Chinese

R&D

For my birthday celebration I made reservations for a friend and I at R&D because I really wanted to try this restaurant, not because of Masterchef but because the co-owner is Alvin Leung, a three Michelin star Chinese Canadian chef.

The decor is quite modern with comfortable and spacious seating and a bright interior. Our server informed us that the skewers were unavailable. We ordered the general sanders’ chicken ($25) and the 76 hour peking duck ($68).

The general sanders’ chicken is comprised of 2 deep fried crispy chicken legs, 2 deep fried crispy chicken breasts, Hong Kong egg waffles, sichuan maple syrup dipping sauce and kung pao dipping sauce. To make the batter coating the chicken prior to deep frying, vodka rather than buttermilk is used as the primary binder. Both the leg and breast were very tasty. I was pleasantly surprised that there are organs with the breast since it’s deep fried with the spine and bones as well. The dipping sauces go well with the chicken however my favourite is the sichuan maple syrup. The egg waffles are crunchy and sweet and the maple syrup goes really well with it. Overall, it’s a nice Asian inspired chicken and waffles dish.



The peking duck takes 76 hours of prep and cook time. The duck is first soaked in a salt brine for 40+ hours, then slow cooked for several hours and finally oven roasted. The peking duck served at R&D is an interesting spin on the dish. The skin isn’t as crispy compared to a traditional peking duck while the slices of meat are very thick. The meat is very tender and soft however it comes with a very large layer of fat between the skin and meat. The steamed buns are nice albeit abit thick in comparison to the normal paper-thin wraps at most other restaurants. There are 3 different coleslaws to accompany the thick slices of duck and the thick skinned steamed buns. There’s cucumber with hoisin sauce and scallions which is a fairly Asian take on coleslaw. There’s mango with asian pear and plum which is a very fruity take on coleslaw. There is also cabbage, ginger and carrot which is most reminiscent of regular western coleslaw. Of the 3 slaws, my favourite is the asian pear, mango and plum followed by the cucumber, hoisin sauce and scallion. My friend enjoyed this dish the most.

The service at R&D is nice although perhaps more training is required for their staff. We were unable to finish the peking duck so I asked for containers. The servers said that they’ll wrap up my food for me which is nice of them to do so. When I opened up the take out box a day later I was surprised to find only 30% of the leftovers in the box. My friend and I only had afew bites of the platter and I was looking forward to my duck leg so imagine my disappointment when there wasn’t any duck leg in my container and there were only afew pieces of duck and afew pieces of the steamed buns. All three coleslaws were missing from my container as well. I was very disappointed since I was looking forward to eating the dish again (albeit it wouldn’t have been as tasty as when it’s fresh out of the kitchen). Although my birthday dinner was good the day of, the care of my leftovers tarnished the restaurant for me.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Xiao Long Bao

My friend and I decided to eat here 18 days ago. The owners of Ding Tai Fung opened another location in Scarborough and named it Xiao Long Bao. This restaurant is more spacious compared to Ding Tai Fung and the decor is very modern and minimalist while the lighting is bright. The menu at Xiao Long Bao is the exact same menu at Ding Tai Fung. We ordered the requisite xiao long bao and wor tip again. We also got the spicy wontons, stewed beef in pancake, black sesame dumplings in soup and souffle balls stuffed with red bean paste.

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This time around we got the dried conpoy and pork xiao long bao ($7.99). It was delicious and I was able to distinguish between the pork and dried conpoy unlike the pork and crab meat xiao long bao from Ding Tai Fung.

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The spicy wontons ($5.99) weren’t as good as the ones I had at Ding Tai Fung last year.

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The pork wor tip ($5.99) was just as good as the ones at Ding Tai Fung.

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The stewed beef in pancake ($5.99) is not the best that I’ve had. It’s comprised of a starchy Chinese pancake wrapped in green onions and beef. The beef had an interesting smell to it.

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The black sesame dumplings in soup ($5.99) is just as good as the one at Ding Tai Fung.

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The souffle balls stuffed with red bean paste ($7.49) is just as good as the ones at Ding Tai Fung.

Overall, if you don’t want to drive all the way to Markham for Ding Tai Fung and you don’t want to fight for parking, Xiao Long Bao is an alternative.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Restaurant Review, Scarborough, Shanghainese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ding Tai Fung Part II

My friend and I decided to have dinner at Ding Tai Fung again last month. We ordered the requisite xiao long bao and wor tip along with the minced pork and vegetable wonton noodles, sesame dumplings in soup and souffle balls stuffed with sesame paste.

We got the steamed crab meat and pork xiao long bao ($7.99). It was good however at times I couldn’t distinguish the crab meat from the pork. The wor tip or pan fried pork dumplings ($5.99) were just as good as last time. Ding Tai Fung definitely makes wor tip better than the xiao long bao.

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The minced pork and vegetable wonton noodles ($7.99) was ok. It’s comprised of wontons, bok choi, black fungus, some minced pork, noodles in soup with abit of green onions and omelette strips.

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The sesame dumplings in soup ($5.99) was quite delicious. The sweet soup was very nice while the black sesame dumplings (tong yeun) were a nice compliment to it. The souffle balls stuffed with black sesame paste ($7.49) are good but I think I prefer the souffle balls stuffed with red bean paste more.

Overall, if you don’t mind the wait and you don’t want to walk over to A La Kitchen, I recommend ordering the Shanghainese dim sum and the desserts rather than the main dishes.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Markham, Restaurant Review, Shanghainese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A La Kitchen

My friend and I decided to eat at A La Kitchen for Mid-Autumn Festival last month. A La Kitchen is in the plaza behind First Markham Place. The decor is modern and while we had reservations, we had to wait abit. We ordered lamb mutton cake or 羊糕 ($7.50 + tax), steamed crab pork dumplings/xiao long bao or 蟹粉小龍包 ($6.25 + tax), pan fried pork dumpling/wor tip or 鮮肉鍋貼 ($4.95 + tax), braised eggplant with shredded pork or 魚香茄子 ($9.99 + tax), sesame rice ball with soy bean powder or 雷沙湯圓 ($5.50 + tax) and deep fried egg white ball with red bean & banana or 高力豆沙香蕉 ($7.99 + tax).

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The lamb mutton cake was disappointing. I initially thought it would be similar to a beef and onion pancake at Asian Legend or Ding Tai Fung but I was wrong. Instead, it’s a cold dish of fatty lamb meat that’s similar to a pâté with a side of green onions.

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The steamed crab pork xiao long bao were quite delicious although I prefer the quantity of xiao long baos at Asian Legend or Ding Tai Fung more. They give you 6 xiao long baos as opposed to the 4 xiao long baos here at A La Kitchen.

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The pork wor tip was quite good although I prefer the wor tip at Ding Tai Fung more. The skin isn’t as crispy as I would like it to be.

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The braised eggplant with shredded pork, onions and peppers was spicy and delicious.

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My friend had the sesame rice ball with soybean powder. I tried one and it was alright.

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I decided to be adventurous and get the deep fried egg white ball with red bean & banana as opposed to my usual deep fried egg white ball with red bean.  The red bean and banana combination was actually scrumptious.

For the price versus the quality and quantity of the food, I think I would go to Ding Tai Fung or Asian Legend for most everything except for the dessert.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Markham, Restaurant Review, Shanghainese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Noodle

I decided to follow my friend’s recommendation and eat lunch here last month. The restaurant is cozy with modern decor and it was quite busy during a weekday lunch even though it’s at a plaza by the Midland/McNicoll intersection. They make their noodles in house and there are two kinds of noodles-pulled noodles and cut/sliced noodles. I ordered the sliced noodle with lamb ($9.05 with tax). It’s got chunks of lamb with green onions, 1 bok choi, afew goji berries and dates.

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When my dish came, I noticed hair on my lamb and in the bowl of noodles and when I notified the waitress about this, she said that it’s normal. The waitress was reluctant to replace the dish with a new one.

cut/sliced noodles

cut/sliced noodles

I don’t recommend this restaurant because of the service.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Restaurant Review, Scarborough | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Chinese Seafood Restaurant

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I decided to eat a quick dinner here last month. The restaurant is located in a non descript plaza at the McNicoll and Middlefield intersection. It’s kind of small although the seating caters to large groups. I got a seat at a booth. I ordered the chili chicken ($8.50 + tax & tip). It comes with a bowl of rice. The chili chicken is comprised of deep fried chicken, onions, green chilies and gravy. It’s quite spicy. If you don’t want to go to Markham and 14th for Indian Hakka cuisine then this is a good alternative in Scarborough.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Food, Hakka, Restaurant Review, Scarborough | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sun’s Kitchen (part II)

I had dinner at Sun’s Kitchen again last night. This time I got the dan dan noodles ($6.75 including tax).

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It’s basically handmade la mian in a spicy broth topped with peanuts and green onions. The broth was quite spicy, compared to other places I’ve been to. I wished that there were more toppings to this dish so that it would be more tasty. The portion size was quite large. Overall, it was ok.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Markham, Restaurant Review, Szechuan | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kiko (Part II)

My friends and I were debating where to eat an early dinner after playing sports afew weeks ago. We decided to go to Kiko. When we got there, it was still their Afternoon Tea time special. I ordered their laksa ($10 includes tax & tip).

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Their laksa is one of the few authentic laksas I’ve eaten outside of South East Asia. The other authentic laksa is from One 2 Snacks. The laksa at Kiko’s comprises of two types of noodles, shrimp, chicken, beansprouts and tofu puff/tofu pok/tau pok in a curry soup. Their laksa dish comes with a drink. I got the Hong Kong style milk tea. I’m looking forward to another future visit.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Hong Kong Cafe, Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian, Markham, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sun’s Kitchen

I was in a rush this past Friday evening so I got take out from Sun’s Kitchen. It’s located on the second floor of Pacific Mall. It’s in the inner food court rather than the food court close to the escalators. They make the noodles right there so you’re guaranteed fresh noodles every time. You could see the chef making the noodles from scratch with the dough by the counter. The options include BBQ pork noodles in soup, dan dan noodles, beef tendon noodles in soup, wonton noodles in soup and BBQ duck noodles in soup. I had the beef brisket noodles (la mian) in soup ($6.75 including tax).

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The dish comprises of beef brisket, afew pieces of shanghai bok choi, la mian/noodles and chicken broth. It also comes with soy bean milk. The beef brisket was tender and the noodles were delicious. If you’re at Pacific Mall or Market Village and unsure of what to eat, you could easily and cheaply satisfy any noodle craving here.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Markham, Restaurant Review, Scarborough | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Saigon

This past Sunday my friends and I went to Top Saigon at the Finch-Leslie Plaza for lunch. The decor reminds me of a Hong Kong style cafe and the lighting is quite bright. My friend said that it was a Thai-Viet restaurant but to me it had a more Chinese or Hong Kong cafe feel to it. Most of my friends ordered a curry dish. Their curry options include curry lamb and curry duck.

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I had a small Curry Chicken Noodles in Soup ($6.25). The dish is potatoes, chicken and noodles in a curry soup broth with onions as garnishing. The curry is really good although I would have preferred the chicken to be deboned. Their quality of potatoes could be better but their chicken is quite good. The portions are quite large since I wasn’t able to finish the small portion. Overall, this is a good restaurant to try if you’re in the area and craving curry.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Hong Kong Cafe, Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian, North York, Restaurant Review, Thai, Vietnamese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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