Zao Men Kan Toronto

Zao Men Kan

Zao Men Kan is a traditional braised barbecue restaurant serving fun skewers under a ceiling of neon lights.

Initially set to open in 2020, it was delayed by pandemic closures for two years, but owner Walter Wang was determined to bring the cuisine of Chengdu, Sichuan to the city.

"I wanted the space to be wild, funky, and cool," he explained. "We have a lot of students, big groups, and after work crowds come in on Fridays and weekends."

zao men kan torontoOriginally a franchise from Chengdu, it was founded by Sean Sun, a popular Chinese actor.

The ambiance is perfect for a night out and long tables make group dining easy. 

zao men kan toronto

Drinks are on a grab-what-you-want system, with five fridges dedicated to both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, such as flavoured teas and plum wines. 

zao men kan toronto

There are even fun cocktail bags you can grab that come with everything you'll need to mix up a drink yourself. zao men kan toronto

Wang explains every table also functions as a drinking game. They provide dice and each square you land on means a different action. It's a fun way to stay entertained while eating. 

zao men kan toronto

The highlight of the menu is obviously the endless choice of skewers. Most skewers come in sets of four or eight, and there's a variety of veggie, seafood, and meat options for all palates. 

Your skewers get piled into a mini mountain for you to conquer, with every skewer order coming with a hot plate to keep your food warm.

zao men kan toronto

We tried the Shrimp ($6.99), Lamb ($9.99), and Beef ($11.99) skewers. Everything was well-seasoned with a distinct savoury-sweet spice and can be made non-spicy for different tolerance levels. 

For those interested, there's also Chicken Feet and Cow Throat skewers!

zao men kan torontoA must-try are the Crispy Lotus Root chips ($8.99). Fried to a perfect crunchy crisp and sprinkled with a salty, savoury powder that keeps you reaching for more, they're highly addictive and very snackable.

zao men kan torontoThe Grilled Fish ($35) comes in a hot bath of chillis. Don't let the peppers scare you, though, as the fish is moist and flavourful and not overly spicy. 

zao men kan toronto

There's also a Whole Squid ($9.99) available as a skewer. A large portion for sharing, it's chewy and pre-cut so it's easy to pull apart tableside.

zao men kan torontoYou also order a side of Spicy Chives ($3.99) to cleanse your palette in between skewers. 

zao men kan torontoAll skewers are available for takeout, making them a good midday snack if you're in the area. 

zao men kan torontoZao Men Kan is located at  3365 Steeles Ave E Unit 5-6.zao men kan toronto

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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