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Markham

Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews

Ramen Restaurants at New Kennedy Square

January 28, 2016

I’m always venturing for ramen places from one city to another.  Different areas seem to have their own ways of presenting their own businesses to the public.  I visited the Markham area recently and it seems like all of the businesses are within one large complex separated by roads and residential areas.  They might be less accessible if you don’t know how to drive, BUT there are lots of other ways to get there.  In Markham, I am sure everyone knows Sansotei is a legit ramen place, but let’s explore somewhere a little different within the Markham area – New Kennedy Square.

Located up at Hwy 7 & Kennedy, New Kennedy Square is a large plaza with food, businesses, and entertainment.  To get here by public transit, I simply board the Kennedy YRT bus at Steeles and Kennedy near Pacific Mall.  There are many restaurants in this area and a lot of them have been open since I was young. (Now I will let you guess my age ;).  There are three places that have ramen offerings on their menu. Let’s talk about them one by one.

Blue Ocean CaféBlue Ocean Cafe - Tonkotsu Ramen

Hokkaido-Style Tonkotsu Ramen ft. Hokkaido ramen with Stew pork soft ribs ($8.99)

Blue Ocean Café is a Hong Kong style café offering a wide selection of tasty food items from Malaysian curry to rice combos to noodles in soup.  They also offer a special house-made char siu known as “sam sok” cha siu.  Since they only offer a limited amount each day, they’re usually sold out by lunch or early dinner time.  As I was studying this menu, there was one small section that offers Hokkaido-style ramen. Blue Ocean’s Hokkaido-style ramen consists of a tonkotsu (pork bone) soup base topped with standard topping such as kikurage mushroom, corn, sesame, and a soft boiled egg.  As for the main protein, you can choose in a choice of stewed pork soft ribs, enoki mushrooms, beef, or teriyaki chicken.  This time, I decided to try the stew pork ribs.  At uptown ramen restaurants, stew pork soft ribs seems to appear often on menus.  The stewed pork soft ribs had a strong flavour with a soft & chewy texture.  Overall, their noodles & toppings were quite decent.  However, the flavour of the tonkotsu broth was more on the salty side.  Furthermore, there was a lack of creaminess in their pork bone broth.  If you are not comparing this with authentic Japanese ramen, this is worth a try.

Raku Ramen & Izakaya  

Raku Ramen Izakaya - Pork Belly Cheese RamenPork Belly Cheese Ramen

Raku is a Japanese-style ramen and izakaya establishment, which has a selection of tapas, robata grill, sushi, sashimi, and ramen.  They used to offer their ramen in a stone pot when they just started.  Recently, they changed it back to a standard ramen bowl.  I am used to eating ramen place at in the downtown Toronto area, so I don’t expect too much at uptown ramen establishments.  From their ramen selection, I tried something that was a little different from the standard selection of shio, shoyu, and miso).  I selected the dish below.

Pork Belly Cheese Ramen – Their house-made pork belly was actually one of the specialties that they are offering as a separate ramen item.  Accompanied with pork belly, this is a tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen topped with green onion, kikurage mushroom, naruto maki, bean sprouts, corn, and cheese.  I had a variety of toppings in this bowl.  Indeed, cheese had enhanced the creaminess of their tonkotsu soup base, which masked the disadvantage of their soup base.  Their pork belly cha shu had less fat content on the surface, and the meat itself was quite tender.  Overall, this was quite interesting to try.

Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar

Original Shio Pork Bone Ramen + Wonton & Seaweed

Similar to Deer Garden, Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar has a “customize your own noodles” concept.  Pork bone based ramen is one of the selections on their menu.  You’re given a large piece of paper for your noodle selections.

Here are the steps from the ramen section:

Chef Papa Noodle Bar - Shio Pork Bone RamenHokkaido Pork Bone Ramen

Step 1: Pick your soup flavour

  • Shio (Original sea salt)
  • Red miso
  • Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
  • Szechuan dan dan sesame ramen

Step 2: Choose your noodles (Obviously you’d choose ramen noodles in this box, but there are other noodle options available on the list.)

  • Ramen noodles
  • Udon
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Instant noodles

Step 3: Choose Toppings (two choices)

(Note: The ramen package includes half of a soft boiled egg, corn, and kikurage mushrooms.  On top of these, you can pick two more toppings.  Depending on the topping, additional charges may apply.)

  • Pork cha shu
  • Beef brisket
  • Luncheon meat,
  • Slice lamb
  • Wonton

(Optional) Step 4: Pick a side order (additional charges may apply)

(Optional) Step 5: Pick a drink (coffee or tea; additional charges may apply for other drinks)

Since it was my first time visiting, I was a little crazy with the toppings.  I decided to add wonton ($1.75 extra) as one of them.  I also thought nori seaweed was not included in the package, so I ordered seaweed as another one of my selections.  Perhaps, extra seaweed was added to this ramen so it had completely enhanced the flavour of their tonkotsu broth.  The overall taste ended up quite well at the end.  If you like your ramen to be completely customized, Chef Papa is the place for you.

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Dessert Snack

Wooffles and Cream Review

December 11, 2015

Opening in July 2015, Wooffles & Cream is the newest addition to the food court situated in New Kennedy Square in Markham. In contrast to the surrounding vendors offering Asian comfort food, customers can expect to find a range of sweet and savoury Hong Kong style egg waffles, soft serve ice cream, parfaits, and craft sodas. The creative minds behind Wooffles & Cream are Mabel Yeung and Ka Yan Woo, who combined their favourite treats – ice cream and Hong Kong style waffles – to develop their innovative menu.

Our dining experience started with a Matchazuki parfait cup while waiting for the waffles to be made. This scrumptious dessert was carefully crafted with matcha green tea soft serve, red bean paste, cornflakes, and glutinous rice balls. The matcha soft serve was incredibly smooth with a subtle green tea flavour that complemented the sweet toppings perfectly.

Wooffles & Cream Egg Waffles and Parfait

After careful deliberation, we opted for the Black ‘N’ White Sesame waffle with a matcha soft serve swirl and the specialty Lap Cheong ‘N’ Seaweed waffle. The waffles are made fresh to order with crispy edges and a fluffy interior. The sesame waffle maintained its texture quite well against the ice cream due to a careful in-house tempering process. The lap cheong waffle was very tasty on its own with finely chopped pieces of Chinese sausage and shredded seaweed in every bite. This sweet and savoury combination is highly recommended if you’re looking for a unique treat.

Wooffles & Cream Parfait

Wooffles & Cream Egg Waffles

Tips

Be warned of potentially long wait times that can range between 10 to 40 minutes, especially during peak dining hours. If you’re in a hurry, it is recommended to get an idea of the wait time from a staff member before lining up. Nevertheless, onlookers can definitely see the effort and care that goes into each order.

The owners use locally sourced ingredients so you can always expect new concoctions in the works. For all of you green tea enthusiasts, keep an eye out for upcoming creations that feature an even more pronounced tea flavour!

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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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Dessert Giveaways

Giveaway with Toast Delight

November 30, 2015

Visit our Instagram page to find out how you can be one of FIVE winners to win a holiday egg waffle of your choice. Toast Delight developed two special flavours just in time for the holidays and you can only get them during the month of December. The two choices are Gingerbread and S’mores. Yumm…..
Toast Delight Holiday Giveaway

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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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Breakfast Brunch Dessert Snack Taiwanese

The Travelling Foodie’s 5 Top Dishes in Richmond Hill & Markham

November 10, 2015

The York Region is home to many amazing dishes! When the Markham Food team asked me to write an article featuring my favourite dishes in Richmond Hill & Markham, I happily agreed.

Here are my five top dishes in Markham and Richmond Hill to get your appetite going:

Smash Benedict at Smash KitchenSmash Benedict at Smash Kitchen (Unionville, Markham)
2 poached eggs, pulled pork, gravy, 4 cheese blend, English muffin, sm’hash browns

The brunch of champions! The combination of the ingredients was perfect.

Popcorn Chicken at Mama Bear Taiwanese CuisinePopcorn Chicken at Mama Bear Taiwanese Cuisine (Richmond Hill)

Mama Bear is one of my favourite places for popcorn chicken. Crispy, juicy and tender. It wasn’t salty and it has distinct taste of herbs that differentiate it from other popcorn chicken I’ve tried.

Honey Garlic Oysters at Fishman Wharf SeafoodHoney Garlic Oysters at Fishman Wharf Seafood (Markham)

Huge oysters in honey garlic! A friend said to go with the Salted Egg Yolk version for next time.

Green Tea Wizard (Green Tea Snow Ice) at Cha Me. ChaGreen Tea Wizard (Green Tea Snow Ice) at Cha Me. Cha (Unionville, Markham)
With Grass Jelly, Red Bean, Tapioca, Condensed Milk

Green tea lovers will rejoice with this popular shaved ice dessert at Cha Me. Cha.

Deep Fried King Oyster Mushroom – ZenQDeep Fried King Oyster MushroomZenQ (Unionville, Markham)

Best fried mushroom I’ve had. Mushroom is juicy and tasty, and not overly salty nor oily.

I hope this post inspired you to try some of my favourite dishes in Markham and Richmond Hill! Let me know if you have any questions.

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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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Local Events Out with Markham Food

Instameet with Me.n.u Food Truck and Feed My Phone

October 25, 2015
menu-food-truck

Behind the scenes at MeNu Food Truck

With over 100 people in attendance at on October 4, this was the biggest food event that the Markham Food team has organized so far! We co-hosted and co-organized this event with Patrick from Feed My Phone to give back to the amazing food community on Instagram and beyond. The crew at Me.n.u Food Truck made this special event happen thanks to their donation of a venue and delicious food. We had 10 sponsors who generously donated their products for our giveaways at the event, so everyone who was still present by the end of the event was able to bring at least one thing home.

build-own-riceball-menu-foodtruck

One of the food highlights from this event was the “Decorate Your Own Me.N.U Rice Ball” station. Attendees were able to choose from various sauces and toppings to build their own unique (and delicious) rice ball.

rice-ball-toppings

menu-food-truck-rice-ball

… and above is our finished rice ball! Check out this pic to see some of the other results from this station. Besides the rice balls, Me.n.u also served kimchi poutine (below) and Nutella green tea crème brûlée (this was too good and we forgot to snap a pic before eating it, but here’s a close-up by one of our followers).

kimchi-poutine-menu-truck

love-gelato

Special thanks to Daniel from Love Gelato for providing everyone with dessert! Even on a chilly afternoon, our attendees eagerly lined up to get a taste of the gelato. The flavours provided were coffee, hazelnut, pistachio, fig, mango, pear, and lemon. We highly recommend that you guys visit Love Gelato at their store at 75 Main St. North to try even more of their gelato, food, and coffee.

menu-food-truck-guys

L-R: Bryan, Alan, Allen, Joe

And of course, the event would not have been possible without the food and venue provided by Me.n.u Food Truck. Check out their website to see where they’ll be next!

Thank you to the following prize sponsors (in alpha-order): 0n_the_bright_side, Bake Code, Bunny Bumm, Chatime Canada, Dim Sum City, Donburi, Duo Patisserie, Inspire Restaurant, Sweven Media, and Wooffles & Cream.

Here are more blog posts covering the event written by our fellow foodie friends:

If you wrote about us on your blog, we’d love to read it. You can email your links to .

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