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Eat & Drink

The top 10 cheap Chinese restaurants in Markham and Richmond Hill

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo / March 11, 2014

Cheap chinese restaurantsThe 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.

Here are the top cheap Chinese restaurants in Markham and Richmond Hill.

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 Restaurant
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.

Papa Chang's
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
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.

Writing by Darren "DKLo" Susilo. He hangs out on the twitter and his own mansion. Photo of the Tomato Pork Chop Baked Rice at Phoenix Restaurant by Stephen Chung.



vincent / March 11, 2014 at 06:02 am
Where's the love for Richmond Court?
liz lemon / March 11, 2014 at 08:59 am
Richmond Court is super gross, dude.

And Phoenix is pretty bleh too.
kioch / March 11, 2014 at 08:59 am
I also like Asian Legend!
Lipsy / March 11, 2014 at 11:24 am
Papa Chang's is sooo delicious and affordable! It's like Taiwanese Night Market food without the long lineup and with seats :) I wish I didn't have to drive so far to get up there.

Phoenix is pretty reliable for quick, good meal but lineups can be pretty crazy during weekend lunch hour.
DKLo / March 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm
While I actually like Richmond Court (and love Asian Legend), they're not exactly super-cheap. The list here comprises what I consider to be super-cheap (comfortable less than $25 or so for a meal for two) but still super-good :)
where / March 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm
Where on earth are these places...
vincent replying to a comment from where / March 11, 2014 at 02:38 pm
Chinatown North!
Charles Lamb / March 11, 2014 at 02:52 pm
Darren, can you tell us which restaurant that baked pork chop on rice is from?
DKLo replying to a comment from Charles Lamb / March 11, 2014 at 02:58 pm
check out the caption at the end of the article - Photo of the Tomato Pork Chop Baked Rice at Phoenix Restaurant :)
?? replying to a comment from vincent / March 11, 2014 at 04:16 pm
I thought that was considered Little Korea on Bloor?
chenyip / March 11, 2014 at 04:36 pm
Richmond Court blows. What I would give to have a Congee Queen, King or Wong downtown. Fuckkkkkk.
Charles Lamb replying to a comment from DKLo / March 11, 2014 at 04:48 pm
Oops! missed that. Thanks!
maryquitecontrary replying to a comment from ?? / March 11, 2014 at 05:32 pm
How would Chinatown North be about little Korea on Bloor?

You know they're different countries, right?
McFatty / March 11, 2014 at 08:02 pm
Phoenix has the best haianain chicken in toronto? HAHAHAHA YEAH RIGHT.
Jason / March 12, 2014 at 11:23 am
Laidoh Restaurant in Splendid China Tower @ Kennedy and Steeles is really good for decent quality at a good price!
Service is not the greatest but not terrible.. The staff are friendly!
Food is worth it though.

I don't think Phoenix is "cheap".. Its good but not Cheap.
FYH / March 12, 2014 at 04:05 pm
The Hainan chicken at Phoenix is actually pretty bad. For Hainan chicken, you're much better off going to Hong Far Cafe at 7.99 with a drink included. It's one of the best Hainan Chicken's in the GTA

The only other place that has Hainan chicken that can rival Hung Far is probably White Orchid at 360 Hwy 7 Unit 5. You won't be able to get it for 7.99 but still worth going.

MTCF / March 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm
Phoenix has such bad customer service, and their pricing is definitely not what I would call cheap.
vincejai / March 13, 2014 at 09:46 pm
steam kitchen @ chalmers gate: lunch special 5.99 for food and drink.
jj / March 14, 2014 at 04:02 pm
How is Chinese dumpling house not on here??

T&T food court? seriously?
Kristy / October 18, 2014 at 06:41 pm
It's actually not the CHEAPEST places. There's others that are cheaper.
Jim replying to a comment from where / October 18, 2014 at 07:08 pm
These places are in Chinatown north. Ooops, I mean Chinatown south. Nope. I mean Chinatown east. Oh wrong again. Chinatown west. Damn. I get so confused when I hear Chinatown 'cause it seems like every other corner in Toronto. Don't worry though because the foods disgusting no matter where you go.
Joanne / October 18, 2014 at 07:22 pm
Sunny Bay restaurant is cheap and good!
Karen / October 18, 2014 at 08:14 pm
How can you miss New City restaurant at Kennedy and Hwy 7.....
portions are big for the price you pay
Karen / October 18, 2014 at 08:15 pm
Papa Chang is probably better off for take out. Not much space for sitting down especially during rush hour.
Irene / October 22, 2014 at 08:15 am
toronto North is missing good Korean food in which is heavenly in little Korea on Bloor. Please advise if I missed any good Korean restaurants in Richmond hill

Caroline Danvers / April 10, 2015 at 08:23 pm
Thanks for the great food tips Darren, I am going to have to try each of these places. It is so hard to get people to agree on what is "the best" any kind of food, but especially Asian food. I have gone to restaurants that my friends rave about and had really bad experiences, and gone to places with poor reviews and had great experiences. I usually read the reviews, but I still always try to go with an open mind. I also always try to get similar dishes at each place so that I can get as close as I can to comparing "apples to apples". I will definitely work my way through your list as I travel around though, so thanks again!
Angus / August 2, 2015 at 10:46 pm
Xinjiang restaurant at Metro Square (Warden n Steeles ave) in Markham was so heavenly. Their nice 'lamb' dishes was top notch. It was the best mainland restaurant in the city.
Aaron / August 3, 2015 at 02:55 am
Why is Tangerine even on here? Also Phoenix is not cheap and very bad quality... I'd include Chinese Dumpling House and Magic Noodles on here, especially since the latter place is open 24/7.
Tony / November 15, 2015 at 12:54 am
Phoenix’s chicken rice is quite poor (White Orchid and Hong Far’s versions are not much better). Having grown up eating ‘Hainanese chicken rice’ in Singapore – including at the original Swee Kee restaurant that transformed, pioneered and popularized this Singaporean dish – I consider the best Hainanese chicken rice in Toronto/GTA to be Lion City restaurant in Mississauga. There are certain nuances in Singapore-style chicken rice, as suggested in these links, missing from Phoenix and other GTA restaurants:

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, John's BBQ Chinese Restaurants, Bayview Kitchen, etc. have relatively inexpensive dishes on their menu. For example, for $10 you can have a delicious plate of char siu and duck lomein at John’s BBQ.
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