vincechan's Profile

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Seriously Curious about Sushi Yasu. Any reports?

Your details were very well put and aligned with my experience... except that I would rate the Shari below average quite bland + it feel apart for me too. I also enjoyed the non-fish varieties more and I did receive the ebi and ika during my visit.

Overall, a couple standout flavour combinations but overall it was underwhelming. I would not be in a rush to go back nor would I recommend to friends as a must-have sushi experience.

Sweet Japanese Curry at Yonge and Gerrard

I first came across this stall a few months ago when it opened as I was interested in the Malaysian specialties. I've been there twice and ordered 2 Malaysian dishes twice. I cannott recommend the CKT if you're looking for authentic flavours. However, I wholeheartedly echo the endorsement that the owner is very nice. Because of him, I'll be back to try the Sambal Udon (believe they say make the sambal themselves) and I hope try the Japanese Curry too.

Zakkushi is open!

Have you tried Sake Bar Kushi on Avenue / Eglinton? I'm also on the lookout for good yakitori in the city. Would be interested in your take if you've been.

Chowfind: An authentic tasting 'Instant' Singapore Laksa Noodle La Mien good enough for Chowhounders!

I've posted several times before on Chowhound advocating that "Laksa" and "Curry" are different things! Try both from Prima taste and taste the nuanced spicing differences and even the textural difference.

Chowfind: An authentic tasting 'Instant' Singapore Laksa Noodle La Mien good enough for Chowhounders!

Shhhhhhh..... that's where I get my regular supply. No I might have to fight off more chowhounds in the know :)

Parsley (not cilantro) makes for a fine substitute for my taste buds. Though I'll also try the latter out. Thanks!

Chowfind: An authentic tasting 'Instant' Singapore Laksa Noodle La Mien good enough for Chowhounders!

Condiment-wise, the trick is to chop up some fresh parsley very finely and add it when serving, mix it into the broth (I put some in the bowl first and the rest on top of the broth). Brings a whole new taste-level to the experience. Very common to see this topping in Laksa bowls in Singapore.

And someone mentioned that the spiciness level was a little toned down, to that I suggest that Singapore eating is very much about condiments (to your own taste). So mix in a little sambal chilli into the laksa and you'll be all set.

Is there Singaporean Laksa in Toronto?

I clearly stated that I'm not bashing Australian Laksa. I was pointing out how I view those word pairings in context. And they are a mutation of the original. Many Hakka people I know do not recognize Indian Hakka food found in toronto - saying it's a mutation does not imply it's bad, but rather unrecognizable and dissappointing when different from expectations.

Once in a while, I also crave a good Canadian Chinese, Indian Hakka, Texmex whatever.. when its a good dish. I've had bad laksa in Singapore just like I'm sure there are great laksa in Australia. Judge the cooking rather than the cuisine - and yes, I cannot stand using Ketchup in pad thai, no matter what, everyone has their personal preferences right?

So when judging the cooking, IMHO, Hawker Bar "sells" a way inferior product. The ossington hype is not worth it, and when the OP asks for Singaporean flavour, AFAIK, good laksa found in Australian taste pretty close to Singaporean, what I've had at Hawker was not in the same ball park, area code, continent or planet. Another case in point, may I add that Hainanese chicken rice should not have the consistency of risotto - wet, drenching and mushy. Yuk!

The use of the word "Hawker" in their establishment's name near is clearly painting the SG image. Nobody will immediately ties Hawker to Australia. One thing you are absolutely right on.. it is what it is... and may I add... BAD!

Is there Singaporean Laksa in Toronto?

To me, "Australia laksa" sounds like "Canadian pad thai". The words can be put together to make sense, but when you see the execution has been mutated to such a degree (i.e. replace tamarind with ketchup in the case of pad thai) why bother?

I'm not suggesting Australia laksa is bad, I'm saying Hawker bar laksa is bad for someone like me who enjoys Singaporean laksa. My 2 cents. If I had the choice to get pad thai at Springrolls or pad thai at the original Sukho Thai, why would I choose Springrolls? The problem here is there is no Sukho Thai option for the Hawker Bar problem, nor do the clientele care or know what the difference is. Even the laksa broth made from Prima Taste mix (used to be available at T&T) taste better.

I would not and could not recommend Hawker Bar to any one looking for a SE Asian / "Singapore" flavour profile.

Hawker Bar should simply advertise they are an Australian restaurant, but the fact is "Singapore" is buzzword to foodies from all the various TV media hype.

Bushi Udon Kappo

I like the udon too. However, the chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) was watery (should be more solid), and inedible - having a very sour after taste. i suspect it may be related to the freshness of the shrimp in it.

I understand that's a strong accusation. You can take it for what it is - my recount of my experience. I did not finish the chawanmushi.

I wouldn't go out of my way, but I would drop in for the udon again if I'm nearby.

Best tasting 'Fried Rice Vermicelli In Singapore Style,星洲炒米' in the GTA: Yang's version - Hand's down!!!

One2 Snacks doesn't serve Katong Laksa but it's decent (by Toronto standards). However, I always order their Lor Mee when I do drop-by. Mainly because it's a large portion with lots of fixin's... and not being bland helps.

Dodgiest looking restaurant you've been to but turned out to be a winner (or least better than expected)

When was the last time you've been there, I think over the past 12 months I tried to visit twice and both times the restaurant was closed. Frustrated the heck out of me.

Best tasting 'Fried Rice Vermicelli In Singapore Style,星洲炒米' in the GTA: Yang's version - Hand's down!!!

Now why can't true popular noodle dishes from Singapore actually grace the menus of Toronto restaurants? Instead of these "foreign" inventions? How many of these popular noodle dishes actually sold and enjoyed in Singapore are hardly to be found here? Let's count...
1. Bak Chor Mee
2. Mee Pok
3. Mee Goreng
4. Mee Rebus
5. Mee Siam
6. Rickshaw Noodles
7. Sang Mee
8. Satay Bee Hoon (again, only HK versions around TO)
9. Wanton Mee (ok, this one is pretty universal and best versions are HK anyways)
10. Char Kway Teow
11. Hokkien Mee (my fav - the Singapore version is unique and different from other SE Asian countries. This should be the one TRUE Singapore Noodles!)
12. Crab Bee Hoon (really a crab dish)
13. Laksa (the native Singaporean "Katong" version that you can eat with a spoon alone)
14. Curry Noodles (in Singapore, you don't call this Laksa, and vice-versa. There's a DIFFERENCE!)

IMHO, everyone of the above is superior to some stir fried vermicelli in curry powder. Singaporeans would agree... adding curry power doesn't make it any more Singaporean than battered balls of chicken meat being claimed as "Chinese" food

Where can I get good seitan in Toronto?

Vegetarian Haven on Baldwin st. comes to mind.

Openings 2012 (Toronto)

Hapa izakaya opened in littleitaly this past Thursday. Another Vancouver izakaya chain, highly westernized club/lounge feel' priced on the higher end trying to capture some of Torontos crazed izakaya scene. Limited menu with decent fresh eats but I enjoyed la carnita down the road more

Malaysian uptown?

One2 Snacks at the Dynasty Centre (Glen Watford Drive, Scarborough) is a little known Malaysian food vendor. The owners are from KL and offer some specials on the weekend. I gave it a shot on Friday as I was craving some Nasi Lemak, but that's one of the weekend specials. I think they also make a few Nonya desert cakes on weekends.

I recommend their KL Loh Mee, best I've had in a while, bold taste and generous portion (if you eat in). Their CKT was just alright, Wok Hei not enough. Their Mee Goreng is not as good as Gourmet Garden. I hope to be go back soon for more, or hear more from other ChowHound experiences. :)

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Gourmet Garden Restaurant
4465 Sheppard Ave E, Toronto, ON M1S, CA

Spicy Beef Noddle Soup

I heard Mr. Sun sold the store and closed. Too bad.

But I found a new place close to where I just moved. If people want a good Taiwanese version of Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, check out WikiStar, it's near Yonge/Finch at 15 Northtown Way where the condos are. Small bubble tea shoppe with a green sign, that's mainly for nearby residents to order takeout food.. there are 2 small tables that can sit no more than 3 ppl, but if you're with someone, or by yourself for lunch... check out the Beef Noodle soup, it's best if you can eat it hot there. The broth is deeply flavored, noodles are good... and maybe the beef can be braised longer for melt-away texture but the flavor is just fine.

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Beef Noodle Restaurant
4271 Sheppard E, Toronto, ON M1S4G4, CA

Restaurants around Yonge and Finch area

I just went to Wonder Pho today and had the Pho Special, definitely loaded with MSG... the shop looks like its ran by Mainlanders (China). Nothing wrong with that, as long as the kitchen knows how to do their stuff.

As a barometer, I used to frequent Pho 88 and Pho Viet around Warden/Steeles, since I moved to Yonge/Finch recently. Pho 88 on Yonge is terrible, and other favs like Pho Dau Bo and Pho Hung (Spadina), or the few Pho restaurants on Gerrard St, are simply too far for convenience. What I don't like? Places like Vietnam Noodle Star (midland/finch) and fervently detest Star King Viet Thai (also Warden/Steeles).. so now you have idea what my palette likes.

Wonder Pho is fair compromise if I have a sudden pho craving but am too lazy. The msg sweetness in the broth leans on the overpowering side. I personally don't like beef meatballs in my pho.. preferring more beef slices. The beef slices are quite thick and limp, I didn't enjoy the texture. They throw in a couple of beef tendons, but very little tripe. Without tripe, I wouldn't call it a "special" compared to versions elsewhere. Still, it gets marks for being better than the Pho 88 on Yonge, and that's not saying much really.

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Pho Hung
350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

Viet Thai Restaurant
1675 The Chase, Mississauga, ON L5M5Y7, CA

Pho 88
5197 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P7, CA

Star King
7050 Warden Ave., Markham, ON L3R 5Y3, CA

Kim's Restaurant (Vietnamese Treats From the North and South)

Update: I satisfied my snails craving tonight at KIM restaurant. Went to 2nd Chinatown area on Gerrard with gf. Ordered the Bun Oc for myself. Generous portions, more than 12 snails, substantial earthy broth with fresh tomato and herbs. All for $6! GF ordered the fried fish with dill on rice (recommend too).

But they ran out of 2 other items (1. papaya salad -w- beef jerky, 2. Banh Cuon). Afterwards, we wondered around to see if we can get Banh Cuon for takeout, but Hanoi 3 Seasons didn't carry it on menu and Que Ling was closed... Will have to visit this area again soon!

P.S. This is my first Bun Oc experience. With no previous reference, I don't mind if you take what I say with a grain of salt. :)

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Hanoi 3 Seasons
588 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

Kim's Restaurant (Vietnamese Treats From the North and South)

Thanks for the find! Sounds so interesting!

I watched this last Monday's "No Reservations: Vietnam" episode. Anthony Bourdain has been there some many times, and on this trip I was really inspired to find a Vietnamese menu featuring Bun Oc and Banh Cuon. I'm definitely gonna check this place out, and if any CH out there know of other menus featuring the more interesting side of Vietnamese cuisine, please let me know too!

Cheers!

Malaysian?

I think it's Singaporean specific. I also miss the 2 noodle versions I had when I was a kid. Try the mee goreng and the prawn mee next time! Plus, they recently expanded into the next stall and now serve malaysian / nonya desserts and food!

I see some veg dishes on the menu plastered on the wall, so our veg friends can perhaps test drive for us meat lovers?

Star King Viet Thai - a disorienting experience!

Against my better judgement, F and I decided to check out the new Viet / Thai restaurant that took over a bar/restaurant location in the Steeles/Warden T&T plaza. (I believe it was a Casey's before). And I don't usually write reviews of bad places, but this was such a funny experience that I really wanted to share.

First lesson, when you enter a Viet/Thai place with no sight of any body working in the place remotely able to speak either language. It's not a good start. I'm not against other asian races trying to exploit popular cuisine genres for their own financial gains. But it is what it is.

But that's not where the disorienting experience begins. Walked up to the door where a big sign says "cash only", but right next to it.. a VISA accepted sign.... DISORIENTING!. Goes to show how much effort management put into renovating and redecorating the place... almost like they're just a turn-and-burn joint looking to make money for the short term and get out with the lowest amount of cost with no long term aspirations.

Inside, the entire decor has not changed 1 single bit. It's still a bar / restaurant decor. If you want posters of Avril Lavgine, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and John Travolta staring at you while eating Pho, this is the place..... disorienting to say the least.

There's something to be said about the simplicity and efficiency of communal tables used by most Vietnamese joints. I kinda missed that open dining area experience as we were ushered into private booths, sitting deep into fine upholstered banquettes with no extra chopsticks/spoons in sight... a bare table with minimal condiments (2 squeeze bottles), a place mat with unnecessary "what is pho?" explanations, Did I mention that the booths provide the perfect camouflage as you are out-of-sight of your waiter/waitress.. with no possibility of getting their attention for your order/bill. I would expect some background music at a venue like this, but it was thankfully absent.. Why? Because you walk into a chatter filled market place of activities typical of a Vietnamese noodle house. My brain struggled to compute with the lively atmosphere clashing with the ambiance. Try imagining eating plain hot dog with fork-n-knife in a french white table cloth full service setting and you'll be close to where I was that day. The whole experience is so foreign and disorienting to me, I started to question my own existence.

We're shown a menu that betrays their aspirations to be viewed as high class place. Also evident in their choice of plating presentations. Yet all that effort is met with a singular laziness to bring any sort of harmony of the food with the atmosphere. It's constant juxtaposition disorienting my nervous systems. I quickly scanned their vast menu of predominantly viet dishes and a few south-east asian / thai dishes. A menu that is overly complicated like this doesn't promise to put quality first. But order and I will find out.

I dare not try their thai dishes, I ordered a beef pho and a vermicelli with spring roll and bbq pork.. You can easily taste the msg in the pho soup (I wonder why they didn't mention that ingredient in their place-mat history lesson). Now I grew up eating msg in my food, so a little bit is no big deal. I'm not against msg, but I'm against it in these quantities! The noodle had a slight aftertaste, as if something was wrong with it. The beef slices didn't seem/taste fresh. A below average poor example of Pho especially when you consider they are at the same price level / more expensive than 2 other Viet-owned pho restaurants in the area (Pho Viet & Pho 88). Why anybody would pay $8 for XL pho of this quality is beyond my comprehension. Would the vermecilli fare any better? The accompanying sauce was uninspiring and below generic. The noodle were no good, the springroll was soggy and tasted only of fried pork with no actual flavour. The bbq pork was alright, but that is hard to mess up.

All I can say is that dining at Star King is an experience - a severely disorienting one. Save your money and go to Pho 88 or Pho Viet. I do not believe their thai dish would fare any better. The funniest part is that we walked into a packed house. But I noticed nobody lingered for long, and several big tables were reserved for big parties. I guess this is the type of place that's perfect for someone to host birthday celebration dinners on the cheap! They got the space, and they got the cheap food, but you're paying for cheap atmosphere and cheap food for sure. I wouldn't want to be invited to that party. If you've been there, tell me I was wrong?!?

Linda Restaurant by Salad King, grand opening tmrrw

AFAIK... the Chef's name is Wing Li... doesn't quite sound Thai, right? But I don't know for sure.

Orchid Chai Bistro (Thai ), Markham - Chowhounder confirmation needed

where's the article Charles? do you have info on location etc? I'll probably check it out sometime this week.. :)

Linda Restaurant by Salad King, grand opening tmrrw

For those who have been to the old Linda location, the atmosphere of the new location is probably a step back. The old Linda does much to help foster a romantic mood.. I missed the creaky wooden floors.

I sat on the outer bankettes where noise wasn't as much an issue (for me). But I can see that the tables in the middle were closely placed.. almost cramped even. Definitely not the best seats in the house.. but then.. neither were the booth setup which IMHO makes Linda feel like a darker, higher-end and smaller area version of a Congee Wong / Congee Queen decor. But it's about the food.. and I'm ready to return... perhaps for the grand opening?

I'm in the middle of writing the food review for my blog.. so I'll probably put that up soon.. just wanted to echo PhuFighter's sentiments about the decor.

Malaysian Curry at South Asia Malaysian Cuisine

Kudos for exposing the Singapore Vermicelli myth! LOL

If pushed for a Singapore noodle dish.. I typically turn to Hokkien Mee... since this thread is getting a lot of Malaysian / Singaporean cuisine enthusiasts... any suggestions on Singaporean style Hokkien Mee? Not the dark Malaysian style... the lighter color one quick braised in stock.. could be with 2 noodle variety. Any hopes of finding this dish in Toronto? I'm not over-the-hill happy with the version they serve @ Gourmet Garden.

Linda Restaurant by Salad King, grand opening tmrrw

Correction! I was just informed that they're in the soft-opening phase... as any good restaurant should.. to have an opportunity to work out the kinks. Grand opening should be Mid May?

Malaysian Curry at South Asia Malaysian Cuisine

"fraud" would be a bit too harsh. I'll just say it's not good south-east asian fare. Let's face it, there are good and bad cooks from south-east asia.. doesn't mean if you come from there, that it's authentic.... very much subjected to personal preference. South-East asian cuisine does have a strong impact on the taste buds, so there are those who crave more.. while others may accept a milder version.

Then there's the business aspect of what / who you're targeting as an audience.. how hot the chili.. spicy level etc...

Though SAM has seen its fair share of fans... it's also got a healthy number of naysayers (myself included). At best, this is a 50/50 place... and I remained unconvinced.. Gourmet Garden is still my regular fix place.. but I hope to learn more about other south-east asian cuisine in Toronto from ChowHound

Malaysian Curry at South Asia Malaysian Cuisine

So the FMP food court stall closed down? Is that the one that had nice CKT? Hmm.. I might have to find an excuse to go out to Mississauga again... my last experience there years ago was forgettable.

Linda Restaurant by Salad King, grand opening tmrrw

Linda Restaurant's website is not updated yet.. but if you want to contact them (for reservations etc).. here's the info i found out:

Linda Restaurant @ Shops On Don Mills
Location: Don Mills and Lawerence intersection
Tel: 416-642-3866

Linda Restaurant by Salad King, grand opening tmrrw

Heard that Linda Restaurant (loved by many CHers as the best Thai in Toronto) was moving closer up north (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/606743) and got excited. The "shops on Don Mills" outdoor mall (I predict it will be the hot summer shopping spot) opened Wednesday, April 22. But many shops weren't opened.

Bravely, I tried my luck today and saw that Linda was still rushing to renovate. I walked in to ask someone there when they were opening. They told me they are preparing for a Saturday, April 25, 2009 Grand Opening... I hope to get a reservation tomorrow night to review the restaurant for my Toronto food blog (http://toreservations.com/). I might be shooting myself in the foot if many people also try to make reservations. But good food is meant to be shared.. so is good food news!