The top 10 cheap Chinese restaurants in Markham and Richmond Hill
The top cheap Chinese restaurants in Markham and Richmond Hill are an extremely diverse bunch. The two towns (sorry, one town and one city) have long been known by purists to be the mecca of excellent Chinese food. From Canto-Western, Indian-style Hakka, Taiwanese, to traditional Cantonese restaurants, the varieties of excellent Chinese food in the region resemble something out of a United Colors of Benetton catalogue.
Jim Chai Kee
You can't have a list involving cheap Chinese food and not include Jim Chai Kee, unarguably THE king of delicious oversized wontons the size of tennis balls. A satisfying meal for two consisting of shrimp wonton noodles with a side of vegetables is pretty much the only thing you can get here, but at comfortably under $15 (that's including taxes, people) and a service speedier than Taylor Swift's average relationship length, it's pretty hard to beat this place.
Hohomi Rice and Noodle House
Located geographically smack-dab in the centre of Markham, this newcomer to the Chinese-Vietnamese fusion restaurant scene is something of a fast-rising contender to the heavyweight title of cheap Chinese restaurants. They have an insanely cheap $6.95 lunch special menu (try their delicious Hohomi chicken wings or the golden curry chicken) as well as an even-crazier $7.95 dinner special menu (featuring a staggering 27 distinct menu items including the delicious spicy green chilli chicken). Winner.
Phoenix serves up mouth-wateringly delicious Canto-Western dishes along with what I consider to be the best Hainanese chicken rice in Toronto ($8.35). I also love that they have so many items on offer that their menu is pretty much book-sized. Their various baked rice dishes, a staple in HK-style Western restaurants, are all delicious and a dinner for two including their famous Napoleon black sesame ice cream will cost you only around $25 after taxes.
Tucked into a nondescript plaza and featuring one of the oddest seating arrangements in a restaurant (it really feels like you're just sitting in a small warehouse space), Papa Chang's is always full of patrons munching down on their cheap but delicious Taiwanese specialties such as the crispy popcorn chicken which can be ordered in a bento box combo with spring rolls, veggies, and rice for only $6.99. Another good option here is the signature Taiwanese beef noodle soup ($5.99). Add a side order of skewer fried fish ($4.49) and you'll have a satisfying meal for two for under $20.
Congee Queen has new locations popping up everywhere (or it at least feels that way). The restaurant chain offers plenty of reasonably-priced dishes such as a massive plate of Cantonese fried noodles ($10.25) but the unbeatable value lies in their lunch specials where you can scoop up a delicious (if a tad oily) roast duck rice ($7.25) or a BBQ pork rice ($6.75). Service can be a bit hurried but that's only because there's likely a long line of would-be customers waiting for your table.
Yuan Yuan Restaurant
A branch of the Scarborough location, this relatively new restaurant is located inside the wonderfully obscure Richlane Mall. It specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine so expect a lot of noodles and buns. Their lunch special is where it's at with dozens of dishes to choose from (all at $6.99). The best part is that their so-called lunch period extends to 6pm which means a cheap dinner too if you eat early enough. The spicy Szechuan Dan Dan noodles and the smoked pork wrap are two of the items to get here.
Tangerine Asian Cuisine (7690 Markham Road, Unit 4C, Markham)
This popular Indian-style Hakka restaurant chain is one of the best places to chow down in Markham. The lunch selections are diverse and start from as low as $5.95 for a plate of chicken Hakka noodles or the still-ridiculously cheap $6.95 for their delicious crispy ginger beef. There are also locations in Scarborough and Whitby too.
Kum Hong BBQ
This is one of THE places to go when craving simple, unhealthy, yet delicious old-school Cantonese BBQ pork or roast pork on rice. Payment is cash-only and the dining area mostly consists of stools (making this more of a takeout joint) but the long lineups during mealtimes are proof they're doing something right. You can't really go wrong forking out $5.50 for two kinds of delicious meat and rice. Sometimes squid is available but I'd suggest sticking to the pork and duck. Simplicity is the way to do it here.
Hong Far Cafe
While it calls itself a cha chaan teng, Hong Far's dining options really makes it more like a full Chinese restaurant. At first glance it doesn't look like much with the usual tacky multicoloured papers filled with various menu specials adorning the walls and well-worn menu booklets but, man, is the food here good AND cheap. Daily specials (available throughout the day) will set you back only $6.25. Go for the deep fried pork chop with spicy salt on rice or the well-sized Yeung Chow fried rice.
T&T Food Court
Fans of the T&T supermarket chain will know it's always a sure bet for a range of budget-priced meals ranging from crispy fried fish to beancurd rolls ($3.99 for small and $7.99 for large). Keep an eye out for the special of the day where the large size portion of the dish can be yours for only $5.99. Be sure to check out the dim sum counter too.
What did I miss? Add your Richmond Hill and Markham cheap eat picks in the comments below.