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Richmond Hill

Chinese Lunch Reviews Taiwanese Vietnamese

Good and Quick Lunches Around Markham and Richmond Hill

September 13, 2016 by

I admit that I’ve been a big foodie since I graduated. I only started aggressively blogging about food and restaurants since the start of 2016. I have worked around the Markham and Richmond Hill areas for 10+ years. Throughout the years, I have sampled many cuisines from many of the restaurants in the area and have even helped organize corporate food events.

During some days of the work week, my colleagues and I may have only 1 hour available for lunch. Most of the time, it is really good to get out of the office and enjoy great food to refresh the mind and spirit.

Here are my recommendations for quick – but good –  lunches in the area depending on the type of cuisine you are craving for.

Restaurant #1: Pho 88

Cuisine Type: Vietnamese

Satay Pho at Pho 88 in Scarborough
Reasons: Though this location is in Scarborough, it is close enough to the York Region border that those who work in Markham can access it easily. Once you get a table, the pho dishes come out really fast (like within five minutes). The restaurant is styled like a cafeteria and you get seats pretty quickly.  Fast and good food, consistent taste, and fast service with no nonsense. I used to eat only bun (vermicelli) dishes, but their restaurant had such great pho it converted me and I never went back. My favourite dish is the Satay Pho above.

Restaurant #2: Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

Cuisine Type: Taiwanese

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House in Markham
Reasons: If you want to taste Taiwan, these is the closest thing. This restaurant is famous for their beef noodle soups and stinky tofu side dish. The dishes normally come out quickly. Beware of the clothing you wear into the restaurant because the stinky tofu smell can stay on you.

Restaurant #3: Northern Dumpling Kitchen

Cuisine Type: Northern Chinese

Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) at Northern Dumpling Kitchen
Reasons: This place offers great tasting dumplings and other northern Chinese cuisine for very reasonable prices. My friends and I really like their steamed, boiled, and fried dumplings along with the shredded pork cold dish. I personally think that their xiao long bao is the best in Toronto. Their service speed is good for a fast lunch.

Restaurant #4: Phoenix Restaurant

Cuisine Type: Hong Kong Style Cafe

Minced beef with rice at Phoenix Restaurant
Reasons: Even though there are three locations, this location has more space for seating and parking. They have a large menu when it comes to HK-style foods. Their meals are very consistent with each visit. The pricing isn’t too expensive and you will definitely leave feeling full. Their dishes come out very quickly (within 5-10 minutes). My favourite dish is the Fried Pork Chop with Maggi Sauce on Rice.

Locations

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Local Events Miscellaneous

Things to do During Reading Week & Family Day 2016

February 11, 2016 by

Reading Week and Family Day are just around the corner.  If you’re ditching the books for a week or have nothing planned yet, there are a lot of things you can do around York Region!

Board Games & Chill

There are a handful of board game cafés in the Markham area where you can enjoy light snacks, a beverage, and play any board game you like .  Here are three places, but feel free to chime in if you know of a few others in the York Region area!

Get (Mentally and/or Physically) Active

Have you been glow-in-the-dark mini putting?  Putting Edge has locations in both Vaughan and Richmond Hill.  You can also go to Laserquest (actually beside Putting Edge) in Richmond Hill or go outdoor skating at the Markham Civic Centre.  By now, there are also many escape rooms to choose from in the York Region.  Here are a few:

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

If you want to get in touch with your inner artist or just relieve some stress, try your hand at one of these activities.

markham-food-paintlounge

PaintLounge is a fun place to get together with a few friends to paint.  You can either freestyle or choose something from one of their sample books to draw inspiration from.  Check out these deals:

  • February 12 to 14 – ART & WINE WITH YOUR VALENTINE
    Enjoy an art date in style with two 16×20” freestyle sessions & two glasses of wine, beer, tea or coffee, $70 per couple.  More details at paintlounge.ca/valentines.
  • February 15 – FAMILY PAINT DAY
    This Family Day, come as a family for our “Up, Up, and Away” Family Workshop and explore colours, paints, and painting techniques and create collaborative art on a big canvas together. $50 per family for a 24×30” canvas. More details at paintlounge.ca/events/family-day.
  • Now to February 29
    Register with promo code BLOGGERPARTY2016, and your followers will get 45% off adult workshops, valid at all locations. Sign up at paintlounge.ca/adult-workshops.

Colour Me Mine is another painting place, but not on a canvas!  They have a variety of ceramic pieces you can choose from including mugs, décor, and bowls.  Here are a few of their deals:

  • Family Fridays
    One painting adult gets up to two free studio fees for kids (13 years old and under).  Adult must paint their own item and pay a studio fee.
  • Two-for-Tuesday
    Two people paint for one studio fee.
  • Ladies Night
    On Wednesday evenings (starting at 4pm) ladies of all ages receive half price studio fees.

Try a New Restaurant or Unique Dish

LOHAS-Cafe-honey-toast-markham-food

Have you seen the colourful cotton candy lattes from Initium, the beautiful toast with rice from My Wonderful Kitchen, or the drool-worthy honey toast from LOHAS Cafe? Check out our food blog or food page on Instagram for inspiration! Confused about how to find something you need? Check out our how-to guide.

Attend Local Events

February 15 – Take the family out for some free skating for the RBC Family Day Skate! The Markham event will take place at the Milliken Mills Community Centre.

February 15 – Visit the Markham Museum for Winterfest! There’s a $3 fee per person, but the whole family can experience activities such as ice block building, crafts, music, and snow-shoeing. They’re also running a few other events this month that your whole family can enjoy.

February (various dates)Pacific MallMarket Village, and First Markham Place are running some events to celebrate Chinese New Year.

February 23 – As cat lovers, we can’t help but mention the grand opening of Markham’s Cat Adoption and Education Centre (CAEC) (even though this technically takes place after Reading Week). Beginning at 10:30am, you can join in on the grand opening festivities by skating, doing fun activities, and enjoying some refreshments.

Head Downtown

Don’t wanna stay uptown this break? You can always head down to the seventh-best city in the world (according to NYT), Toronto! There are many ways to get across the city including the YRT/Viva, TTC, or GO Transit. Here are some things you can check out:

shangri-la-toronto-chinese-new-year-high-tea

Have something to add to our list? Feel free to comment below and share it with other readers!

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Dessert Drinks Giveaways Spanish Taiwanese

Giveaways with Tapagria, Lohas Cafe, and CoCo Tea!

January 29, 2016 by

We’ve been on a roll lately! What better way to kick off the new year than to give something back to our supporters? Here are three giveaways that are ending soon!

coco-tea-richmond-hill-markham-giveaway

Visit this page to enter for a chance to win a drink vouchers for CoCo Fresh Tea & JuiceSix winners will be chosen, but ONE lucky winner will get a Pandora charm along with their two drink vouchers.

tapagria-giveaway-markham

Get Tapagria‘s Paella de Tapagria and a pitcher of Traditional Sangria for only $40 on any Monday! Their paella is already $45 on a regular day, so this is a steal. 😉 Or… you can enter for a chance to win this deal (redeemable on any Monday) on our Instagram page.

lohas-cafe-first-markham-place-giveaway

Craving dessert? …Well, we’re not really giving dessert away, but LOHAS Cafe is offering three winners a chance to try their kimchi or wasabi mayo fries! BUT once you’re there to claim your prize, why not order one of their adorable lattes (taro & coconut above) or their amazing honey toast (in the background or here). Enter for a chance to win on our Instagram page!

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Chinese

What is Stinky Tofu?

December 17, 2015 by

Source: behance.net

Stinky tofu has a rule of thumb. The stinkier, the better.

My initial discovery, and unknown love for the pungent snack began after a documentary from Taste of Asia. My first bite came from Mama Bear in Richmond Hill. And my final love was found from the Hong Kong stinky tofu stand at the T&T Waterfront Market.

What is stinky tofu?
A definite acquired taste of tofu on an indepth fermentation journey.

What’s it like?
The slightly resisting bites are popularly served fried, but in other cases it can also be stewed, barbequed, as well as in it’s soft form. It carries a pungent odour, as descriptive as I can be. It is a mix between garbage and body odour.

Why should I appreciate it?
It consists of a complicated process that takes weeks or even months of love and labour to achieve the optimal end stank.

Source: wandering-taiwan.blogspot.ca

There’s a wide variety and flexibility of brine combinations in the making of stinky tofu. Some have used Chinese medicinal herbs, dried shrimps, bamboo shoots, and even mountain water.

Source: oolong-milktea.blogspot.ca

Stinky tofu is usually priced at $6 to $8 at restaurants and is best accommodated with pickled cabbage, sweet soy sauce, and chilli sauce. There are a lot of spots in York Region that you can treat yourself! Enjoy a plate today.

Chinese Dinner Drinks Out with Markham Food Reviews

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

December 13, 2015 by

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 Chinese Dim Sum Lunch Reviews

Dragon Boat Fusion: My Favourites at This Popular Dim Sum Restaurant

November 26, 2015 by

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

With plenty of great spots to choose from and some of the best in the GTA, York Region has really got it good when it comes to dim sum. Here’s a look at some of the features and my favourite dishes from one of these gems.  Arguably one of the most popular dim sum joints in the region and for good reason, Dragon Boat Fusion serves up fairly consistent, good quality dim sum along with crazy daily lineups as any good dim sum joint should.

Early birding is encouraged.

Early bird pricing is in effect on weekdays (not including holidays) when you order before 11am when all small, medium, and large dishes are $2.99.  Otherwise, the regular prices are:  S $2.99, M $3.99, L $4.99,  XL $5.99, and SP $6.99.

As for tea, there are the standard teas available at dim sum to choose from and it goes for $1.30 per person. They serve the nicer quality stuff here than typical dim sum joints. For tea, I usually prefer Iron Goddess.

Some Dim Sum Faves

Dragon Boat Fusion - Har GowDragon Boat Fusion - Siu Mai

(1) Har Gow and (2) Siu Mai

These are the classic duo. If they make har gow and siu mai well, then you know the dim sum is good.

(1) Big and plump, chock full of fresh shrimp. Well made skin as it’s thin and translucent yet firm enough to not break when picked up. Garnished with a whole shrimp in the shell.

(2) Also quite big and plump with a balanced ratio of pork to shrimp and topped with roe. Fresh, flavourful, and moist.

Dragon Boat Fusion - Rice noodle rolls with dough fritter

Rice noodle rolls with dough fritter

The dough fritter is actually crispy; a key feature of quality for this dish. Nice and thin rice noodles. Topped with bonito flakes giving these an added deep savoury flavour which definitely levels this up. Warm, sweet soy sauce served on the side to use as you please. Also served with the standard peanut and hoisin sauce for dipping.

Dragon Boat Fusion - Foie Gras Almond Shrimp Balls

Foie Gras Almond Shrimp Balls

A fine example of their fusion dim sum. Love the textural contrast with the crispy almond slivers and shell to the smooth foie gras filling. Very tasty deep, savoury flavours

Dragon Boat Fusion - Thousand Layer Custard Cake

Thousand Layer Custard Cake

A somewhat rare find at dim sum these days. Piping hot, steamed multi-layer, rich yet mildly sweet egg yolk paste.

Dragon Boat Fusion - Dragon Boat Specialty DIm Sum Platter

Dragon Boat Specialty Dim Sum Platter

Served on an afternoon tea style 2-tiered tray with assorted sweets and fruits on top and savoury gems on the bottom. Quite a nice treat to enjoy alongside regular dim sum dishes. Having had this twice, I’ve found that they change up some of the items.

Dragon Boat Fusion - Platter 1

Top Tier (of the platter)

Assorted sweets including birds nest milk tart, coconut pudding on papaya, red bean paste dumplings, assorted jello, fruits, and cherry tomatoes.

Dragon Boat Fusion - Platter 2

Bottom Tier (of the platter)

White cloud chicken feet, eel/meat pastries, seaweed salad, and beans.

Service

The service here is generally quick and efficient  Though it’s the kind of service you’d expect from typical Chinese restaurants. When it gets crazy busy, you’ll have a harder time waving down wait staff.

Décor and setting

Overall, this joint is well lit with a pleasing modern decor in a gold and white theme.  Modern style tableware with many dim sum presented in branded square steamers. Both tables and chairs are adorned in cloth. And of course, as the focal point, a somewhat blinged out double happiness raised platform area for all those dope wedding banquets or dope dim sum sessions in this case. (It does seem a bit quieter up there.)

Crazy line ups

When I have some time off at non-peak times during a weekday, I love whisking away to dim sum hoping to enjoy small lines and very short wait times.  Not so at this joint. If you want to avoid the crazy lineups, be ready to get there before the doors open at 9am, even on a weekday.  Tables fill up minutes after the doors fling open and then the crazy wait begins.  Also, as is the case with many Chinese restaurants, even if you make a reservation you will most likely end up still having to wait a while when you get there.

Inadequate Parking

In terms of parking, there are only a handful of spots outside the restaurant reserved for it.  Around the corner, are a handful of unreserved spots available.  But when those are all filled up, take a detour to park over at the adjacent parking lot where The Keg is and then cross over the small hill.

Regardless of these cons the quality, variety and unique fusion takes on dim sum as well-made standard dishes makes this joint a worthwhile visit.

Address: 160 E Beaver Creek Road, Suite 4-6, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3L4
Phone Number: (905) 731-3718

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Giveaways Lunch Taiwanese

Giveaway with It’s a Bao Time

November 12, 2015 by

In case you missed our Instagram post, we’re hosting a giveaway with one of Richmond Hill’s newest restaurants, It’s a Bao Time. This place caters to the lunch crowd serving steamed buns, Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi), and tacos with fillings like pork belly and beef brisket. Yum! Visit our Instagram page for more info on how you can win a meal for two at It’s a Bao Time!

It's a Bao Time

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Breakfast Brunch Dessert Snack Taiwanese

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

November 10, 2015 by

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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