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Eat & Drink

Rats Feast at Dumpling House

Posted by Tim / February 15, 2008

Dumpling House Rats
I hate to post a photo like this because I actually really like the Dumpling House, but a reader sent us a photo that looks genuine. Seems the other day some rats were clearly visible through the window. Looks like there are three or four of them. A closer look and update after the jump.

Dumpling House Rats Closeup
Sort of reminds me of the infamous rat episode in Taco Bell.

Update: The reader just sent us an update with a message they received after they complained to Toronto Public Health: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The Premise has been inspected and evidence of a rat infestation has been confirmed. The restaurant has now been closed by Toronto Public Health.

Thanks to Matt A. for the tip



Tanja / February 15, 2008 at 04:06 pm
those are freakin huge.
John / February 15, 2008 at 04:09 pm
About the size of a dumpling perhaps?
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jack / February 15, 2008 at 04:12 pm
relax.. they are celebrating Year of the Rat
RBeezy / February 15, 2008 at 04:31 pm
what do rat dumplings taste like? any recommendations?
Chris / February 15, 2008 at 04:37 pm
How the hell did they NOT notice 4 huge rats on a counter top? Goddamn.
Sameer Vasta / February 15, 2008 at 04:44 pm
Aw man, I really did like Dumpling House.
Chuck / February 15, 2008 at 04:46 pm
I'm so glad I haven't eaten there since 2003
jack / February 15, 2008 at 04:47 pm
those mickey mice looked very happy..
chris / February 15, 2008 at 05:25 pm
I've seen this many times walking past late at night.

Also, have seen the Susur sous chefs prepping huge cuts of fish on cardboard resting on top of their grease bins in the alley behind the restaurant.
Jerrold / February 15, 2008 at 05:27 pm
@ chris

And what have you done about it?
Adam / February 15, 2008 at 05:56 pm
That's so sickening... aghh
Chris / February 15, 2008 at 06:14 pm
I'm not sure, but I think this place had photos on the wall of the the Prime Minister eating there during the SARS crisis. Politicians always bring the rats.
Miles / February 15, 2008 at 06:44 pm
Jeez, I hope the place was closed when this was taken, that's revolting.
Jack / February 15, 2008 at 08:17 pm
this place looks way cleaner than restaurants in nyc or those at the Wonderland
carbomb / February 15, 2008 at 10:14 pm
Maybe they are pets?
Arieh Singer / February 15, 2008 at 11:18 pm
Michael / February 16, 2008 at 12:49 am
That was my favorite place to eat It was cheap and great food but I guess I'm going to be staying away now. Damn you internet!
Danielle / February 16, 2008 at 11:02 am
Pet rats are actually quite clean!!
Rick / February 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm
Maybe the rats were helping to cook the food, like in Ratatouille.
sniderscion / February 16, 2008 at 12:40 pm
"What the customer doesn't see; the cook gets away with" Fawlty Towers.

Great capture.
Elle Driver / February 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm
Holy shit. Is this the same place where the two women are standing in front of the window making dumplings all day? I'm guessing this picture was taken from the side window. I almost went to this place for Chinese New Year. I think I'm going to retch.
Elle Driver / February 16, 2008 at 01:01 pm
Oh, and if you want more info on this place (or any other restaurant) do a look-up on Dine Safe, which are reports and inspections done by Toronto Public Health:
Laurence / February 16, 2008 at 01:16 pm
Maybe they brought them in as decoration for the Lunar New Year. It is the year of the Rat after all...
Otto / February 16, 2008 at 01:30 pm
Last time I ate there, I came home with projectile vomiting. Now I'm not sure if it was stomach virus, food poisoning and rat turds.
I may never visit Chinatown again.
Nick / February 16, 2008 at 02:51 pm
See attached weblink for exact violations.
Joe Howell / February 16, 2008 at 05:14 pm
So, so horrible. Thank you BlogTO for publicizing this and getting 'em shut down. I can only hope that Fear of the Righteous Bloggers prevents other restaurateurs from trying to get away with such appalling conditions.
jack / February 16, 2008 at 06:20 pm
did someone contact the toronto humane society?
Rick / February 16, 2008 at 06:20 pm
The restaurant manager commented to the National Post:

<i>??We have a very good reputation. That?s why we are taking this very seriously. I think [this shutdown] may affect business for a very short time, but not very much because our cleaning conditions are good.??

The manager said he had never seen rats himself in the restaurant, and said any rat problem is not confined to Dumpling House. He said downtown has a rat problem generally, and the city needs to do something about it.

??In this city, rats are a huge problem. It?s a city problem, not a restaurant problem. I don?t think the city has a plan to fight the rat problem.??</i>
Cam / February 16, 2008 at 06:56 pm
I hope they don't serve "special" dumplings.
MattAlexander / February 16, 2008 at 07:20 pm
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"But wait. It gets worse. You see, today I dined at this fine establishment. Today. Today I had lunch at Dumpling House. The same day that it failed a City of Toronto Public Heath Inspection. The same day that a Health Hazard Order and court summons was issued. The same day that rats were witnessed, scurrying about with their little rat feet over top of the table where delicious dumplings are formed. Delicious rat-contaminated dumplings."

Ryan / February 16, 2008 at 09:31 pm
Well it really sucks to be yu at this momment.
Alison / February 17, 2008 at 04:32 am
I'm not sure why you guys think this was such a great restaurant. I ate here once and it was depressing. Dirty, depressing decor and mediocre food. The only upside to the place was that it was cheap.
crisscross / February 17, 2008 at 06:30 am
I was in that very restaurant a couple of years ago when a health inspector showed up. After five minutes she asked for the supervisor and pointed out the filth on the areas in the food preparation area by the front window (where the rats are now. She then put a health warning sign in the window and said the place would be shut down if it didn't pass inspection in a few days. Rats are not part of the restaurant business.
jellyfish / February 17, 2008 at 09:33 am
Oh man... I knew the place wasn't the cleanest place in the world, but their pan fried dumplings were delicious! Those pictures make my stomach turn...
Rob B / February 17, 2008 at 10:32 am
The owner is passing the buck some by saying it is a city
problem...Rats are big and it doesn't take much to figure out
how & why they are getting into the restaurant.
No excuse for this other than a disregard for cleanliness.
years back...A friend was dining on Spadina when a Rat suddnely appeared, jumping from one table to the next....
Jon / February 17, 2008 at 11:16 am
Makes me really appreciate living in RAT FREE ALBERTA! As long as we keep voting conservative we'll stay that way, too;)
Thom / February 17, 2008 at 12:51 pm
I've seen MASSIVE rats at The Big Slice walking around in the piles of food that have fallen off the pizza making counter... while my friend and I were buying a slice. Needless to say we left and have not gone back. Friggin sick.
J / February 17, 2008 at 02:21 pm
Alberta is only rat-free when Harper takes Airforce One out of the province.
jack / February 17, 2008 at 02:25 pm
user-pic is mentioned in the article on pg A12 in today's Sing Tao chinese newspaper
Andrew / February 17, 2008 at 11:43 pm
I ate here a few times. Saw the roaches but never any evidence of rats. Mind you I still have nightmares about the condition of the downstairs bathroom...shoulda saw this coming
n0name / February 18, 2008 at 09:16 am
I guess somebody left the cage door open...
Rimilton / February 18, 2008 at 10:02 am
That's it! No more chances. I will never, ever, ever eat in Chinatown again! This is absolutly disgusting.
DN / February 18, 2008 at 03:23 pm
No one who works at a place with that level of infestation can honestly claim he "didn't know", unless it is his habit to never attend the premises in person. There are certain signs that employees would have seen on a daily basis, such as droppings and chewed-up debris. What this shows is that the people who run that place just don't care about public health--unless their business is threatened by public exposure in the media.
Rat / February 18, 2008 at 08:36 pm
That remind me Ratatouille. They are actually cooks!
Elle Driver / February 18, 2008 at 09:21 pm
Despite what some of the previous comments may suggest (including my own) Chinatown is still a fantastic place to eat.

Seriously, go visit the Dine Safe site I recommended earlier - - and check out any restaurant - some of my favourite places - including Swatow and Rol San - have spotless records.

I work directly above one of the best reviewed French restaurants in the city, and I'm fairly certain they have a roach problem, as I've seen a few in our studio. Any restaurant can have infestations.
Morris / February 18, 2008 at 09:49 pm
Toronto has THE DIRTIEST RESTAURANTS in the western world!!! FACT! Chinatown should be bulldozed and burned down. This is the dirtiest tourist area in North America!!!! The Chinese Business Association are a bunch of ASSHOLES!!!!
ryan / February 18, 2008 at 11:09 pm
On the DineSafe website it shows that this place was "inspected" on November 7th, why do i find it hard to believe that in 3 months it degraded this much? I smell some other sort of rat in this story, namely that the Inspectors aren't really inspecting in any serious capacity.
Sandy / February 19, 2008 at 12:34 am
They should be using the rodent repellant trash bags.
Follow the Link, the really work.;amp;section_id=6&articleid=4 click on rodent resistant trash bags
Laurence / February 19, 2008 at 10:56 am
ryan: things can easily degrade in a busy kitchen. not to mention from November to February, the weather has turned 180 degrees, and rats and other vermin are bound to find their way indoors. This is not an excuse for restauranteurs, however.
laurence / February 19, 2008 at 11:00 am
And Morris: your comments border on ignorant bigotry. I can point out countless restaurants outside of Chinatown of all backgrounds being as dirty, or worse. There are plenty of restaurants in Chinatown that have been, and are continuing to be, in full compliance of health standards and are an acceptable level of cleanliness. Sadly, it takes one black sheep to ruin the party for everyone.

It's tragic how in Chinatown, one infraction by one restaurant can tar the whole district. This would never happen in other cultural districts under the same circumstance - each restaurant would be judged individually.
Mark / February 19, 2008 at 11:04 am
Its the night help just cleaning up after the place shut down, and it was probably past midnight when the fairy godmothers spell wore off and they turned back into a rat.
Ian / February 19, 2008 at 11:55 am
It's very important that people report incidents to Toronto Public Health. I have reported 3 places and they were there the next day. Mel's Deli at 644 Bloor served me food with a HUGE hair almost laid out ontop of it like an extra, watched a pizza place nearby where the staff handles cash, scratched their heads then started putting pizza toppings on food...we should have a course staff have to take on food safety. Dooney's at 511 Bloor also has had problems so bad the beer guys won't deliver to their back as the smell is so bad and their fridge is so filthy they won't go in it to deliver beer - and that's saying something!!
Mickey Mouse / February 19, 2008 at 02:50 pm
Ratatouille!!! I love that movie!
combax / February 19, 2008 at 03:11 pm
All of chinatown (Dundas/Spadina) is like this. Rats are indigenous to Chinatown and you can?t kick them out of their home. I grew up in Chinatown on the second floor of a restaurant. I know first hand the futility of pest extermination.
The buildings in that neighbourhood are old and falling apart. It doesn't matter how many you kill today, they'll just crawl in through the drains, run in through your restaurant backdoor, gnaw through the cracks of your basement wall etc?

It?s unfortunate humans and rats can?t peacefully co-exist in chinatown. I know how tough it is for people to make a living in Chinatown, working 9 am till midnight 7 days a week, no holidays and earning scraps. For something like this to happen, I feel bad for the store owners.
Elle Driver / February 19, 2008 at 03:49 pm
I agree with just about everything you said, Combax, but rats are everywhere, and not just indigenous to Chinatown. I live near a popular West-end ice cream store that's been around for 20 years- I frequently see giant rats scurrying around their dumpsters, even during the winter.

That said, I still won't be re-visiting Dumpling House anytime soon.
Sean Williams / February 19, 2008 at 03:56 pm
This is serious.
Inspectors should pay more attention.
For the time being, we must boycott establishments such as this one.
Bob Ur Uncle / February 19, 2008 at 04:17 pm
I love this place and would've eaten there even with the rats. Ah man, stoopid public health
Brad / February 19, 2008 at 04:47 pm
turned my stomach to see that picture, I loved the dumplings there. (even put a review up about the place on ourfaves)
I wont outright stop eating in Chinatown, the food is too good, but I'll be much more wary.
Dan / February 19, 2008 at 06:33 pm
Guys, please realize that at most restaurants especially the cheap ones, you're not eating chicken or beef.

it's actually cat, rat, racoon and dog. just take a walk through those alleys late at night and you'll see.

or peek in their dumpsters.

That is why it's so cheap!

Next bust should be New Ho King...I've found bugs in my food there many times.
Tom / February 19, 2008 at 06:45 pm
Dan: "bugs in my food there many times" - and you keep going back...what does that say about you?
health / February 19, 2008 at 08:37 pm
Strangely , this doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. There is a huge rat problem in this area.

Even if your store is clean, they can easily get in, even swimming up the toilets from the sewer in older sections of the city.

This is unfortunate. I've always enjoyed eating there.
mack black / February 19, 2008 at 08:54 pm
knew it!!!
I got massive food poisoning there new year's eve!!
combax / February 19, 2008 at 11:49 pm
I shouldn't have said things to discredit my fellow chinatownians. They work night and day and earn next to earlier comment didn't make things any better.

Health inspectors realize that there's no end to the infestation problem in Chinatown. Most of them have a heart, and when they see 70 year old ladies lift 30 pound pots on to stoves to make a living (because their ungrateful kids decide upwards mobility does not apply to immigrants), they turn the other cheek to the grains of black rice steaming in the cooker.

I grew up living on the 2nd floor of my family's restaurant. Everyday, my parents worried about a health inspection. it didnt matter how clean my parents kept the store, rats and roaches would always find their way in from next door. At nights when we slept, the rats would squeel and fight over the garbage in our backyard (which the city would only pick up 2-3 times a week).

So for $2.99, you can get BBQ pork on rice, a bowl of soup, a can of soda, and a lot of hard work from people who deserve a break.
Al / February 20, 2008 at 06:17 am
Rats are very good to eat. And yes they taste like chicken. If you cook them right. I can eat almost anything that walks. crawals, flys. What ever. I was trained to eat most stuff raw, part of my military training. So suck it up. Ever wonders what happens a McDonnald's? It would mak you sick if you knew!
Tom / February 20, 2008 at 07:16 am
This is just what's visible. Just because we didn't see something doesn't mean it's not there.
As some posters said, ever wondered what living things and their discharge have come into contact with food ingredients in restaurants, coffee house, bakeries, etc, even in your kitchen...?
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 07:34 am

If you honestly think that Toronto has the dirtiest restaurants in the Western world, you evidently need to travel a bit more. I've seen things in places like Paris, London, New York, and Washington DC that would make you hurl clear across the room...and some of them at pricier establishments, too.

Not that Toronto is any exception to this, of course (we've kinda been "ratted out" here...ha ha? any takers? no?).

But is this a uniquely Toronto problem, or even (as the idiot owner of Dumpling House suggests) a particularly downtown Toronto problem? C'maaaaaan.

Sorry to disappoint you, because I know how people jump at the chance to beat up on big, bad ol' Toronto. But this happens in every type of restaurant in every city in the world. Too bad you can't use this to justify your prejudices.
marie / February 20, 2008 at 08:00 am
well we all know that the combination of rats and urban life are not a mix, but apparently, according to my readings, rats used to have a very good reputation i Europe before the Bubonic plague. Before that epidemic rats were entertained in parks much the way squirrels and chipmunks are today. They were, and are, very intelligent, social and clever. They learn tricks easily and for little treats they would perform amusing little feats. When the bubonic plague hit the association with rats was forever changed. But the truth of the matter was that it was not the rat itself but a flea that lived on rats, and, apparently, only on black rats. But rats in general took the rap. Myself I like rats and mice and rabbits and the whole rodent family. My son had rats as a child, and not unlike many children, once the newness wore off he spent progressively less time with them and they were lonely, so I took them out and spent time with them. We had a houseful of pets, dogs and cats and they were extremely interested in the rats. They are lovely little folk. I just wanted to add this perspective. I have known this about the dumpling house for many years it has had that reputation and has been closed before for the same issue, if memory serves me correctly. I don't have a solution for the human rodent disharmony but rats have many favourable qualities and I don't think they should be thought of with such disgust. we all love dogs and they like their bums and eat shit etc. I've never seen a rat eat shit. They probably went in and fumigated the poor creatures. A sad solution. There are better ways to discourage them. Reminder: it's the year of the rat. The Rat:
The Chinese astrological cycle begins with the year of the Rat; consequently those born within this category like to be first, pioneers, at the forefront of the action. Because of this, they tend to see themselves as a cut above the others. Restless and inquisitive, those born under the influence of the Rat are active, both physically and mentally, and tend to lead busy lives. Challenge is essential to them for they love the thrill of living dangerously, adapting easily to different environments and surviving against all odds. With clairvoyance, intuition, perspicacity and an eye for detail, Rats are formidable problem solvers, finding workable solutions to the knottiest problems. Travelling is one of their favorite pastimes. They have a natural talent for the arts, specifically writing.
The Rat possesses attributes ranging from charming and humorous to honest and meticulous. The Chinese say those born in these years make good and wise advisors, yet they can never decide for themselves and change direction constantly. Another problem is that they can worry and fret endlessly, especially about their health, which creates internal stress. To combat this, Rats need space and understanding, love and companionship.
Rats are best known for their charm and intelligence, which often wins admiration wherever they go. Blessed with a sharp wit, they possess a marvelous sense of humor, which makes them stimulating and amusing company to have around. Generally extroverted, they may well be described as opportunists for they prefer to live off their wits rather than labor long and hard to earn their daily bread.
The Rat has a great appetite and appreciates fine cuisine, loving all types of good food, fine wines, baked goods and gourmet meals. Although he may not be patient enough to prepare these great meals himself, he does enjoy dining at all the latest restaurants.
hilda / February 20, 2008 at 08:56 am
well they were shutdown, he's lost 10,000 for the closing but is facing $25,000 fine. he had to have known about this as droppings were everywhere.. it's disgusting, revolting an no wonder we get sick eating in Chinatown. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT! We will not stand for this disgusting event.
ana / February 20, 2008 at 09:01 am
On one of the news, he said that he was not aware of any rats being ever at his restaurant? he said they came all at once at that same day that picture was taken. LOL
MRE / February 20, 2008 at 09:03 am
Lucky they didn't end up on the menu. I guess having rat feces on counter surfaces in the morning meant nothing to the owner. Year of the Rat LOL.
Robert Foerster / February 20, 2008 at 10:22 am
Well actually infestations of one or another are COMMON in any restaurant, china town or elsewhere. But yes this is very disturbing!

Friends in very popular "white" restaurants report mice and cockroaches a plenty, so don't think you are safe because it says some brand name chain on it.

Well, I never got sick there, and the dumplings were great! Special sauce?
Robert / February 20, 2008 at 10:25 am
There are huge rats around the centre for addiction and mental health, it is a known problem. Not just the restaurants, all over babies...called the world! :P
dnm / February 20, 2008 at 10:28 am
I'll be back as soon as things are cleaned up. The owner is a nice guy, they've never given me any problems, the food is good, and that's that.
John Chinaman / February 20, 2008 at 10:52 am
This is bad news... though it does ease my fears about Chinatown becoming gentrified. These rats are big but you'll find more like them in the trash room of any supermarket.
Arn / February 20, 2008 at 10:54 am
I think there's a bigger issue of how the city regulates it's waste disposal. I think there will always be vermin until we find a way to completely cut vermin off from the food sources we provide them. The rats were already in the area before he opened his restaurant. His reataurant may actually be clean, but maybe it was easy for the rats to access, as rats can make their own doorways if they want to, especially in older buildings.

Because of that, I'm undecided how much it is the owners fault that rats infested his restaurant, but once he realised there was a problem, he should have done everything he could to keep them out/away.

Apparently Alberta, according to this news article dated 2000, did manage it's rat problem very well.
But can we completely eliminate them? It doesn't look like it- even in well kept areas.
I hope it's still that way in Calgary and I wonder if Toronto can do the same. I think the article makes it clear though, without a concerted province/municipality wide effort it is impossible to get properly control/ get rid of vermin. They will go wherever there is a safe source of food and shelter. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound a rat poison.
I think Toronto could take a page from Calgary on pest control- It's gotta be more than just killing vermin.
jimmie / February 20, 2008 at 11:22 am
ratatouille & friends

maris / February 20, 2008 at 11:40 am
Im a cook and worked in several restaurants that have rodent problems. Every week we'd call the pest control to eliminate them but it seems that they come back somehow!
300baud / February 20, 2008 at 11:48 am
The only way Toronto could take a page from Calgary's rat control book would be to move to Alberta. It has many natural advantages that make it possible to keep rats from becoming established. It's simply not possible to maintain a rat-proof perimeter around the city, even if you could somehow eliminate all the rats that are already there.

Rats have been living in cities as long as we have. It's their natural environment. Good luck, chumps.
syncros / February 20, 2008 at 12:04 pm
the toronto star published the photo from this article, unattributed, in todays paper.
kwoi / February 20, 2008 at 12:41 pm
I lived upstairs 15 yrs ago & it was infested then way b4 Dumpling House existed & no 1 did anything about it then.
Cat / February 20, 2008 at 01:01 pm
They are re-opened already.

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ratman / February 20, 2008 at 01:08 pm
Let?s hope their driving is better!!!!
Tristan / February 20, 2008 at 01:11 pm
I almost rented an apartment above that place a couple of years ago, but changed my mind when I thought about living above a restaurant/produce stand and pictured lots of tiny little rat legs running over my face while I slept at night. I now feel that my paranoia is fully justified.
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 01:39 pm
Hear hear, Robert Foerster. I've seen plenty disgusting things in "white" restaurants, too. These things are not specific to one region, one type of business (if its got a dumpster, its probably got rodents of one type or another), or one type of cuisine.

Not that that excuses anything--Dumpling House (I just typo'd and called it "Dumping House"--LOL!!!) deserved to be shut down. Period. No argument there.

But Morris, Hilda, and other assholes who have posted on this board: I ask that you stop infering that Chinese restaurants are somehow dirtier (and, by strong implication, that the Chinese themselves are somehow dirtier). Its getting old, and you know, it just ain't true.

You're probably smart enough to know better, and you deserve a good smack upside the head for spewing that kind of poisonous nonsense.
Formosa / February 20, 2008 at 01:54 pm
When I lived in China, rats would go whizzing by our feet all the time, especially in outdoor restaurants. You get used to it after a while.

Yeah, its kind of gross, but no reason to freak out or stop eating in Chinatown.

Besides, that place makes really good dumplings.

smartygirl / February 20, 2008 at 02:01 pm
gack. i used to live in that building, on the top floor, years ago. when i moved in there were (tiny) mice; i got cats and that solved the problem. i saw a rat in the neighbourhood exactly once. it was dead.

of course, that was back in the day, when kensington was overrun by stray cats. there were at least a dozen living on the back roof of the building across the alley. the cats have all since been "rescued" and adopted out, so there is no longer anything to stop the rats from taking over...

in other news, i have seen mice at mazz sushi on bloor near dovercourt.
BryGuy / February 20, 2008 at 02:07 pm
Actually in southern China grilled field rats are very tasty! But in teh south they eat anything hat moves.....yuck!
joeseph / February 20, 2008 at 02:13 pm
i think there are more rats posting on this blog than in the photo (no offense to the actual rodent). the amount of racial stereotyping and profiling above just goes to show how ignorant our some of society really is....sad. yes, no one wants to eat animal feces (well, most people), but the comments above go well beyond the discussion of eating uncontaminated food. the real problem here is the human condition
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 02:18 pm
Well said, joeseph.
Stimpy / February 20, 2008 at 02:23 pm
We found a cockroach in our soup in one of the places on Dundas once. We called the waiter over and he told us that the rest of the food would be fine b/c the soup was made at the front of the restaurant and the cockroaches only hung out there and not in the kitchen where the rest of the food was prepared.
William / February 20, 2008 at 02:30 pm
No one is saying that chinese people are genetically more disgusting or unclean. But the Chinese culture IS!! People hock all over the street, chinatown has garbage and litter all over the place, and so forth. NO WHITE AREA is like that in the modern world. Individual exceptions exist of course

Chinese immigrants and their descendents that adopt white standards of cleanliness ARE JUST AS CLEAN!! But the chinese culture is NOT, unless it is forced to change with draconian measures (like Singapore). / February 20, 2008 at 03:11 pm
ratatoulle, anybody?
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 03:13 pm
"White standards"? Wow, that's such a stupid turn of phrase that I'm almost speechless.


So you're going to tell me with a straight face that you've NEVER had food poisoning in a "white" country? You're going to tell me that you've NEVER encountered any kind of hygenic issue in a "white" country?

Better yet, maybe you could start by telling me your definition of a "white" country?

"White" standards. Wow. If that's what your argument boils down to, William, back to school with you.
Carl Markson / February 20, 2008 at 03:21 pm
I'd rather be serving the rats in the photo than some of the racist jerks in this forum.
Donny Hathaway / February 20, 2008 at 03:32 pm
If you think all restaurants are squeaky clean like your mom's kitchen, you're sadly mistaken. Rat problems are rampant everywhere. Most restaurants are smart enough to not let you see into the kitchen.

The old Moxie's at the Fairview Mall had a huge rat problem before they moved. Rats can go to pretty much anywhere they want along the subway line.
Roddy / February 20, 2008 at 04:01 pm
Actually the rats were part of the special of the day...
Karl / February 20, 2008 at 04:19 pm
Great...another wonderful gift from immigrants...
Georgia / February 20, 2008 at 04:28 pm
Maybe we should bring back the barn cat, except it'll be city cat. It's 'outdoor', there to control the rat population, but someone is assigned to give take them to vet check-ups and stuff.

It's better than rampant infestation or rat poison (which can poison curious dogs as well).

How did the rats climb onto the counter? They should have some renovation that would make it hard for the rats to climb onto the tables, where the food is.
kevin / February 20, 2008 at 04:31 pm
to all those who used to eat there and wont because of the rats...the rats have been there for a long time probably, and you enjoyed the food without knowing, just go back and keep enjoying it...check the gov .ca website about whats acceptable in food...a little shit never hurt. eat those dumplings and enjoy!
mojican / February 20, 2008 at 04:35 pm
It's hard for me to believe that the owners never realized that they have these huge rats in their restaurants.

Cleanliness should be an intrinsic value, not something you do because the government (threaten to) shut you down ...

MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 04:40 pm

OK, I'm sure you think you're hilarious with that "gift from immigrants" comment, but sorry. You're not. Stop it.
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 04:43 pm

OK, I'm sure you think you're hilarious with that "gift from immigrants" comment, but sorry. You're not. Stop it.
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 04:47 pm
Sorry for the repeat comment, folks. Not sure what happened.

Also meant to add for Georgia: the rats probably got onto the counter because, with their claws, they can climb just about anything. They're also pretty strong for creatures their size, so climbing is generally no problem for them.

If there's a food source, they'll find it.
Eakie / February 20, 2008 at 04:51 pm
I have eaten here and will continue to do so. I grew up in kitchen's as the son of a very highly regarded chef. My Ma was the head chef in many (using the absolutely ridiculous phrase I have read here) white restaruants and there is always rodent and roach problems. To call it a Chinese problem is just ridiculous.
Head a few blocks away to the very white Sneaky Dees and tell me if you dont see the rats running around constantly.

you live in a big city and this is whats going to happen.
Eakie / February 20, 2008 at 04:54 pm
...and to call say anything negative about absurd on a comic level. It's fucking Toronto....we're all immigrants...thats what makes the city so great. I am the child of immigrants and I married a Toronto girl who was the child of immigrants.

Viva Toronto and viva immigrants
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 05:02 pm
Bang-on right, Eakie. Nicely put.
Maria / February 20, 2008 at 05:02 pm
Now I am remembering this one time, about a year ago, I went to Izakaya, on Front St. East for dinner. I saw a mouse running around in the middle of the restaurant, unbothered. I called the waitress and let her know the mouse was there, she was "oh yeah, they hang around here all the time". I was shocked.
Steve / February 20, 2008 at 05:11 pm
i think people are not overcommenting about how filthy Spadina is in Chinatown - its teeming with produce garbage and liquid waste in the back alleys and flowing onto the street - Gerrard St. East is v. similar - in the summer its outrageously disgusting - why can't this be cleaned up? its not a racist comment - it's just a plain fact - these areas are really not kept up very well.
Mike / February 20, 2008 at 05:21 pm
Yes, this is the place with all the Paul Martin photos plastered on the wall.
Jill / February 20, 2008 at 05:25 pm
My husband & father delivered food to restaurants all over the GTA and I will tell you that it a WHOLE city problem. It exists in any food establishment that produces, delivers, or serves food. This includes 5 star restaurants to the little kiosk. The city is over run with rats, mice & cockroaches.

What we need is a Health Department that has more inspectors and that do a very close inspection. The Health Department has not enough inspectors to so a proper job.

I was once in a Coffee Time on Spadina & couldn't use the washrooms because the amonia smell from urine was so high. I would have rather wet my pants.

A lot of restaurant owner/management need to clean up the estabishments. Spend some money or your customers will not come back.
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 05:39 pm

You're right, of course, but its even more than a whole city problem. I have seen disgusting food establishments in cities all over the world (many of them far, far worse than anything I have seen in Toronto). Its an urban problem, not a Toronto problem.

As I said earlier, that's no excuse for inaction, but it does provide a bit of context.

But you're right--every establishment from the 5-star hotels right down to the ma-and-pa fruit stands has some kind of pest problem.
Alex / February 20, 2008 at 05:40 pm
It is the year of the rat, after all. Jill is right. I used to work for the city in a councilor's office and we could not get dependable access to an inspector when someone called in a complaint. Public Health needs way more staff if they are going to keep a close eye on all the food service establishments in the city. We have to be willing to pay more people to do this; if not, we just accept the reality we see above. Cheese sauce, anyone?
MulletDude / February 20, 2008 at 05:50 pm
Alex, I agree, but I think we also have to recognize that there is no perfect system. No matter how many inspectors we hire, something like this will always happen. Stuff will always get missed and slip through. Inspectors will always make mistakes. There will always be restaurant owners who are somehow able to get away with unbelieveably disgusting conditions.

On top of that, rats (and mice and roaches...) are EXPERTS at survival, and are just about impossible to eradicate completely.

That doesn't mean we give up and cede the field to the rats, of course. But we do have to be realistic--the best we can ever do is minimize and control. The rats aren't going to go away.

Timmys / February 20, 2008 at 07:48 pm
If one day you find that the stain on your timmy's coffee cup cover is rat's urine, would you swear not to step into a timmy's again??
You can see rats playing around probably because the Chinese biz put the ingredients all over the place.
The non-Chinese biz usually put their stuff orderly, in places you're not allowed to go in, let alone see. Except the rats have a free pass.

Peter / February 20, 2008 at 08:57 pm
Those aren't rats, they're food critics.
Richard / February 20, 2008 at 09:29 pm
Timmys states: "If one day you find that the stain on your timmy's coffee cup cover is rat's urine, would you swear not to step into a timmy's again??"

YES! I don't care what kind of restaurant it is: if there are rodent feces, rodent urine or anything of the sort I would stay away! Tim Horton's, Chinese restaurant, Yorkville restaurant, anywhere. It's simply a matter of protecting my health.
Luke / February 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm
Here's a weird coincidence: ads have been airing on TV recently. Check out's #7 TV spot. At the very end of the video, behind a "" sign, is the dumpling house.
Georgia / February 20, 2008 at 10:27 pm
At this point, I should probably also say, that my first reaction to seeing the photo before realising where the rats were, was 'awwww'.

I'm one of those people who'll like rats as pets. I couldn't afford to, because those little rodents are EXPENSIVE to keep healthy, it's considered an exotic by vets. Rats need really big cages, multi-level, and some owners compromise, and or in addition to big cages, by giving them a 'free ranging' time, for which they must 'rat proof' their homes. Nothing that the rats can hurt themselves on, and /nothing that the rats can damage within reach/.

Rats, insects, etc, fact of life. Infestation is a problem when they've acquired enough number to become /visible/ and bold, so yes, we do have to treat the problem. I wouldn't be bothered by the sight of the odd scurrying rat though, IF, I can be assured that they couldn't climb onto the counter where the food is.

Rats can chew through solid wood corners, plaster, everything they can bite into and wrap their teeth around, they've wore down wire cages. ...but if the cupboards were metal, or at least sheeted as such on the outside, with nothing for the rats to grab onto, well, they won't be able to get up to where the food is eh?
SPM / February 21, 2008 at 12:48 am
No offence meant at all, but my friends and I have observed that Chinese restaurants are not the most ideal when it comes to hygiene and sanitation.
Glen / February 21, 2008 at 06:38 am
there are two dumpling houses this aint the the good 1 is it??? near dundas it dont look like it...
MulletDude / February 21, 2008 at 07:13 am

Not necessarily. If the counter is anywhere near a wall or a sink or furniture...they'll find a way to climb up to where the food is.

And I swear to God I have seen rats stand on each other's shoulders. :-)
Jenn / February 21, 2008 at 09:25 am
Will never eat there again depsite the satisfactory passing. The manager obviously knew about it becuase he kept the restaurant open until health inspection came in.

spookzilla / February 21, 2008 at 09:43 am
I heard on Tuesday that the restaurant had reopened.
dnm / February 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm
I'm sitting at my computer at work eating my dumpling house dumplings right now. They've reopened, they're clean, and some of you need to learn to read. HE HAD NO IDEA until the health people showed up. The owner of that place is a great guy, it's a great place, and if you genuinely believe your 'white' restaurants are better, you're also an idiot.
dnm / February 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm
I'm sitting at my computer at work eating my dumpling house dumplings right now. They've reopened, they're clean, and some of you need to learn to read. HE HAD NO IDEA until the health people showed up. The owner of that place is a great guy, it's a great place, and if you genuinely believe your 'white' restaurants are better, you're also an idiot.
foodie / February 21, 2008 at 01:26 pm
I have worked in restaurants all over the city and I hate to say it, but they all had, at one time or another, a rat or roach problem (or both). This includes a fine dining restaurant in Yorkville.
adam / February 21, 2008 at 03:12 pm
the chinese are a dirty, disgusting, greasy lot when it comes to food. They EAT rats as well so this is not upsetting to them. They boil those little fuckers to get all the hair off and eat em up. yum.
adam / February 21, 2008 at 03:14 pm
With regards to health and safety issues the Chinese are a real disgusting lot. To them this isn't a big deal because in China they actually EAT rat. They boil the vermin first to get the hair off then they are skewered and bbqd over some toxic sludge wastewater. mmmmm
Izzy Rubenowitz / February 21, 2008 at 03:15 pm
seems to me that the real issue is slack assed restaurant owners who will do anything to cut corners and make a buck.

I cant help but feel a lot of this has to do with cultural practices. Newcomers from china dont know much about prorper food handling and cleanliness. More educatation is needed.

Chinatown on jarvis, and chinatown east are both pretty dirty.
Timmy / February 21, 2008 at 06:31 pm
Richard, if you do that, pretty soon you'll have to eat at home!

Chances are, we gradually become complacent, being influenced by media and marketing as well as your peers, and then forget about it...
Jose Pablos / February 21, 2008 at 09:41 pm
This is nothing more than the result of an open door immigration policy that allows anybody and thier dog ( or rats ) to settle in our borders. We have only ourselves and our politicians to blame.
M / February 21, 2008 at 09:51 pm
This is sadness. I eat at the Dumpling House quite regularly for lunch. I've always liked their hot and sour soup and pan-fried dumplings. Fear!
Whitey Ford / February 21, 2008 at 10:42 pm
No offence meant at all, but my friends and I have observed that lots of white restaurants are not the most ideal when it comes to hygiene and sanitation. I was at a German place and the place was filthy and dirty with smelly Germans everywhere, I seriously think they don't bathe. A Portuguese place I went to also stunk of fish and urine recently.
Jonathan / February 22, 2008 at 09:40 am
I wonder if people will forget this as quickly as how the Dominion Stores warehouse was shut down for an extreme rat infestation only about two months ago.
dnm / February 22, 2008 at 01:13 pm
Those of you blaming this on immigrants are fucking idiots, and you are the ones who need to get the fuck out of this country because you simply don't deserve to be here.

Tim / February 22, 2008 at 06:16 pm
We're going to close the comments on this thread as some are totally offensive if not racist.
Commenting has been disabled on this post.
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