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Chinese Dinner Drinks Out with Markham Food Reviews

私房菜 (Private Dinner) at My Wonderful Kitchen – Markham Food Review

December 13, 2015

If you read our My Wonderful Kitchen review earlier this year, you’ll know that we really enjoy their food.

They recently introduced 私房菜 to the restaurant., something that not a lot of restaurants in the area offer right now. My Wonderful Kitchen recently added this private dining service to their offerings and we were very excited to try it out.

To reserve a private dining experience, call MWK a day in advance to tell them your budget, the number of guests you’re bringing, and what type of foods you’d like to have. The chefs will prepare everything in advance for you so that your party will have the best experience possible. Here’s a look at what we had with our food blogging friends. 🙂

my-wonderful-kitchen-scallops-papaya-boat

Stir-fried scallop with papaya (漁舟滿豐收)

The Chinese name for this dish is fisherman’s harvest. The “boat” is a carved papaya that’s cut into pieces for serving; and the “fishnet” (seen underneath the scallop and papaya pieces) is delicately cut from a thin sheet of radish.

my-wonderful-kitchen-scallops-dragonfruit

Stir-fried scallop with fresh fruits (天姖送子)

To be honest, some of us were surprised at the combination of ingredients in both pics above… fruits and seafood?? Nonetheless, these were actually yummy dishes even though the fruits were warm.

my-wonderful-kitchen-wintermelon

Wintermelon with fish maws and mixed seafood (綠萼紅梅)

As one of our guests described, these were like a condensed version of Chinese wintermelon soup and we definitely agree.

my-wonderful-kitchen-fried-shrimp-taro-nest-bacon

Stir-fried jumbo prawns with vegetables in taro nest and bacon-wrapped shrimps stuffed with minced fish (鵲巢金環蟠龍蝦)

This was one of our favourites. The bacon-wrapped shrimps were SO good and the seafood mixed with vegetables were well-cooked. Definitely a must-try, so ask for this when you call to reserve!

my-wonderful-kitchen-stewed-wintermelon-balls

Stewed wintermelon balls in house-sauce (翠玉葡提)

Although we preferred the other wintermelon dish above, these “grape-like” ones (also designed to look like hanging fruits; see our pic here) were very warm, soft, and appetizing.

my-wonderful-kitchen-chicken-stuffed-sticky-rice

Deep fried chicken wing stuffed with glutinous rice (生炸珍珠鳳翼)

This dish was a crowd favourite! You can’t tell from our photo, but these chicken wings are stuffed with sticky rice!!! They wings were fat, juicy, tender, and very good. The bones were removed from the wings in order to make room for the rice. Very smart!

One of our followers (@_achau) went almost immediately after seeing our Instagram pic of this and enjoyed them as well.

my-wonderful-kitchen-hong-kong-drinks-floats-milk-tea

Coke slush, red bean, milk tea, red bean with grass jelly, and “yuanyang” (coffee with tea)

Each of these drinks had a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. You can choose to eat the scoop on its own or mix it into your drink. Either way, it’ll still taste very good and refreshing.

We were told that our six course dinner (excluding drinks) would cost $35 per person. This isn’t a bad deal at all! All of the dishes presented to us were artistically designed (Insta-worthy 😉 ) – and very delicious.

Address: 350 Highway 7 #101, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3N2
Phone Number: (905) 889-1088
Tip: The front entrance and parking is actually at the back, opposite of Hwy 7.

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Brunch Dinner Drinks Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Spanish

Tapagria Restaurant Review – Out with Markham Food

December 1, 2015

We recently partnered with Tapagria to host a fun night of food tasting for our bloggers friends. The night came with a lot of appetizers, different entrées (including a couple of brunch items), and lots of hand-crafted sangrias. Tapagria is the only restaurant in Markham right now that serves Spanish tapas. Not only is the food delicious, but you have to check out their interior too. The restaurant is designed with a lot of attention to detail and just about every corner is “Insta-worthy”. 😉

Tapagria-Restaurant-Markham

Tapagria-Sangria-Flavours
We tried so many flavours of their hand-crafted sangrias we can’t remember all of the flavours… Some of the ones we remember are lychee-lime, peach, raspberry, guava, fig, and strawberry. All were amazing, but if we had to choose one: the strawberry!

Tapagria-Restaurant-Sangria

Tapagria-White-Anchovie-Pintxo

One of the many apps we tried was the White Anchovie Pinxto above. Our two favourites (not pictured) pinxtos were the Angus Tartare and the Foie Gras. These dishes definitely opened up our appetites and we were ready for more food.

Tapagria-Mussels

If you’re feeling for more seafood, we’d recommend these steamed mussels. They have a bit of a kick to them thanks to the chilli peppers, but nothing we can’t handle. 😛 This small dish was the perfect way to start off our round of main dishes.

Tapagria-Pecado-Frito-fried-fish

The Pecado Frito (literally “fried fish”) above was perfectly fried, seasoned, and prepared. Although the potatoes and veggies paired nicely with the fish, but we thought there were a little too salty.

And now onto the most popular mains of the night! The following three were hits among the bloggers – with many of us rushing to claim every last bite.

Tapagria-Paella

Above is one of the two paellas that Tapagria serves. The Paella De Tapagria is made of bomba rice, shrimp, chorizo, hen, mussels, jamón, octopus, and peas – a terrific combo packed full of flavour and served at the perfect temperature.

Tapagria-Chuleton-Asado-Steak

It’s safe to say that the Chuleton Asado (“grilled steak”) – the 32oz roasted ribeye – was the most popular dish of the night. Every time we look at this picture, we get hungry. LOOK AT THAT STEAK! The level of doneness, juiciness, and tenderness…everything about it was good. Like with the fish above, we thought the veggies were overly salty. When we go back for this, we’ll definitely ask for less salt.

Tapagria-Mega-Dessert-Platter-Markham

And finally… the secret item that’s not listed on their menu: the Tapagria Mega Dessert Platter. Get this platter of all of their dessert options to share with your group. From back to front, we have the Crema Catalina, Chocolate Cake, Churros with three dipping sauces, and Spanish Toast. Customers are known to order multiple Spanish Toasts in one sitting – they’re that good. And again, this platter was devoured almost as quickly as the steak was.

If you go to Tapagria with a bunch of your friends and/or family, we recommend that you order a variety of dishes to try and share. It’s a great environment for dining, socializing, and drinking with your loved ones. Explore the #TapagriaRestaurant hashtag on Instagram to see more pics!

Address: 230 Commerce Valley Drive East – Unit 2, Markham, Ontario  L3T 7Y3
Phone Number: (905) 771-8868

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Dinner Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Thai

Little Bangkok Thai Cuisine Review – Out with Markham Food

November 19, 2015

We used to drive past Little Bangkok Thai Cuisine all the time, but never ventured into that little plaza. Authentic Thai food is hard to find in Markham, so when we were invited to try some of their dishes out, we were excited! This family-owned restaurant takes pride in their hand-picked ingredients. They believe in serving quality Thai food to give their customers a taste of Thailand in the comfort of their restaurant on Main Street Markham.

This was our first dine-in experience at a true Thai restaurant since our earlier experiences all took place at “fast food style” restaurants. Here’s a look at some of the dishes we had:

Appetizers at Little Bangkok Thai CuisineAppetizer Assortments – A combination of Thai appetizers served for two (2 Chicken Satay, 2 Thai Spring Rolls, 2 Fresh Spring Rolls, 2 Shrimp Rolls, Deep Fried Taro and Mango Salad) ($12.99)

Since it was our first time, this appetizer plate was a great introduction to Thai cuisine. The mix of nutty, sweet, and spicy played very well on our palates. The Mango Salad in particular was our favourite.

Spicy basil mussels, dry curry salmon, and pineapple fried rice - Little Bangkok Thai CuisineTop: Spicy Basil Mussels – Stir-fried fresh mussels with onion, chilies, sweet pepper and Thai basil leaves ($12.99)
Middle: Dry Salmon Curry – Salmon fish, lime leaves and fresh Thai basil leaves cooked in thick red curry paste and coconut cream ($14.99)
Bottom: Fried Rice with Pineapple – Thai style fried rice with tiger prawns, chicken, fresh pineapple, cashew nuts, and egg ($12.99)

We love seafood so we had to try the mussels and salmon. The mussels tasted as expected and were really good (and spicy!). The Dry Salmon Curry was true to its name, but it wasn’t our favourite. The pineapple fried rice however, was surprisingly filling given how small it looks in the photo above. They definitely packed a lot of rice in that little dome.

Thai Iced Tea - Little Bangkok Thai CuisineThai Iced Tea

Can you believe that this was our first time trying Thai Iced Tea? That first sip had us like WOW! We’re big fans of Hong Kong-style milk tea and thought this would taste the same, but the flavour is very distinct. Needless to say, this is going on our list of drinks to order at Thai restaurants.

We hope you’re craving Thai food now because we certainly are. You can find this hidden gem near the GO station on Main Street Markham. They’re located in a little plaza, so there is plenty of free parking.

Address: 227 Main Street Markham North, Markham, ON L3P 1Y6
Phone Number: (905) 471-8818

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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews Sushi

Top 5 Sushi Restaurants for Maki Rolls in Richmond Hill & Markham

October 28, 2015

Maki rolls no longer only refer to the simple California rolls or cucumber rolls that people used to eat.  Many Japanese restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area now offer special maki rolls that show them off under a more creative light. Here, I’ve compiled my top 5 favourite Japanese restaurants for maki rolls in York Region.

5) Hana-bi Sushi

Hana-Bi Sushi is a Korean-owned Japanese restaurant located at First Markham Place. To be honest, their food is good, but not to-die-for. What keeps me coming back is the consistency of their food quality, reasonable prices, good customer service, and location, which is close to where I live. I wouldn’t recommend someone to drive far to get here, but if you are in the area and are craving maki rolls, I’d recommend Hana-Bi. My favourite maki roll there is the Tataki Roll. Their udon is great as well!

4) Gal’s Sushi

I love specialty maki rolls, but they are not the cheapest thing to eat. On days where my maki roll cravings kick in (while on a tight budget), I go to Gal’s Sushi for their Lunch Special Rolls Box. For $9.99, it comes with a combination of California roll, spicy salmon roll, crab salad roll, and deep fried roll. Their specialty rolls such as the Shrimp Caterpillar Roll and Cloud Roll are also very good.

3) Akane Sushi

Akane Sushi is a Japanese restaurant located near Highway 7 and Bayview Avenue. They’re always busy so I suggest coming early if you have a large group. Their prices are affordable and food quality is good. My top recommendation is their love boat (which includes a variety of sashimi such as salmon, tuna, uni, scallop, and shrimp) and their Akane Roll combo. Their Blue Mountain roll is also amazing!

2) Osaka Sushi

Toronto Roll - Osaka Sushi

Toronto Roll

Osaka Sushi is one of my favourite sushi restaurants. Some restaurants only have good maki rolls and average food, or vice versa. Osaka Sushi is not one of those. Pretty much everything I’ve tried there is great. My top recommendation is their Toronto Roll and Amazing Spider Roll. In case maki rolls don’t fill you up, their spicy beef ramen is delicious. They also make custom rolls!

1) MI-NE Sushi

Assorted sushi rolls - MI-NE Sushi

Orangeville roll, Tuna Love Roll, Golden Dragon Roll, assorted nigiri sushi, California Roll and Spicy Salmon Roll

MI-NE is my no doubt my favourite place to go for special maki rolls. Pretty much all the maki rolls I’ve tried here are delicious. My absolute favourite is their Orangeville Roll. For vegeterias, their yam rolls are great as well. Tip: Their specialty rolls are gigantic so don’t order too much! To get the best value, visit them during lunch time when they offer Maki Roll Set Lunches. The sashimi here is average, so skip that and only order the rolls.

(Pins on map labelled backwards to match numbering above.)

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Chinese Dinner Lunch

Baked Pork Chop and Rice with Tomato Sauce — Cha Chan Tang Exclusives

October 21, 2015

I’ll be honest, I’ve spent most of my life growing up on “fast food.” Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a fan of the Super Size diet from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, or any of your regular fast food joints.

No, I grew up on a different kind of quick meal diet; the kind that combines the best of Asian and Western cuisine into helping plates of food less than 10 minutes after you order and can just as quickly down. Let’s talk Hong Kong cuisine; let’s talk cha chan tangs.

Cha chan tangs are cafés that serve a variety of different food and provides for every single meal you can possibly eat. I may be guilty of sitting at cha chan tangs as a kid for hours on end, while my parents chatted with the servers and the other patrons at the cafe. Breakfast would slowly turn into brunch, and then maybe it would be time for an afternoon tea snack. Such is the way that these restaurants operate, as a place for people who may not speak to each other anywhere else to come and banter about the latest news and trends.

To avoid a long political history, all you need to know is that a lot of Hong Kong cuisine, the kind that you can order quickly at a sit-down café, has influences of Western flair. Baked casseroles, meat sauce spaghetti, and mixed grills are only some of plenty of dishes that don’t immediately shout Asian. But they are, and they come synonymously paired in the same menus as your regular chicken and broccoli, beef fried noodles, and Cantonese chow mein. Here’s where quantity and efficiency doesn’t get downplayed by quality because how can you complain about food when you’re sitting in front of a mountain of deliciousness for a pretty affordable price? Just pick and choose from hundreds on the menu. There’s bound to be something for you.

Speaking of which, I thought long and hard about the signature dish to introduce to someone who might still be confused by the authenticity that is a Hong Kong cha chan tang cuisine. I couldn’t really look any further than Baked Pork Chop and Rice with Tomato Sauce. This is by far one of the best comfort foods you can possibly order when you’re starving. It is a staple of any cha chan tangs you go to, especially those who want to serve the masses!

Baked Pork Chop and Rice with Tomato Sauce - Keung's Delight

This dish is everything and more. Here’s a photo I recently took from a meal at Keung’s Delight at the Warden & Steeles T&T plaza. Not so much your classic cha chan tang, but a great place to dine and reviewed previously on my blog. Don’t be afraid of using extra cutlery and plates because it’s almost impossible to eat this during a meal without additional utensils! Here’s a technical look at the assorted components: fried pork chops nestled on top of rice (choice of egg fried rice or the regular variety), and blanketed by a gooey tomato sauce. Baked for a few minutes (literally, a few minutes), and voila! Your famous Baked Pork Chop Rice casserole dish.

Baked Pork Chop Rice - Keung's Delight

 

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Dinner Lunch Reviews Taiwanese

5 Best Taiwanese Restaurants in Markham

October 16, 2015

Whenever I want to have Taiwanese food, I’ll stay in the uptown area. There are a lot of Taiwanese restaurants to pick from, but among all, the following five are my favourite and each of them has something that I like in particular.

Mama Bear Taiwanese Cuisine

Sticky Rice - Mama Bear Taiwanese Cuisine

Mama Bear is famous for their stinky tofu, but my favourite dish there is the sticky rice. The taste and texture are both great.  Since sticky rice is quite filling, I usually share it with friends so we can try more dishes.

Ten Ren’s Tea

Minced Pork Rice - Ten Ren

I think the Ten Ren at Hwy 7 & Times Ave. serves the best bubble tea in town. The tea they use is really different from other bubble tea shops.  And among all savoury dishes, I like their Taiwanese sausage & minced pork rice the most. They use a lot of ingredients in this dish, making it very colourful.  For some people, one order of this is enough for two meals or people!

Hua Lien Tai Ping Siang

Taiwanese bento set - Hua Lien Tai Ping Siang

There’s always lineup at Tai Ping Siang during lunch time. They have my favourite Taiwanese bento set in town.  Their popcorn chicken is irresistible and I love that they have a lot of side dish choices.  And again, their portions are quite big too, so it’s good enough for two meals when I’m not in my super hungry mode.

Green Grotto

Marinated Platter - Green Grotto

Though they don’t make the best drinks, I sometimes go to Green Grotto with friends because they have a lot of magazines.  Green Grotto is a great place to hang out and chat with your friends. Most Taiwanese snacks are deep-fried, so sometimes we’ll have the “marinated platter”, which has beef tripe, dried tofu, and egg.  Compared to other tapas there, it’s really a healthier option.

Papa Chang’s

Papa Chang's

I’m happy that they opened a new location at Pacific Mall because it’s way more convenient for me to enjoy their bentos now! I think their food quality is above average and consistent. There is no particular dish that I really love, but I find that my friends and I always order the same deep fried shrimp when we eat there.  They use breadcrumb batter instead of tempura batter, so it’s not the type of thick batter with tiny shrimps. I also like the sauce they use – it’s the highlight of this dish!

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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews

Shiso Tree Cafe Review

October 9, 2015

Fusion foods are one of my favourite types of cuisines because you not only do you get to enjoy one specific type of cuisine, but you also get to dabble into at least a second one. One of my favourite recent finds of fusion food is tucked away in a place called J-Town in Markham (intersection of Steeles and Woodbine).

J-Town is a wonderful little place filled with Japanese inspired restaurants and foods and even hosts a supermarket where you can find all your Japanese essentials. Within J- Town is one of my favourite restaurants called Shiso Tree which brings Japanese and Italian cuisine together, marrying two very different cuisines into a single dish that surprisingly is harmonious to your taste buds.

Shiso Tree offers a wide selection of different pastas using classic Japanese ingredients such as Nori, Unagi, and Miso based sauces to create this unique fusion of the two cuisines.

Below is just a small sample of what Shiso Tree has to offer:

Shiso Tree - Unagi Don

Unagi Don – cream teriyaki sauce, shimeji mushrooms, with Japanese barbecued eel, garnished with nori & shisho

Shiso Tree - Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki – thinly sliced beef rib eye cooked in house, Japanese soya sauce blend & beef jus, garnished with mushrooms, green onions, nori, shiso

Shiso Tree - Smoked Salmon a la Creme Vodka

Smoked Salmon a la Crème Vodka – vodka-based cream sauce with smoked salmon, fresh dill, garnished with ikura (salmon roe) & caviar

Shiso Tree - Shiso Clam Vongole

Shiso Clam Vongole – white wine, olive oil, garlic, bacon, fresh Manila clams, shiso

Shiso Tree - Okonomiyaki Fries

Okonomiyaki Fries – dressed with homemade steak sauce, Japanese mayo, bonito fish flakes, green onions

Shiso Tree - Tartar Mayo Fries

Tartar Mayo Fries – topped with homemade Japanese tartar sauce and nori

These dishes are just a handful of what you may be eating when you visit Shiso Tree. I highly recommend anyone in the area to check this restaurant out. The prices are very reasonable with the majority of the pasta dishes averaging around $12. Maybe in the future they will expand into making a line of Japanese/Italian fusion of sushi.  Now that would be interesting. Until then, their delicious fusion pastas will have to do.

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All You Can Eat Dinner Japanese Reviews

Best Japanese AYCE Restaurant in Markham

October 6, 2015

Kaka All You Can Eat

KaKa All You Can Eat is one of GTA’s newest all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants. Located at First Markham Place, it has become a highly popular local gem in the York Region area with constant lineups regardless whether it is a weekday or weekend. Please note that even though this places serves an a la carte weekday lunch, this review will be based on their buffet menu. Branded as an upscale AYCE Japanese spot, KaKa aims to provide a premium innovative experience to their guests. Rest assured that despite its name, which might be a branding tactic, the restaurant provides a pleasant surprise and breath of fresh air to the buffet scene. Since opening two months ago, the buzz about this place has exploded on social media and I’m happy to share what all the hype is about!

Sushi - Kaka All You Can Eat

While this Markham restaurant costs just a tad higher than most AYCE restaurants, it is well worth the ‘premium’ price. Expect to find top notch quality and items that you don’t normally find at a Japanese buffet. To give you an idea, KaKa serves aburi sushi (blow torched sushi), oshizushi (pressed sushi), spring egg (poached egg), oysters (baked with cheese), and a variety of in-house specialty desserts (green tea creme brulee, mango lychee slush, blueberry cheesecake, cappuccino custard cup, etc). Be prepared to be wowed by presentation too! The offerings from this place is not something you’ll find at any run-of-the-mill Japanese buffet.

What really sets KaKa apart from its competitors is its ambience. It has a very modern and classy feel to it reminding you of a proper sit-down restaurant. Additionally, the iPad ordering system makes the entire all-you-can-eat-experience seamless and fun. It’s not exactly a new concept but I suspect not everyone has been exposed to this cutting edge technology of ordering.

At the end of the day, everyone is just looking for new experiences. KaKa delivers on that front by bringing to the GTA a new concept to the saturated AYCE market providing superior quality food and service than its competitors. The uniquely delicious menu offerings, friendly attentive staff and welcomingly relaxed environment makes KaKa a leader in the food industry. Maybe this will be a new direction for all Japanese buffet restaurants in the future? Being a repeat customer, KaKa All You Can Eat has impressed me enough to highly recommend this place for everyone to try.

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