Northern Chinese Cuisine
Northern Chinese Cuisine in Little Italy serves up authentic northern Chinese cuisine. It's a simple and humble restaurant easily labeled as a local go-to but there's no reason this can't be a bit of a destination in its down right.
Owner and head chef Jack Zi brings over 30 years of experience to the restaurant and has infused the menu with many authentic and unique dishes from his hometown of Shijiazhuang in China's Hebei province .
Northern Chinese cuisine is very wheat-based, so I order some Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Dumplings, Shredded Pancake, and Beef Roll ($7.99 for each dish). The dumplings are essentially just potstickers, albeit the juiciest ones I've had in a long time. I especially love the slight burn around the edges, which crisps up the texture a tad.
The beef roll has a sweet sauce reminiscent of a Peking Duck hoisin sauce inside.
The shredded pancake is a Hebei specialty and as far I know impossible to find elsewhere in Toronto. I would describe it as a julienned chewy fried pancake, mixed with pork and bean sprouts. It's even better with a drizzling of the restaurant's homemade chili oil. It's a must-try.
The Northern Style Spicy Chicken ($5.99) is a cold dish of seasoned boiled chicken dunked in spicy marinated oil. It's a fantastic light accompaniment to any meal and its sauce goes well with the potstickers too.
The Fried Chili Bone-In Chicken ($13.99) is simply the best Chinese fried chicken I've ever had. The batter, though a bit oily, is perfectly crunchy. The meat is tender and the combination of spices and salt is just right.
The delicious Spicy Boiled Sliced Beef ($13.99) is essentially a form of shuizhu - the beef is so tender and the broth should be drizzled on a bed of warm steamed rice. Just make sure not to drink it directly as it's mostly oil-based.