Dagu Rice Noodle
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Dagu Rice Noodle is a Chinese restaurant that does rice noodles like nobody's business. This location, just steps away from Bay and Dundas, has been totally transformed from its previous incarnation as a Bareburger
Expect crowds. The chain has over 400 locations across China and is extremely popular.
The base broth for their noodles is meticulously prepared daily and is the key to what they do.
I'm told Dagu uses about 100 lbs of pork bones to make each barrel of these soups.
The house special is the Signature Rice Noodle Soup with Braised Bone-in Pork ($9.99). The rice noodles by themselves are chewy if unexciting, but comes alive when served within the signature broth.
The chicken-based soup has a savoury rich stock with light herb-like hints. A beef variant ($13.99) is also available daily in limited supply.
For something a bit more unique, the Pickled Cabbage Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Slices ($10.99) is a winner. This soup has a sour flavour profile but in a good way that doesn't overwhelm.
You can also get the rice noodles in a style called “Crossing the Bridge”, where the hot broth is served separately from the ingredients which come in a nice bento-like tray.
Eating becomes more interactive as you quickly combine the ingredients with the noodles and broth.
The Spicy Flavoured Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles ($9.99) is perhaps best described as a less oily version of a spicy hot pot broth. The spice level here is rather mild, so the whole experience is enjoyable rather than torturous. I added some extra lamb slices for $2.99.
No meal is complete without a smattering of side dishes. My favourite here is the Sliced Beef and Ox Tongue in Szechuan Chili Sauce ($6.99). It’s very flavourful, and nowhere near as spicy as it may look.
There's also the Salty Crispy Chicken ($6.99), essentially their version of Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken.
The Brown Sugar Sticky Rice ($3.50) reminds me of a Korean rice cake coated in brown sugar.
I love the Deep-Fried Pumpkin Pancake with Red Bean Paste ($3.50) which envelops a sweet red bean paste filling with a pumpkin dough that is then deep-fried.
To drink there's refreshing Super Fruit Tea ($6.00) which is made with a range of fruits like watermelon and lemon and tastes like a lightly sweet tea. Or try the Cheese Strawberry ($5.50) which strikes a balance between cheesy and fruity flavours.