted Prawns - Part 2

By the way, the above captioned varietal is called 'Shima Ebi' in Japan, whilst the 'BC Spotted prawns' per my previous posting is called 'Botan Ebi'.

Singapore Style Chicken Satay 'a la Prima Taste'

Agree a lot of food products from China are questionable. However, nowadays, its a real challenge to avoid them. Even previously made in Hong Kong or Japanese name brand products are now made in factories located within China. One might be able to find Taiwanese made products to replace some of the Chinese ones. But now, even Taiwanese products have issues with oil and additives used! Sigh!

In my case, unfortunately, for really good Chinese tea leaves, I still need to go the China route?

Zen News

Fellow Hound Applehome on the Boston board did a much better job in expressing what I wanted to say:

" There is sushi and then there is sushi. Nobody knows how to take their food and culture to the extremes of sensuousness and sensibility than the Japanese. Foreigners cannot understand why one would pay $100 for one item of tempura at a restaurant that fries one item, then discards their special oil. Foreigners cannot understand just why it take so many years to become a true itamae - someone who knows how to vary the pressure on the rice balls by the type of tane, where in the course it is served, and even by the customer's preference. Foreigners do not understand why such thin, single-edged, incredibly sharp knives - and so many types of them - are needed just to cut some raw fish.

Ethnicity does not matter - I agree with that. But experience does. Without the experience of serving the most demanding customers, no one can become the best chef - of anything, not just sushi. So the question is where does a foreigner get that kind of experience? Japan has been one of the most prejudiced and bigoted societies - times are changing, but apprenticing in the best sushiyas in Osaka, Kyoto, or Tokyo is pretty much still a closed affair - closed not only to foreigners, but even to Japanese women.

Is it possible that a Chinese or Korean or white chef with only US experience could serve the best sushi in the world? Perhaps - but not at all likely. Is it possible that such a foreign chef could make the best sushi in Boston - much more likely. "

Recent Lunch at Babbo: Terrific Food, Exemplary Service

In my case, mediocre food ( except the outstanding Bolognese pasta sauce ) and snobbish, inattentive service!

May 13, 2015
Charles Yu in Manhattan

'Live' Spotted Prawns - Part 2

Yes! Bontan Spotted Shrimps and Sweet Shrimps ( Amaebi) are eaten raw as Sashimi most of the time. The much larger 'tiger or stripped' prawns are par-boiled and serve cooked.

'Live' Spotted Prawns - Part 2

When I posted on this board a few weeks ago announcing the arrival of this year's 'BC' Spotted ( Bontan? ) Prawns season. The posting sparked off a chain of unexpected debates about the exact origin of the crustacean.

Well fellow hounds, today, I bought another bunch of a 'different' varietal of Spotted Prawns from T&T. Its on special at an attractive $18.88 per pound! Smaller in size than the previous 'BC' version, this 'sweeter' varietal has more pronounced spots on the shell.
Be it "BC", "US West Coast" or "Florida"? I am not going to speculate nor do I care. Main thing is they are alive and fresh and tasted so yummy when cooked! ( should have save a few for sashimi! Schucks!! ).

I just boiled them in salted water and ate them with a 'Scallion, ginger, cilantro, oil and soya sauce dip'

Singapore Style Chicken Satay 'a la Prima Taste'


Singapore Style Chicken Satay 'a la Prima Taste'

Apparently sugar is worse! Especially those products using high fructose syrup.

Singapore Style Chicken Satay 'a la Prima Taste'

Me too! Luke warm about the Chili Crab noodle.
However, might try making Chili Crab using their sauce, once Dungeness crab are less expensive.
Both Singapore Chicken Curry and Beef Randang sauces were very good!