festivals toronto

10 fun ways to travel the world this summer in Toronto

It's easy to see the world in Toronto without traveling more than a few miles. Scoping out the city's different neighbourhoods and attending cultural festivals and events are a good start. We're an incredibly multicultural city, boasting a seemingly endless array of restaurants, festivals, and destinations that represent a huge spectrum of cultures. The world really is right in our backyard.

Here are 10 fun ways to travel the world this summer without leaving Toronto.

Spend a few hours in Japan
Just off the 404 at Steeles, J-town is a must-visit for those interested in all things Japanese. It's here that you'll find the GTA's most authentic Japanese bakery, a Japanese butcher selling deep fried hamburgers and super-thinly sliced meats perfect for Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu dishes. There's also a good ramen shop, Japanese grocery store, cafeteria-style lunch spot, izakaya and not-to-be-missed Japanese-style Italian restaurant. It's way cheaper than that $2,000 flight to Tokyo.

Go for dinner in Taiwan
Never been to Taiwan? Book off a few hours in August to see what you're missing. Besides the myriad of Taiwanese cultural events that take place August 22-24 during Toronto's Taiwanfest, they put on a massive Taiwanese banquet with over 30 different individual dishes to try, including the famous Taiwanese jumbo dumplings, chicken nuggets and the oyster omelette.

Eat the world at TO Food Fest
Ever envision taking a trip around the world? Cram that experience into one day, and one massive plate of food, as you sample the best of the city's many multicultural food offerings. The TO Food Fest is located in the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, and if you missed the Taste of Asia fest in June, you can bet much of the same vendors will be there, plus so much more. (Want a preview of what to expect? Check out our coverage of last year's Food Fest.)

Go shopping in Tehran
Yonge north of Steeles is known as Little Tehran. The epicentre of shopping action is at the Toronto Iranian Plaza, but there are tons of Middle Eastern specialty shops on the bordering streets, and it's full of Persian restaurants to refuel when you're tired of shopping. Be sure to stop by BB cafe for a slice of cake and other sweet treats and the nearby Khorak Supermarket for some fresh flat bread or hot lunch from their take-out counter.

Have brunch in Hong Kong
Funny things happen to menus when a city is a hotbed of cross-cultural influences, and Hong Kong-style cuisine is a great example of that. Canto-Western style food, served at Cha Chaan Tengs, is a wacky and wonderful blend of Western-influenced Chinese dishes like smoked salmon spaghetti, French toast and HK milk tea, and you can find a number of restaurant locations in Toronto to experience this slice of Hong Kong.

Feast in the Philippines
Little Manila, around Wilson and Bathurst, has developed that moniker because of all the Filipino shops and services in the area. It's a great place to try some Filipino dishes, baked goods and shops, but there are other Filipino spots scattered across the GTA to search out too - check out the best Filipino restaurants and spots to get lechon.

Test your eating limits in India
The world of eating contests is strange and wild (the Homer Simpson chili cook-off episode?), especially when you bring the heat. On August 24, Little India's Udupi Palace hosts their annual Spicy Dosa Eating Contest, a sure-fire way to blow your mind and bust your gut.

Take a tour of Poland
The Polish festival on Roncesvalles is always a riotously good time, but if you can't wait until September 12 to get your pierogies on, here's a list of the best in the city; you can also take a tour of the best traditional bakeries and acquaint yourselves with all things Polish in Toronto.

Start and end the day in Ireland
Irish breakfasts traditionally include black pudding, potato farl, grilled tomato and fried eggs amongst other things, and is a great compliment to a morning before (and after) a long night at an Irish pub. Try Toronto's best Irish breakfast spots for the eggs, and these Irish pubs for the beer.

Celebrate the Americas at the Pan-Am Food Fest
At the beautiful Daniels Spectrum building from August 8-10, sample the vibrant national and regional flavours of the Americas - the Latin and Caribbean countries like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala - and, of course, the U.S. and Canada. Delicious!

Growers CiderThanks to Growers Cider for sponsoring this post.

For more fun things to do this summer, check out our Toronto Fun Guide.

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