Location: 348 Yonge Street, Toronto
What if you had bubble tea, but without the tea? That’s not a question I would have thought to ask, but it turns out that the answer is seriously delicious.
Tiger Sugar serves a drink called brown sugar boba milk, and yeah — it’s basically bubble tea without the tea. It’s sweet, creamy, and amazing. I actually tried Tiger Sugar on a recent trip to Taiwan, and I found it so delicious that I thought “I should bring this to Canada! I’ll be rich!”
I have zero desire to run a bubble tea shop, but I was so confident that this would be a hit in Toronto that I actually reached out to the company to see if franchising was a possibility (alas, I was too late).
And, so far at least, I was right. Tiger Sugar opened a location downtown about a month ago, and on a recent visit (during the afternoon in the middle of the week, no less), the place was absolutely packed.
Their flagship drink is brown sugar boba milk with cream mousse, which is just as rich as it sounds. The brown sugar gives it a nice depth of flavour that helps it not feel too sweet, despite the fact that it’s incredibly sweet. The combo of the milk and the cream mousse is rich and satisfying. And the tapioca balls are chewy, sweet, and tasty.
It’s definitely not something to order if you just want to quench your thirst — it’s a full-blown dessert, and it’s surprisingly heavy — but it’s so good.
Location: 3035 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The peameal bacon at When the Pig Came Home, a delightful little deli in the Junction, is probably twice as thick as any other peameal that I’ve had. It’s also twice as good.
They have a bunch of optional toppings, but the Original Peameal Sandwich is quite simple, with just peameal, baby kale, tomato, and Maple aioli.
The bacon is substantial and cooked to order; it’s phenomenal. It’s super tender (and it isn’t dry at all, which tends to be an issue with peameal), and features a really satisfying level of saltiness that lets the flavour of the pork shine through.
None of the toppings particularly stand out, and I mean that in a good way — they step back and let the bacon be the star of the show.
The bun is great too — it’s nice and fresh, with a crackily exterior that gives the sandwich a decent amount of texture.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Last summer, I tried just about everything on the menu at Chica’s Chicken, and decided that it was probably the best fried chicken in the city.
It’s still probably the best fried chicken in the city. The Buffalo fried chicken sandwich is a newer addition to the menu, and it was every bit as amazing as I was hoping it would be.
It’s normally served on a brioche bun, but since they were out of those, it came on sliced bread instead. I’m sure it would have been delicious on the bun, but the bread didn’t feel like a detriment. It was an outstanding sandwich.
The fried chicken was as crispy, flavourful, and juicy as ever, and the zingy Buffalo sauce just enhances it. It’s topped with coleslaw and blue cheese sauce, and it’s absolutely perfect. It’s the perfect Buffalo chicken sandwich. I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.
Actually, that’s a lie — it’s only mildly spicy, and I wish it were a little bit hotter. But the sandwich was so thoroughly satisfying that I only barely missed the spice.
Location: 678 Queen Street East, Toronto
At this point, I’ve eaten several of the sandwiches from Toronto Life’s list of the best in the city. That’s a solid list. And the meatloaf sandwich from White Lily Diner (Toronto Life’s 12th best sandwich) is absolutely outstanding.
The sandwich features a thick slice of meatloaf, mayo, a sweet tomato sauce, and pickles. An egg is an optional surcharge, but of course you need to get the egg. Every sandwich is improved by the addition of a fried egg with a gooey yolk. That’s just science.
Oh, and did I mention that it also comes with a bowl of gravy on the side for dipping? Because it does, and it’s glorious.
It’s an incredibly rich sandwich — there’s the butter-laden toast (which they make in house, and which is amazing), the weighty slice of meatloaf, the fried egg, and of course, the gravy. That sandwich doesn’t take any prisoners. It’s not kidding around.
It’s also delicious. The meatloaf is perfectly spiced while still retaining a nice beefy flavour. It has a great texture, not to mention a nice crispy exterior from the griddle. The rich gravy only amps up the beefy flavour.
But it’s perfectly balanced; the pickles and the sweet tomato sauce ensure that it never feels one-note rich.
It comes with a salad on the side (and trust me, you don’t need anything heavier than that to accompany this sandwich) which is dressed with a simple vinaigrette; it works as a nice counterpoint to the very rich sandwich.
Location: 2572 Birchmount Road, Scarborough
Bun Rieu — a Vietnamese crab noodle soup — is one of those dishes that’s everything at once. It’s alternately sweet, salty, savoury, meaty, fishy, and sour. It’s quite rich, but vibrant enough that it never feels overly heavy.
The version at Bong Lua isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s quite tasty. The broth lacks the rich complexity of the best versions of this dish, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
There’s a great interplay between the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and the fishy funk from the crab. That’s not the mention the chewy rice noodles, which suit the dish perfectly. It’s a solid bowl of soup.