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📍Toronto, Canada

📍Toronto, Canada

Featuring Yuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant, Markham Station Restaurant, Carousel Bakery, Taste of Western China 西域味道, Cultures, Sweet Jesus, Table Rock Ice Cream, Strange Love, Tim Hortons
Melissa Chee
Melissa Chee

Last sip of Canadian coffee before a long flight back to Singapore. The Tim Hortons here is hidden at Gate E80 so there’s a slightly shorter queue. Try heading here for your coffee fix while waiting for your flight if the queue at Starbucks is too long.

One of the signature dishes at this restaurant where stir fried chicken in a sort of sweet ma la sauce is topped on handmade pulled noodles. The sauce is thick, somewhat sweet, slightly spicy, but a little numbing due to some peppercorns in the mix. It’s not too oily, and the chicken is tender and flavourful. There’s also very sweet and soft orange potatoes and bell peppers stir-fried with the chicken. Once the chicken’s cleared, there’s thick handmade noodles at the base of the dish. I love how slippery and smooth the noodles are, they’re bouncy and chewy. The texture of these noodles are completely on point and a total delight!

We don’t usually eat lamb in Singapore, but dang these people know how to cook lamb! For authentic Xinjiang cuisine in Toronto or Scarborough, try the signature skewers at Taste of Western China. It is a little spicy due to the chilli powder peppered on top, which makes it really flavourful, but you can also request for non-spicy skewers. Either way, the meat is extremely tender and juicy, plus there’s no gamey taste at all. Now I need to find a place like this in Singapore too!

We also had the tau kwa skewer which was not bad, but very salty compared to the lamb skewers. I’d definitely recommend the lamb even if you don’t usually eat it, although there are other meats and vegetables available if you don’t take lamb.

Super creamy and frothy latte, with strong notes of milk chocolate. Strange Love Coffee is apparently an award-winning coffee brand in Toronto, but the sweetness in the Lovers Latte did not blow me away. It also seems to be on the expensive side for coffee in Toronto. Perhaps the Lovers Matcha might have been a better choice as I did see a number of people ordering that.

It is a pretty nice spot along Spadina Avenue to stop and chill though. They have free WiFi and they do serve bagels and stuff on toast, baked goods, salads, yogurts and puddings, plus they sell some unique plants, making it a quirky and cute cafe so it is worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Ditch the food courts for affordable food, especially if you have a few mouths to feed. The food courts in Toronto and Scarborough can cost approx CAD10++ per pax but having a meal with sharing dishes at Yuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant in Markham in Scarborough cost us only CAD30 with tax and tips for 6 people.

Canada is a country where different nationalities are celebrated, so you can get almost any kind of cuisine and they’re pretty authentic. The Tian Jin cuisine served at Yuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant was recommended by my aunt who hails from China. She visits this restaurant with her Chinese friends monthly.

Personal recommendations:
- Seaweed egg drop soup
- Tian Jin liang pi
- Green Bean Crepe with crispy dough fritter
- Braised Pork Bun

Another dish I haven’t tried before. This essentially tastes like tau huay or beancurd With fungus and mushrooms in brown gravy. The tofu is soft and melts in your mouth. The gravy isn’t very salty, and if it gets tasteless after a while, load up on the chilli oil and vinegar. Yumz. This would be so amazing on a cold day in Scarborough!

A slab of braised beef in between a pan-fried bun speckled with sesame seeds. The meat is incredibly tender, and lined with some fat around the rims. It’s braised to perfection, so each piece gives easily. I love how nicely it goes with the bread. The bread is also worth a mention as it’s pan fried and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

My favourite order of the night is definitely this soup. It’s a clear soup, but savoury enough to drink on its own. Plus there’s seaweed and egg inside, what’s there not to like?

A simple and palate-cleansing Congee made from miller grains. Millet is a small grain which gives rise to a resultant texture like a mix between rice, quinoa and beans when stewed into congee. Very light on the palate and good to wash down the oil and spices in between dishes!

Another variant of the crepe wrapped around you tiao, this one comes with a flattened and ultra crispy dough fritter in the center. I actually preferred this variant because of how satisfyingly crunchy the dough fritter was inside! It’s also a little more spicy than the other variant, but only marginally. While nice on its own too, I still ended up dipping this in the chilli oil provided because #singaporean #spicelover 🤣 must try this if you drop by this restaurant in Scarborough.

Another Tian Jin dish is this green bean and egg crepe coated around you tiao. I haven’t tried this before, and it was really yummy to bite into the soft eggy crepe, with a pillowy soft dough fritter inside. The you tiao isn’t as crispy nor oily as the ones I’m accustomed to in Singapore, but it works well in this dish. There’s a nice contrast in textures between the crepe and the soft fritters. While nice on its own, I found the crepes even nicer when dipped into chilli oil. So good! Now I just need to find this in Singapore too!

A cold appetiser dish which is really refreshing and great to start with. The cold kelp salad is tossed in a fragrant garlic dressing. The kelp is thinly sliced and crunchy, yet not too slimey.

Always biding my time to my next meal. Everything in between just serves to kill time.

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