Seafood City Scarborough
Seafood City Scarborough is a Filipino supermarket that stocks grocery essentials including fresh seafood, meat and produce, and even has a three-vendor food court and bakery in its store.
This is the fifth grocery store of its kind in Canada and only the second in the province, with the other Mississauga location drawing long lineups after opening back in 2017.
There are also a good 27 locations across the U.S., including in Chicago, Hawaii, Seattle, and California where the supermarket chain – that's now reached somewhat of a community hub status – got its start in 1989.
Just like at all of the other stores, the Scarborough location features a large food court where shoppers queue up at one of the three food counters to place an order before snagging a table in the central dining section.
The cooking style changes from restaurant to restaurant with most everything including freshly skewered meat and giant squid seared and barbecued in clear eyeshot of customers in line at Grill City.
BBQ pork and chicken skewers can be ordered in whatever quantity you fancy from individual to party packs of 100 and are covered in a sweet in-house basting sauce that remains consistent across all locations.
Grilled squid (two for $20.99) comes at an impressive size, stuffed with seasoned tomatoes and onions.
Any of the grilled meat and seafood options can be ordered as an entree served with a side of rice and pickled green papaya. There is also a good variety of noodles and veggie stir fry kept warm under heat lamps.
Pancit ($6.99) made with vermicelli rice noodles can come with stripes of golden brown pork belly ($8.99 extra).
Speaking of pork belly, you'll find plenty more of that over at Crispy Town, right alongside fried chicken, breaded calamari, crispy smelt and even more seafood options.
Arroz Caldo ($9.50) is one of the noodle dishes at the third restaurant in the food court: Noodle Street. Comfort in a bowl, this Filipino-style rice congee has chicken and tofu as its protein. Plus, pork belly and more tofu in the side salad.
Drink offerings are the same across all three restaurants. Melon or sweetened cantaloupe juice ($2.99) tastes true to the fruit and has lots of shredded melon pieces to scoop up once you're done sipping.
The Pinoy street food stand, just to the left of the food court, offers even more sweet and savoury snacks.
Kwek Kwek ($2.50) is a favourite, made of hard-boiled quail eggs covered in an orange batter and deep fried. A sweet and sour sauce gets drizzled over the crispy balls.
Of the sweeter variety is banana polecat ($2.99), with banana and jack fruit rolled in a thin layer of pastry paper and pan fried. Good luck trying to find them in the same gigantic size elsewhere.
Missing from the Mississauga location is Bakers Avenue. This bakery that pumps out fresh made loaves of bread, pastries and cakes daily takes up yet another full section of the 40,000-square-foot store.
The fluffy loaf infused with ube ($5.50), also known as purple yam, for both a pop of colour and flavour is among the best-sellers.
Cake flavours include ube custard, caramel custard, yema, uba yema, chocolate and their very own layered cake, Sans Rival. Get one, or several, by the slice ($5.99) or full cake ($29.99 to $39.99).
Over at the seafood section, you can bring your fish of choice to the counter to be cleaned and fried free of charge so that you don't have to worry about preparing it yourself.
Pangasinan bangus, herring, golden pompano, mackerel, tilapia and white shrimp are some of the options in the fish market.
The meat department offers cuts like pork belly with rib and beef shank that are geared toward Filipino dishes, sourced locally and shipped twice weekly.
An aisle I'd spend most of my time in is the one filled top to bottom with Filipino, as well as a few Asian, packaged treats. Candies, cookies, crackers and chips, there are more than enough otherwise hard-to-find sweet and salty snacks to choose from.
Ice cream comes in Filipino flavours like ube and halo halo with a mix of fruit and sweet beans (around $13).
When it comes to beauty products, facial masks are offered in more than just your run-of-the-mill sheets. Look like a dragon or an otter ($21.99) while moisturizing.
Near the entrance, mugs and travel cups with Filipino quips and phrases can commemorate your visit.