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Restaurants

Home of Hot Taste

Posted by Simon Yau / Reviewed on March 31, 2011 / review policy

Home of Hot TasteHome of Hot Taste is one of the few restaurants in the GTA where you can score Korean style fried chicken. With a lighter batter, whole chickens and your choice of plain or sauced options, Korean Fried Chicken is a great twist on a beloved and traditional comfort food. It was also a bit of a foodie trend not too long ago.

Located in a strip mall on Yonge Street just a shade north of Steeles, Home of Hot Taste actually sits right across from the uptown location of Ajuker Fried Chicken. These two franchises combine for a virtual monopoly on K(orean)FC in Toronto, and each of these storefronts have a downtown doppelgänger.

Unlike Ajuker's takeout focused approach, Home of Hot Taste is a full-on restaurant and popular watering hole. Walking into the mid-sized space, there are no frills worthy of mention. The decor is chintzy, the lighting is dim and the booze is both cheap and ubiquitous. Unsurprisingly, the joint is full of young people imbibing in $3 domestic bottles of beer, so you may not want to bring your mom here for her birthday. That is, unless she's craving Korean fried chicken.

Ostensibly, the signature dish at Home of Hot Taste is their "blazing chicken", which is a skillet of braised boneless chicken slathered in a kimchi based hot-sauce. The menu also offers typical traditional Korean fare like dak galbi (stir fried rice cakes), pork bone soup and kimchi fried rice. On this night however I am focused and single minded; I'm here for fried chicken and cheap beer. Nothing more, nothing less.

The complimentary banchan consists of a simple iceberg lettuce salad and some pickled daikon radish. Nothing to write home about, but we aren't here for vegetables (in fact, the menu barely has any) so the stingy appetizers can be overlooked.

Home Of Hot Taste MarkhamOur order of a whole plain fried chicken ($16) arrives cut into roughly equal sized morsels and accompanied by a dipping powder that tastes mostly of salt, white pepper and monosodium glutamate. The battered chicken has a thin, crispy skin that is surprisingly light. Unlike the heavy exterior of most traditional southern style fried chicken, this Korean variant is delightfully flakey.

The batter itself is very lightly seasoned, allowing you to actually taste the chicken. The poultry is cooked perfectly, moist and tender regardless of white or dark meat. Moreover, our serving does in fact seem like a full-butchered chicken; there are no repeat pieces, leading me to believe the birds may actually be prepared in house. All that matters really though is that every single piece is delectable. A sprinkle of the powdered salt accoutrement takes the indulgence of each bite up an entire notch.

Home Of Hot TasteAdditionally, we order half a spicy crispy chicken ($10). Basically this is the same dish as the plain option, but tossed in a sweet and spicy glaze right before serving and topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The chicken retains the best qualities of the plain flavour, most importantly a crunchy skin despite being covered in a sauce that resembles sweet Thai chili buffalo wings. The crunchiness of the batter inevitably softens up as the meal drags on, but if you eat it fast enough this is some of the best sauced fried chicken you'll get in the city.

If you want great Korean food, there are plenty of superior options. If you want fried chicken however, Home of Hot Taste will satisfy every craving. Plus, it doesn't give you that sick feeling afterwards in the pit of your stomach that feels like grease mingled with bad decisions.

Also, did I mention $3 beer?

Home Of Hot Taste Toronto

Discussion

24 Comments

Sweehoneybee / April 1, 2011 at 08:56 am
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This place has really good " cheese bul dak" which is spicy grilled chicken with melted cheese on top.:) It's very spicy so when I go I usually order " Ju muk bab" Which is literally "fist rice, where rice with seseme oil and dried wakame sheets come on a small bowl and you use your hand to make a rice ball and eat it. (You also get a gloves to do this) I love this place :) You can also find 2nd restaurant on 2blocks south of Yonge and Bloor beside country style.
Sweehoneybee / April 1, 2011 at 09:01 am
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If you like Korean style chicken (pics above in this posting... and don't have a car) there is similar restaurant called "KOKOYA" on 1 block south of Yonge and Finch. I also love this place!! you should try it. (5515 Yonge St )
John / April 1, 2011 at 09:07 am
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Markham?

Nice April fool's day joke.
EM / April 1, 2011 at 09:15 am
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Thanks for the tip on Kokoya. I'm interested in trying KFC, but no car.
TWIGBy / April 1, 2011 at 09:37 am
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In before Jameson makes a blog markham comment and how a New York mag wouldn't talk about something happening in Jersey
Tony / April 1, 2011 at 10:25 am
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Thanks for the review. I like reading BlogTo, but couldn't try most restaurants from review since they are in downtown area. I though Korean only has spicy hot pot with pork and kimchi. I will try the fried chicken next time.
jason / April 1, 2011 at 11:19 am
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Mar...kham? What is this place you speak of.
John replying to a comment from TWIGBy / April 1, 2011 at 11:44 am
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English please.
Karen / April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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Does anyone know what the hours are for this place?
Karen / April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm
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Also, just a note....this is not Markham but Thornhill
Seishin / April 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm
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A shame about the MSG. Otherwise I'd be ALL OVER this place.
mrblack / April 1, 2011 at 01:03 pm
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too bad it's almost certainly made with mutant factory farmed 'chicken'
Simon replying to a comment from Seishin / April 1, 2011 at 01:40 pm
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Actually, as you see in the pics, the salt comes on the side so you don't have to eat it. Plus that's only for the plain flavour, sauced versions come as they are.
Burbaphobe / April 1, 2011 at 01:52 pm
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OH NO! It's in Markham, meaning I have to take a car. But I don't have a car, meaning I have to take public transit, and in the suburbs only the poor and coloured people take public transit!
Steve / April 1, 2011 at 02:12 pm
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Form Lounge on Bloor just west of Bathurst has been doing this for years! It's so good there! Sweet and spicy. I've had the chicken from this restaurant and it wasn't bad. Trust me go to Form Lounge!
izzy / April 1, 2011 at 02:53 pm
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Yes this is actually Thornhill Not Markham
EveryonesOpinion / April 1, 2011 at 03:02 pm
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To those that don't know ... Thornhill as a city doesn't really exist. It's actually split between Markham & Vaughn.
LOLO SAPUTO replying to a comment from izzy / April 1, 2011 at 03:21 pm
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Yo Izzy, Thornhill is split between Markham and Vaughan so it's in the right location. And, for those of you without a car, you can take the Viva Bus, it stops at Clark.
StevieC / April 1, 2011 at 09:24 pm
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For all the peeps that don't have a car, there's a second location on the west side of Yonge Street just south of the Bloor.
Izzy / April 2, 2011 at 03:14 am
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ok so its vaughan/thornhill but its definitely not MARKHAM!!!
Jane / April 2, 2011 at 11:32 am
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FYI most of the best Asian restaurants are in the GTA in places like Markham and Scarborough. Not in downtown Toronto!
Eva / April 4, 2011 at 09:21 am
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Ended up going to this place on the day this article was published. It delivers what it promises: excellent fried chicken, made yummier with pinches of dipping powder applied to taste, and cheap domestic beer. Thanks for the review, Simon, will definitely be going back soon.
itchyone / November 16, 2011 at 04:17 pm
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DAYUM ... thats all I got to say about their fried chicken. I've tried their hot spicy chicken, the stuff with cheese, etc ... but I got to say you HAVE TO HAVE their fried chicken (if you're a fried chicken lover). Forget about KFC or Popeyes. You'll get a nice juicy full chicken cut into small pieces, with some seasoning salt/pepper. Get a large order for about $15. Also try their fried rice ... can't remember what its called, but its fun mixing it with a glove they give u. Just LOVE this place, but its more of a late night drinking/snacking place for my friends and I. Open til 2am .. closed on Sundays I think.
karl / May 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm
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Some of the best Asian food is to be found in the 'burbs. Deal with it. As economist Tyler Cowen notes you'll find the best asian food in strip malls in the burbs. Asians immigrate to areas with good school for their kids. Those tend to be the burbs.

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