Federick Restaurant (Markham)
Federick is one of the pioneers of Indian-style (Hakka) Chinese cuisine in Toronto. Found in Scarborough and here, on a street named New Delhi Drive in Markham, the restaurant does a brisk take-out and dine-in business and is known as something of a shrine for those who seek out Hakka food.
Inside, the space is large, welcoming and modern.
The Combo Pakoras ($11.50) are a good place to start. The order comes with three varieties: chicken, shrimp, and vegetable, the latter of which is the big winner. The flavours of potato, broccoli, and carrots really shine through the thick fried chickpea batter.
The best-seller here is the Chili Chicken ($8.99) and it's easy to see why. Lightly spicy without being overwhelming, the meat is tender with bold flavours. Make sure to order the all-dark meat version for maximum juiciness.
The Manchurian Fish ($8.99) is also delicious. Nicely battered with a generous coating of reddish sauce, the flavours are a tad subtle, providing a nice contrast to the rest of the dishes, while the smooth flaky feel of the fish is a winner. The parsley leafs provide a nice textural and visual contrast.
The Kan Shue Green Beans ($7.50) are a bit of a mixed bag. Fragrant and well-seasoned, they're sort of like si ji dou (Four Seasons Beans), a popular dish in many conventional Chinese restaurants. Federick's version seems missing a certain depth of flavour - probably because it doesn't come with pork (understandable since the restaurant is Halal.)
The Manchurian Mixed Chow Mein ($8.75) is a gargantuan carb-heavy feast that's rich in both colours and flavours. The noodles are served al dente, a nice contrast from the softer ones you get at most Chinese establishments, while the beef and shrimp complement the dish nicely.
Another absolute must-order is the wonderfully named Federick's Delicious Garlic Shrimp ($12.75). It arrives in a sizzling hot plate with succulent jumbo shrimps coated in a slightly sweet and garlicky sauce.
For dessert, there's Deep Fried Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream ($4) - an interesting take on the commonly-found deep fried banana. This decadent dish features a wonderfully substantial batter, which offsets the rather tart pineapple.