Shi Miaodao Toronto
Shi Miaodao is a Chinese chain specializing in Yunnan-style rice noodles soups in the heart of Chinatown.
Marking the first Toronto location of the brand with hundreds of locations across China, the franchise takes over the old home of Jackpot Chicken Rice.
This clean and well-designed restaurant, whose name loosely translates to "ready in 10 seconds" from Mandarin, has a menu of of soups eaten in a DIY-style sometimes referred to as "crossing the bridge" noodles.
The eating technique includes mixing the ingredients of the meal at the table yourself, which can be fun for proactive eaters who like to be hands-on.
All soups arrive in pots that have been preheated in ovens at around 500 C. The base for nearly all soups are made from a chicken and pork bone base, except for the vegetarian option.
At your table, every soup order arrives with a platter of sides including fish tofu, ground pork, goji berries, wood ear fungus, black ear fungus, and rolls of beef.
You'll also get your portion of rice noodles—those are unlimited—which are made and shipped from China.
Your first step: add your favourite toppings to orders like the Shi Miaodao Famous Crossing Bridge Rice Noodle ($9.99) before adding the noodles.
After 10 seconds, all the flavours should be absorbed and the noodles are ready to be eaten.
Another popular order is the House Special Malay Laksa Rice Noodle ($11.99), a creamy flavour available only at this Toronto franchise. It's surprisingly not spicy at all, which is uncommon for most Malaysian laksa soups.
The Kimchi Rice Noodle with Beef ($10.99) is likely the spiciest on the menu, and my favourite.
There's also a bunch of classic sides available like a Jackpot Soy Egg for $1.99, in homage to Craig Wong's previous establishment (Shi Miaodao's chef used to work at Jackpot).
A collection of fruit teas include some from popular bubble tea manufacturer Boduo, which also provides to brands like Incha. The Mix Fruit Green Tea ($6.99) is a refreshing drink with fresh orange, kumquat, lime and watermelon slices.