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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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Chinese Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews Vietnamese

5 Noodle Spots to Avoid in Markham

September 15, 2015

We’re Janice and Joel from Blunt Food Review and we enjoy eating – we eat out A LOT! The next logical step to this was to start blogging about our gastronomic adventures. We like to keep things short and simple (a.k.a. BS-free), and we know most people do as well when it comes to food; hence Blunt Food Review was born.

Eating in Markham is always a hit-or-miss. With so many noodle choices, it’s easy to walk into a random restaurant and be disappointed. We just wish that we had a list of these ‘misses’ early on, which is why we compiled this list. We hope this will help you on your noodle adventures in Markham!

Niwatei

Niwatei - Chashu Ramen
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

If this isn’t the saddest looking bowl of ramen ever, then I don’t know what sadness is! I ordered the Chashu Ramen at Niwatei within J-Town with high expectations and I have to say that my expectations were crushed. The egg was overcooked, which you can clearly see in the picture. The chashu was not tender and quite hard to chew.  The soup was bland and worst of all, the noodles were overcooked. This was quite simply a mediocre bowl of ramen.

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

Mei Nung - Beef Noodles
Bluntly reviewed by Janice

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House at First Markham Place has a high Yelp rating so I was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately I was quickly disappointed by my bowl of noodles as I chewed through the tough beef brisket. In addition, the entire restaurant smells heavily of stinky tofu, which doesn’t really go away and seeps into your clothes.

Beef Noodle King

Beef Noodle King - Beef Brisket Noodle
Bluntly reviewed by Janice

Beef Noodle King is a small restaurant slightly hidden behind First Markham Place. I knew I shouldn’t expect too much going into the restaurant when I saw that it was empty at lunch on a Sunday. The beef was surprisingly soft but the soup was bland and noodles were overcooked. The tacky velvet wall décor didn’t help much either.

Deer Garden

Deer Garden - Fish Soup Noodles fixed
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

This is a bowl of Fish Soup Noodles at Deer Garden, which is a favourite amongst noodle aficionados. Unfortunately, my bowl of noodles was quite disappointing. I can sum up the disappointment with one word – bland. The soup was watered down to the point where I could barely taste any fish flavour. I hate to say it, but I’ve had better from Deer Garden and I expect better from them.  Until they can keep up their consistency, I’ll be avoiding this place for now.

Pho Pad Thai

Pho Pad Thai - Pad Thai
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

This is the Pad Thai that I ordered at Pho Pad Thai. Please lower your expectations because they do not serve traditional recipe Vietnamese or Thai food here! I learned my lesson to not order Pad Thai at Viet/Thai combination restaurants following this dinner: when a Pad Thai is red in colour you know that they simply use too much ketchup for the sauce. It ends up not tasting like Pad Thai at all and more like ketchup with noodles!

Do you agree with our reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

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