The top 10 regional Chinese restaurants in Toronto
The top regional Chinese restaurants in Toronto just go to show how much love this city has for Chinese food. Not only do we have the Chinese chains prevalent in most major cities, we’ve also got styles from different regions plus crossover cuisine-types – aren't we lucky.
Here are the my picks for the top regional Chinese restaurants in Toronto.
The birthplace of dim sum, Guangzhou – or Canton in the old days – is also where most mainstream Chinese flavours originate from (think black bean sauce and roast duck). Rol San in Chinatown does both, with all-day dim sum plus a menu of pretty affordable Canto favourites.
Food from Sichuan province is known to be full of spices, peppers, and a little on the oily side – a must for people who like their Chinese food with a kick. Head to Sichuan Garden in Chinatown for a big menu of spicy meals like hot dan dan noodles and sliced beef.
You’d never expect amazing food from an old folks’ home, but Vintage Garden in Scarborough is one of those rare finds. Formerly a private restaurant for the elderly, this spot is now open to the public, serving meals from Chaoshan region with a mix of veggie and seafood dishes.
Home to many ethnic groups and a large population of Muslim Chinese, food from this region is full of things you’d see in Middle Eastern cuisine but with a Chinese twist. Chinese Halal at Finch and Leslie is the place to go for if you’re looking for a selection of lamb and mutton.
Dumplings – enough said. Scarborough mainstay The Dumpling King is a quaint spot that folds incredibly juicy dumplings that will make you feel like you’re in Beijing, best paired with Northern favourites like green onion pancakes and saucy fried noodles.
Food from this province has a lot of complex flavours but is usually pickled or preserved, like drunken chicken and red braised pork. Of course you can’t forget xialongbao – small steamed buns filled with soup. For those, head to Ding Tai Fung at First Markham Place.
Hong Kong's menu is full of British-inspired dishes leftover from Colonial times. Phoenix Cafe by Yonge and Dundas is the spot for those fusion foods like cheesy baked spaghettis and french toasts, served with the epitome of Canto-Western creations: Hong Kong milk tea.
This island just off the coast of China has a menu inspired by all its surrounding countries, but Chinese food is arguably its biggest influence. Wei’s Taiwanese in Scarborough serves up the night market specialties Taiwan is best known for: stinky tofu and popcorn chicken.
Combine two of the tastiest cuisines ever – Chinese and Indian – and you get Hakka. Though the original diet is more veggie-based, the Indian-dominant version we know best can be found at Chung Moi by Eglinton and Kennedy with meaty dishes like chilli chicken.
Sweet and sour chicken is a North American-Chinese invention, but that doesn’t make it any less Chinese. If, however, you’re trying to expand from the basics, head to R&D in Chinatown for modern inventions like venison chili spring rolls and satay mac and cheese.
Jesse Milns at R&D
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