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Pad Thai - The Non-Thai Dish That All Thai Restaurants Are Judged By

Pad Thai was most likely created by ethnic Chinese in Thailand though, whom control much of the businesses, restaurants, politics, etc. in that country.

So it may be more accurate to call it a Thai-Chinese dish, like how chicken balls are a Canadian-Chinese dish and chop suey is American-Chinese, etc

Sep 24, 2013
xianzhong in General Topics

Food Network: Canada vs US?

just because she went to Le Cordon Bleu doesn't mean she can bake or can't recommend some short cuts.

I fondly remember on the first season of Top Chef when the contestants were asked to do a wedding cake and all the chefs agreed to use packaged cake mix because none of them were bakers and weren't willing to risk having the cake collapse after being put together. I was thinking I would've done the same thing, especially after seeing my old French exec chef bake a lopsided wedding cake for our sous chef's wedding reception, lol

Dec 05, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

What's Your Favorite Food Movie?

Finally watched Tampopo and it easily bumped God of Cookery off from my Top 3 food movies. Tampopo has to be the purist food film I've seen so far but I still think Big Night and Eat Drink Man Woman are still better movies overall.

Now I can't wait to get a hold of a copy of Dinner Rush.

Oct 24, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

What's Your Favorite Food Movie?


Big Night
Eat Drink Man Woman
God of Cookery

Honourable mentions;

Soylent Green
A Feast At Midnight

Looking foward to finding and watching;

Dinner Rush

Oct 17, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

Food Network: Canada vs US?

If I were to do that show with my chef and I was assisting him, I'd still address him like I'd normally would while working at the restaurant, which would mean I would say, "yes chef!". I don't understand why' you would expect that to change with anyone else that cooks in the industry just because it's on TV. Still working, still cooking food, just a new setting. I would just treat the show as if I was doing a private catered dinner or something. There's nothing wrong with professionalism.

Though I personally dislike titles and would prefer not to be addressed as chef if and when I ever become one.

Mar 12, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

Pad Thai--is it an authentically Thai dish?

good...keep it that way

Mar 12, 2009
xianzhong in General Topics

Pad Thai--is it an authentically Thai dish?

I live about an hour southwest of Toronto and almost all but like two of the Thai or Viet-Thai restaurants in my area have pad thai dishes that don't use ketchup at all. In Toronto itself maybe half the restaurants I've seen had pad thai with relatively heavy ketchup use and many of my friends and relatives from different cities all over the U.S. eat pad thai with a lot of ketchup, even friends that have traveled Thailand themselves have eaten pad thai with loads of ketchup; most likely restaurants specifically for tourists.

It's just like how North American style Chinese restaurants use a lot of ketchup on dishes like Sweet and Sour Pork. The original "authentic" recipe calls for just a little bit of tomato paste but the way it's done here it's basically pure ketchup with like some sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.

I personally don't like all that ketchup and I've actually never ordered pad thai (or sweet and sour pork) in my life, I'd only eat some when other people order it. I can't fault a restaurant for cooking dishes that way if they sells, and boy does it sell at a lot of these restaurants.

Mar 12, 2009
xianzhong in General Topics

Food Network: Canada vs US?

I enjoy both family's but I will say that this new season with the Quon's is a lot funnier though and has more high paced entertainment. I do relate to the children in this family because my siblings and I communicate to each other like they do but the parents aren't like mine, but do remind me of other Asian parents I've known. I'm surprised to say this but damn, that mother of theirs is a lot more annoying than mine, haha.

Mar 04, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

Food Network: Canada vs US?

I don't see why you feel the show is pretentious because of that. That's just the way cooks talk in a professional kitchen. Would like the assistants to say, "okay dude, sure dude" instead?

I for one don't enjoy the show as much because of the overuse of the slow-mo close ups and semi-softcore pornographic filming style.

Mar 04, 2009
xianzhong in Food Media & News

Pad Thai--is it an authentically Thai dish?

I believe pad thai is made just like how fried rice is made in most Chinese households; it's just a way to use up leftovers.

As for ketchup being used for either of those dishes, it's just a quick, easy, and cheap substitute for tomato paste and used more predominately in North America because everyone here loves ketchup. I for one don't mind a little squirt of ketchup just to give a vinegary sweet flavour to dishes, but generally only use it if I have nothing else. And I really hate when it's used in large quantities, as in most pad thai dishes here in N. American restaurants; it just disgusting like that IMHO.

Mar 04, 2009
xianzhong in General Topics

Recommendations near King/Yonge?

My sister is looking for lunch and dinner recommendations for the King/Yonge area, shes staying around that area for a long weekend at the end of the month. Her limit is $60 per meal (tax and tip included) and she does not drink alcohol. She likes all types of food, especially Seafood, but Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc.), Italian and French would be preferred.

Thanks in advanced.

Food Network: Canada vs US?

I watch Food Network Canada less and less now (I have a DVR, so I still catch shows like In Search of Perfection, At The Table With, and other goodies), but it is so much better than the US Food Network. I have a friend that gets the US version on satellite and the programming seems like it's just Emeril Lagasse, Rachel Ray, and that ol country lady, on rotation several times a day, and those three are the most annoying TV personalities in the world to me. We get those shows too here in Canada, but thankfully not four times a day each, seems we get a little bit of everything up here, good Canadian shows, some US, and some awesome shows from the UK and even some Aussie shows.

One thing I that is really missing on FN though, is a good Asian cooking show (no Martin Yan or Kylie Kwan was it?). Also, I miss Anthony Bourdain, he's on the Travel Channel though, but you need digital cable for that, and my DVR isn't compatible with it.

Feb 09, 2008
xianzhong in Food Media & News

Favourite Olive Oils [Moved from Ontario board]

just wondering what's everyone's favourite olive oils are?

and if possible include favourites in different caterogries like;

- best high priced extra virgin olive oil (ie, the one you've tried but can't afford regularly)
- favourite budget priced/grocery store brand (ie, the one you use the most often)
- and whatever else you can think of...

Nov 29, 2007
xianzhong in General Topics


The people at Langdon Hall do not own Verses...the people who own Verses did work at Langdon Hall and The Blackshop for a few months before they opened the restaurant though, but that's it.

Anyhow, I would like to know more details about your experiences at Langdon Hall if you don't mind. I haven't heard too much about it in the past few years since the latest chef arrived. I'm wondering when did you go there and what did you order?


I think the main thing they have to do is add the date of when the restaurant was reviewed...because of the many of them are many many years old...

May 19, 2007
xianzhong in Food Media & News


Tandoori Corner in Cambridge (Hespeler Road across from Burger King) probably the best Indian restaurant in the region. Northern style Indian cuisine which is super spicy, rich, and very flavourful. Go for the affordable lunch buffet to try first...a lot of people may think its too spicy.

Pho Nam Thanh in downtown Preston (King St. in Cambridge) across from the Preston Library at a gas station, good quality Pho and better than Ben Thanh now (they've gone downhill over the years), but everything else though is below average.

Cameron Seafood in downtown Kitchener (Cameron/Charles, across from Cameron High School), high quality dim sum (higher than a lot of places in the GTA), small selection, kinda pricey but usually worth it because everything usually comes out hot, fresh, and delicious. The regular menu though is definately worth ignoring (mostly bland Canadian/Chinese stuff).

Pho Dau Bo in downtown Kitchener (King St., across from the Kitchener Market), very good quality Pho, but not as good as their North York location (I used to go there before this location opened a long time ago).

Ellison's Bistro in downtown Kitchener (Charles St., across from the main bus terminal)...awesome Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas and other Caribbean delights, regular menu kinda pricey since its little upscale, but they have cheap takeout lunch specials.

Rainbow Caribbean Cuisine in downtown Kitchener (somewhere on King St.), is cafeteria style with very affordable prices for lunch. I like the ox tail.

Ye's Sushi in downtown Kitchener (somewhere on King St.), all you can eat Japanese food. Been there only once, good for a cheap and filling long lunch and really the only place in the area for Japanese food, but no where near as good as the AYCE Japanese places in the GTA (which are cheaper, better, and have a lot more selection).

Taka Japanese Restaurant in Kitchener (out on Bleams Road which is almost like the boonies to me). Best Japanese food in the region but so out of the way for me that I basically never go there...I usually rather save my cravings and go to Toronto.

The Duke of Wellington pub in downtown Waterloo (Erb St., behind Rude Native Bistro, a place to seriously avoid by the way), pretty good British pub fare, beer battered Fish and Chips, Steak and Kidney Pie, Banger n Mash, etc.

Verses Restaurant in Kitchener (Victoria St.), upscale fine dining, contemporary French with some fushion. 3/5 star from Toronto Life, beautiful place, nice but small menu, been there only once for dinner, not much to complain, just somewhat underwhelming. But probably the best bet to try when you wanna spend a lot of money.

places I'll would like to try again before recommending; Korean BBQ (a block away from Pho Dau Bo) and The Mayan Grill (little Mexican joint in downtown Preston, Cambridge).

also, check out the kw.eats newsgroup at for some good recommendations in the area...and a lot of non-recommendations, lol

and The Record newspaper restaurant reviews...

and for personal user online restaurant reviews.

Best (Funniest? Wittiest?) Food Quotes

"Bad food is made without pride, by cooks who have no pride, and no love. Bad food is made by chefs who are indifferent, or who are trying to be everything to everybody, who are trying to please everyone ... Bad food is fake food ... food that shows fear and lack of confidence in people’s ability to discern or to make decisions about their lives. Food that’s too safe, too pasteurized, too healthy – it’s bad! There should be some risk, like unpasteurized cheese. Food is about rot, and decay, and fermentation….as much as it is also about freshness."
- Anthony Bourdain, Interview with Chris Tan (


"if you're going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing"
- Fergus Henderson, Chef of St. John in London, England

"I always want to rate restaurants, like movies get rated—PG-13; NC-17. We'd get an adult rating —an R, which means no babies, no one who's going to complain about the music, no special requests."
- David Chang, Chef at Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

Advice to future cooks. "You're better off peeling potatoes at a great kitchen than working saucier at a really mediocre place."
- David Chang, Chef at Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

Mar 10, 2007
xianzhong in Not About Food

Tim Tams

you bite both ends and then suck up the drink through the cookie...

says, "In Canada they are available under the name Arnott's Biscuits. In Vancouver they are available at the Real Canadian Superstore."

Splendido- Review

as a cook, all I have to say is that the head chefs, head sous chefs, and all the best cooks almost never work on a you can usually never expect a restaurant to be at its best on that day. Usually the newer cooks or trainees work Sundays, because the better cooks had already worked 10-14+ hour days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and are too hammered and hung over to work on a, most Euro style fine dining restaurants never have fresh live lobster unless you see a tank of live ones somewhere in the restaurant...otherwise, you're always getting frozen. Even if they do get it fresh and live, they will always pre-cook it and put it in the fridge/freezer. Which is why I'd only order lobster at a Chinese restaurant that specializes in live lobster and seafood.

Kangaroo Meat - where and how?

the previous restaurant I worked at served it as a special once...we in the kitchen nick named the dish Rack of, anyway, the only reason why we got it cause our meat purveyor got it on special I'd try calling up some local meat suppliers on the yellow pages or something calling them up, they could probably order it for you...but it's expensive having to import it here for Australia. We sold out of it the first night when we got it, but we felt it wasn't worth it still...too expensive. I'd rather get local Venison which is cheaper and tastier then importing Kangaroo...

Is there any real reason to eat squid or octopus?

you're eating squid and octopus for the texture more then anything...and it shouldn't be rubbery. You either cook it quickly for a few a minute or so by deep frying, sauteing, or grilling, or cook it for hours allowing it to stew and soften...nothing in between.

Jan 16, 2007
xianzhong in General Topics

If you can only (and have to) choose one , Susur or Splendido?

I'm Chinese and a professional cook (aka. chef de partie if you wanna be all proper frenchie lol) and can understand what kobetobiko is trying to say. A Chinese/East-Asian person going to a place like Susur or Rain or whatever East meets West fushion restaurant may not be as overwhelmed by the experience as a Westerner because most of the exotic elements of the food is due to the Asian ingredients being used, which for a Asian person is nothing special, because we grew up eating a lot of it regularily as a child, and also sometimes the ingredients could be used in a way that we would probably deem incorrect, but to a westerner who has never tried it before it's completely new and exciting and will get more out of the experience.

But if an Asian goes to a place like Splendido or Marc Thuet's place or whatever more European influenced restaurant it would be more exciting for us than a place like Susur, because of the techniques and ingredients used would be more foreign than what we're used to. Stuff like foie gras, truffles, cream sauces, and even butter and cheeses are ingredients and tastes that I'm really not used for most Asians it would be very new and more exciting.

I'm personally not a huge fan of Susur and most fushion cooking. So I'd probaby pick Splendido over Susur. Though either would be a good choice. Susur is creative, but I don't really salivate over any of his dishes and from what I hear things can be a hit or miss with the food, like any fushion cooking, the chef is taking risks with the flavour combinations, and like many cooks might say, "fushion is confusion". Also, from many reviews, you hear that service can get pretty bad at Susur's (rushed service, rude waitstaff, etc.)

and just as a side note, Splendido's Chef du Cuisine is Asian by the way...David Lee, trained in England, and moved to Canada and worked under Marc Thuet.

Mary Brown's Fried Chicken [moved from Ontario board]

I haven't had Mary Brown's in a long time...I used to have it quite a bit as a kid though...I remember their batter/skin being okay but their chicken being very moist and juicy, much better then the dry and flavourless meat at KFC.

I'm a fan of Popeye's though...always crave it when I past by Etobicoke at the mall on Finch and whatever. Juicy, flavourful, and greasy, the ultimate in junk food, lol

Dec 05, 2006
xianzhong in Chains

Best All You Can Eat Japanese in Toronto GTA

like I said, I mostly go for an hour and a half for lunch is plenty of time. I've only gone a handful of times for dinner and generally I'm just glad to get a table because usually the waits have been very long whenever I go for dinner. I maybe felt rushed a couple of times I was there, but mostly the service just stinks because they keep giving you the wrong food or never bringing certain things at all after asking multple times, etc.

But half the times I go, I aim for a time when they are not busy, so usually I wouldn't have much complaints.

Except the last time I went a few weeks ago, super busy, waitress took forever to come to take my order and didn't really pay attention when I gave it...first two items that came to my table were things I never ordered, etc. So I was generally not in a very good mood but the food was very good. They ran out of mango ice cream though, so that sucked.

oh and I meant the Tempura Banana Ice Cream, is for dinner.

Best All You Can Eat Japanese in Toronto GTA

I've been to Yang's Kitchen many times over the past few years and generally their food has been very good...but service has almost aways been very poor to absolutely horrible. I can only remember less then a handful of times where their service was some good. But I tolerate it and mostly go for lunch because its cheap (13 bucks) and has quality food. Main thing to avoid would be their udon noodles/noodle and soup bowls, none of them are very good. My fave dishes there though are;

soft shell crab rolls
spicy crispy salmon hand rolls
eel and avocado roll
salmon sushi
veal spare ribs
grilled saba (mackerel)
and a bunch of other stuff

dinners (20 bucks) have beef tenderloin cubes, salmon sashimi, tempura ice cream, and beef sashimi (carpaccio)

haven't tried them yet but Sushi on 7 and Maison du Japon I have heard very good things about and hope to try them soon.