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Chinese Dessert Dinner Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews

Dining in Markham, York Region

September 26, 2018

There are tons of delicious and diverse options if you’re looking for a place to eat in Markham. Being the largest municipality in York Region, fourth-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area, and Canada’s 16th largest city (source), there’s no doubt that the food scene is constantly growing.

We’ve highlighted four places across Markham that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Ding Tai Fung (First Markham Place)

Markham - Ding Tai Fung, First Markham Place

Markham - Ding Tai Fung, Xiao Long Bao, Soup DumpingsThis restaurant isn’t connected to the official Din Tai Fung in Taiwan, but it’s been around for about a decade and still a very popular choice for diners. We highly recommend ordering the spicy shrimp wonton and their famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings) shown above.

Cacao 70 (Downtown Markham)

Markham - Cacao 70 Dip Shop WafflesCacao 70’s Dip Shop just opened this summer and is already a hit among those with a sweet tooth. Their store is conveniently located near a lot of fantastic restaurants and across Cineplex Cinemas Markham & VIP. After your dinner and movie, stop by and indulge in some fondue or ice cream. Both the shop and their items are insta-worthy, so don’t forget to snap a pic and hashtag #MarkhamFood!

Old Firehall Confectionary (Main Street Unionville)

Main Street Unionville, Markham - Old Firehall Confectionary Main Street Unionville, Markham - Old Firehall ice creamAnother dessert option is the Old Firehall on Main Street Unionville (not to be confused with the other quaint area further east called Main Street Markham!). They have an assortment of ice cream cones, fine chocolates, and pastries to choose from. Once you’ve picked your dessert, take a stroll and admire the Unionville area.

19th Avenue Farmer’s Market (Markham North)

Markham, 19th Avenue Farmer's Market Markham, 19th Avenue Farmer's Market peppersIf you’re interested in seeing what some of York Region’s farmers have to offer, head north to the 19th Avenue Farmer’s Market! The market is always stocked with fresh produce sold both individually and in batches. There are also many more farms and farmers’ markets across the region – download the York Farm Fresh Map to find them all!

Regardless of where you go, York Region is full of amazing places to eat. Through YorkSafe, the York Region government is working to keep the restaurants you love safe and clean. For more information, visit york.ca.

This post was sponsored by York Region for World Tourism Day. Official hashtags are #LoveYR #WorldTourismDay and #WTD2018.

The Regional Municipality of York is not affiliated with Ding Tai Fung, Cacao 70, 19th Avenue Farmer’s Market, or the Old Firehall Confectionary.

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Dessert Dinner Drinks Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews

Smash Kitchen Review – Out with Markham Food

March 27, 2016

Back in February, we co-hosted a blogger tasting event with Smash Kitchen at their restaurant to try out some of the new items on their menu. Not only did we have amazing food that night, but we had the best company! The 10 bloggers who attended this tasting were well-fed and had an amazing time socializing and trying out Smash Kitchen’s dishes. Some of us were return visitors, while others were trying the place for the first time. Here’s a look at some of the things we had.

Sangria at Smash Kitchen

No tasting is complete without drinks. ; ) These are the Red and White Sangrias with fresh fruit. Yum!Ahi Tuna Wontons - Smash Kitchen

Above: Ahi Tuna Wontons // Below: Beef Cheek Poutine

Beef Cheek Poutine at Smash Kitchen

Out of the eight different appetizers we tried, the Beef Cheek Poutine was crowd favourite as we devoured it almost immediately (after taking our pics, of course).

Smash Kitchen - Sunday Platter

Smash Kitchen - Sunday Platter

The Sunday Family Platter was so epic that we had to show it to you from different angles. Consisting of buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ ribs, homemade maple bacon & cheddar biscuits, L.A. mac & cheese, grilled andouille sausage, and grilled corn, this platter will feed your entire family! We shared two platters between 10 people and that was more than enough considering we had a lot of appetizers to begin with.

Smash Kitchen - Apple Dessert

Above: Apple Smash 2.0 // Below: Smash Mini Donuts (Background: Strawberries & Cream Mini Donuts)

Smash Mini Donuts at Smash Kitchen

Two of our favourite desserts from the six we had that night… the delicious hot apple cinnamon crumble underneath cold maple walnut ice cream and the tiny donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and caramel sauce. *insert heart eyes emoji* All of their desserts were good to be honest, but these were amaazzinggg and perfect for sharing!

Hope we made you hungry. ; )

Address: 4261 Hwy 7 East, Unionville, ON
Phone Number: (905) 940-2000

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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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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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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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Drinks

Best Hong Kong Milk Tea in Richmond Hill & Markham

September 27, 2015

Milk Tea - So Good RestaurantHong Kong-Style Milk Tea. What’s not to love about it? Its richness from freshly brewed black tea, filtered many times right in front of your eyes, before being gently combined with creamy evaporated milk for that extra smooth touch. Served hot or cold, the taste is just incredible.

With many HK-style diners, bakeries, and restaurants here in York Region, there are so many places that offer this nice ice cold or steaming cup of HK-style milk tea. Here are my top 5 go-to spots in York Region when I’m craving this beloved beverage!

So Good Restaurant – 10 West Pearce Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Hai Tang Bakery – 7220 Kennedy Rd, Markham, Ontario

Marathon Cafe – 55 East Beaver Creek Rd #25, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Ocean Seafood Restaurant – 328 Highway 7 E Richmond Hill, Ontario

New City Restaurant8392 Kennedy Rd, Unionville, Ontario

Where’s your favourite place to get some good HK milk tea? Please share with us below!

Images
Top: Iced Hong Kong milk tea and iced lemon tea
Bottom: Hot Hong Kong milk tea

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Dessert Drinks Local Events Out with Markham Food Reviews Snack

Night It Up Review 2015 – Out with Markham Food

September 13, 2015

Our team was invited to Night It Up‘s media tasting on July 25 where we sampled some dishes from a handful of food vendors. Night It Up (NIU) is known to sell snack foods, but boy, we were well fed! By the end of the tasting, we were stuffed with two full-sized bubble teas and a lot of food.

The people behind Night It Up, Power Unit Youth Organization, organizes this annual three-day event to raise money for charity. Last year, they raised $10,000 for UNITY and this year, their beneficiary was the Yellow Brick House. We love that NIU not only gives back to the community, but it brings people together. People from all over the Greater Toronto Area drop by this event every year to join in the fun and eat authentic Asian street food.

In case you missed our coverage on Instagram, below are some photos we took along with mini reviews.

Egg waffle with green tea ice cream and fresh fruits - Night It Up!Egg waffle with green tea ice cream and fresh fruits at Sweety Bird ($6)

We prefer our egg waffles to be light and crispy, but thought this was a bit too thick. This dessert is extremely photogenic though, as it received the most comments and likes of the night!

Crispy taro and potato chips - Night It UpCrispy taro and potato chips at Happy Twist

Watching the vendors create this was really fun. They stick a whole potato into the machine and these chips spin out in one long piece. They spread out some toppings (BBQ, spicy, garlic powder, etc.) on their table for customers to use, but we thought they tasted pretty good plain.

Grass jelly roasted milk tea and wintermelon iced tea - ChatimeGrass jelly roasted milk tea and wintermelon iced tea (both with grass jelly) at Chatime

What can we say? These drinks were greatly appreciated on a smoldering hot day, especially at an event where there is a stove or BBQ every few metres.

Sakura Mochi Milk - Sakura mochi, Sakura milk, leaf powder, & aduki red beanSakura Mochi Milk – Sakura mochi, Sakura milk, leaf powder, & aduki red bean at Kakigori ($8)

We only took a photo of this because it was such a beauty, but it sure looks and sounds delicious!

Deep fried kimchi - MeNu Food TruckDeep fried kimchi at MeNu Food Truck ($5)

This is an awesome concept. We love kimchi and who doesn’t like deep-fried-anything?? We admit – this was a little hard to eat because every bite made the kimchi fall apart, but hey… it was good. ; )

Sharetea Bubble Tea - Night It UpL – Fresh lemon green tea with mixed pearls and aiyu jelly
R- Classic milk tea with mixed pearls and herb jelly at Sharetea ($5)

After downing that first bubble tea, this second one was much appreciated as we were all thirsty from over an hour of snacking on different foods. These cups were huge and very worth the $5 that they charged at NIU.

Green tea ice cream cookie sandwich at Sweets and SavouryGreen tea ice cream cookie sandwich at Sweets and Savoury

This food stand was run by food bloggers Feed My Phone and qqfoodjournal. The cookies were baked using Master Chef Canada candidate, Christopher Siu‘s recipe. Our food tour ended well with this dessert. The flavours weren’t too strong so they didn’t overpower each other and the cookies were soft and chewy.

If you missed Night It Up! this year, stay updated by following them on their social media pages! This event takes place annually in July and only lasts three days, so be sure to mark your calendars. Make sure you go on an empty stomach because they have a LOT of food vendors. We look forward to seeing you there next year!

Address: Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3
Tip: They don’t offer parking to event goers, but you can find free street parking if you’re early. Otherwise, paid parking is available on some side streets.

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