|Yep, name on the tableware, and chopsticks!!|
What? King’s Noodle Restaurant for linner
Where? 296 Spadina ave. (take 501 streetcar from Spadina station to Dundas)
Price? $8-$15 (You’ll get a super orgasmic meal for $20 plus leftovers, trust me!)
The skinny: Saw this in Toronto Life and I was sold. Cheap good Chinese eats. Fresh rice noodle rolls (“cheung fun”), congee, and wonton noodle soup are staples. Oh, did I mention the quintessential display window of roasted/barbecued goodness of crisp duck, goose, and pig Yep, the guys here are kinda very well-known for that.
|The menu. So many goodies inside!!|
After watching a piano concert by Sa Chen (who btw is BRILLIANT) with my parents, we decided to go have coffee and pastry at Patachou but they’re closed on Sundays so we went to have linner (it was 5PM so not quite dinner but not lunch) in Chinatown.
The restaurant’s kept really clean (clean on Westerners standards and that means something considering we’re in the heart of Chinatown haha). All the servers, hosts, prep cooks, chefs...everyone works diligently and efficiently. (Check out the roasted duck and pig below!)
|In addition to the back kitchen, there's 3 open kitchen/prep stations up front: Wonton soup, cheung fun, bbq galore.|
The man in the bottom right corner is making rice noodle rolls. As I understand it, it's made up of mainly ground rice and water.
|My dad's awesome tea-pouring skills.|
There’s two lines. One for take-out orders of barbecued melt-in-your-mouthness and another to dine in the restaurant. We waited about 10 minutes because we didn’t want to “dap toy”—combine tables with other patrons. I spent the time snapping photos of the cooks at their stations, working so efficiently and precisely!
By the time we sat down we had figured out what we wanted to order. No brainer when things are prepared fresh by-hand from scratch in front of you.
Plus, for all that food (6 dishes with leftovers = WIN) we only paid $32. We tipped well and one of the servers brought us red bean pudding dessert on the house. How sweet!!
Now for the slew of food photos:
ATTENTION! The following images may be drool-inducing (if you've had the good stuff before). This hungry blogger suggests you strap on the bib and plan a date for a food adventure here before scrolling any lower.
VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
You sure you wanna see?
Ok. Don't say I didn't warn you.
|Barbecue Duck. ($7.95)|
Orgasm in your mouth I kid you not. You can see the crispy, fat almost dripping off the skin in the photo on the right. The meat is tender and rich in flavour. The plum sauce is completely unnecessary if you ask me. The duck itself is complex yet simple enough to stand out on its own. It sings. Well, not literally. But you...just go try it.
|Fisherman's Congee ($3.99)|
Dish #2: Fisherman's Congee
There's pork, lettuce, peanuts, pig's ears(?) etc in this. In Cantonese, we say "tan zhai chook" (i apologize, my chinglish is not pretty) which literally translates to "Fishermen's boat congee". Story goes, back in the day when Chinese fishermen used to live on their boats, they would make congee from whatever was at hand. Resourceful. I respect that. The base congee is fresh, hot, love the super thick texture of the congee. Didn't feel too much for this particular kind of congee. My favourite type's got to be Minced Pork with Preserved Egg Congee. mmmmm....
|Chinese doughnut : "ow lay so" (??$)|
Dish #3: Chinese doughnut
In Cantonese, "ow lay so". The texture's denser than your average doughnut but the crunch of the initial bite, the fresh aroma ("heung mai"), and the slight hint of sweetness is so much more satisfying than the airy, often-too-sweet donuts. (Don't get me wrong, I love my honey crullers, but this is something my people got right...they got it damn right). Anyways, it's traditionally eaten dipped in congee. My family prefers this to Chinese crullers, "yow cha gway" just because we collectively prefer it's denseness and bit of sweetness. This "ow lay so" was decent. Taste was beautiful. Texture, too dense.
|Check out the difference in texture/amount of crunchy bits: (left/right) Chinese crullers "yow cha gway" VS (middle) Chinese doughnuts "ow lay so"|
|Wonton Soup ($5.99?)|
Dish #4: Wonton Soup
The freshness of the wonton, the soup and the noodles was very welcomed. I've had a lot of mediocre wonton soups so to have it as it should be, or close-ish is so pleasing!! As we saw the freshness / hand-made dishes that awaited us while waiting for our table, we decided to go with simple, not overdone dishes to see how good this place really is. This was one of those dishes and it was enjoyed to the max.
|Wonton: traditional filling of shrimp (hey look, you can actually recognize it!) & pork. Great flavour combo!!|
|Rice Noodle Rolls, "cheung fun" ($3.99)|
Dish #5: Rice Noodle Rolls
Freshly made, rolled, and steamed with a soy sauce-based sauce. As mentioned earlier, rice noodle rolls are primarily made of rice flour, tapioca/glutinous rice flour (for its springiness) and water. Like the wonton soup, we ordered this dish "naked", in the sense that this is the original dish--unembellished with pork, beef, or seafood. And it definitely held up on it's own without the fancy fixings. This, and the duck were hands-down my favourite dishes. Rice+water. Sounds bland but the clean (and somehow also almost sweet) taste of the rolls with the delicate saltiness of the sauce combines in your mouth and makes mini fireworks. BAM.
|Noodle Soup with Beef Tendon (??$)|
Dish #6: Noodle Soup w/ Beef Tendon
My dad loovvveeesss tendon. He's a selective-vegetarian in that way. Or at least that's how he likes to call it. I call it being picky. Either way it doesn't matter because the tendon was so good. And these was A LOT of it too. (bonus!!). I'm not one for chewy textures but tendon is somehow an exception (I'm sensing some sort of "like father like daughter" thing going on here. oh well). because you'll get a clean bite (imagine biting through a canteloupe or honeydew) but then the chewiness hits you. It's a confusing texture but it feels so playful. It's fun? hahaa Tasty fun.
|Shot from our table to the semi-open kitchen beside the entrance. Check out the freshly stacked "yow cha gway"!|
|Last morsel of Chinese doughnut.|
|Leftover duck + wonton soup.|
We're now nearing the end of our fantastic/orgasmic/super-smile + giddyness inducing meal. Leftovers were packed (we weren't gonna let any of this food go to waste, no way!) and we were getting ready to leave but because of our generous tip, we got free dessert! SWEETTTT!!
|Dessert on-the-house! Red Bean Pudding/Jello|
Sugar + red bean, genius! Whoever thought of putting a bean in a dessert was one intelligent person. Our dessert was nicely chilled, and had the right amount of gelatinous-ness, graininess (from ground red beans), bite (whole, cooked red beans), and sweetness. Great way to cap the meal!
Verdict: Ohemgee YESSSSSS haven’t had barbecued duck in so long and it was worth the wait. The beautiful mix of savoury, mellow, bite to the noodles, hot congee. If this doesn’t float your boat, check out other items on their extensive menu but either way, you’ll be happy with your dishes. Needless to say, I just had an amazing meal. Definitely did not hurt that I was there with my parents.
P.S. They’re closed on Wednesdays. But that’s okay. :D
Check ‘em out! They don’t have their own site (no surprise here), but here’s their page on yelp.ca. Lots of positive reviews.
5 out of 5 NOMsnomnomnomnomnom