After realizing that I had never tried mofongo — a Puerto Rican dish in which plantain is mashed with garlic and crispy pork skin — I quickly discovered that Aquarela is pretty much the only game in town. Thankfully, they seem to be doing a pretty great job of carrying the torch for the dish in the GTA; I have nothing to compare it to, but it’s tasty, that’s for sure. It’s rich, creamy, garlicky and abundantly delicious. It’s kinda like mashed potatoes on steroids. It also comes with your choice of meat; I went with the crispy pork belly, and yeah, that’s a great combo. Something to cut through the plate’s overwhelming fatty richness would have been nice, but that’s a minor complaint for a very tasty dish.
The noodles at Hey Noodles are great (as you’d hope for from a place with “noodles” right in the name of the restaurant), but what really blew my mind was the price. I ordered the Chongqing Street Noodles, which is a very large bowl of soup that’s absolutely crammed with noodles, and that somehow only costs $6.99. The egg was an extra dollar, but even still, that’s a fantastic deal, especially considering how tasty it is. The noodles are nice and chewy, and the soup is delightfully zingy, with that addictive combo of spiciness and numbing heat that you get in this style of Chinese cuisine.
Clay pot rice is an extremely simple dish — it’s basically just plain white rice that’s topped with meat and cooked in the eponymous pot, which makes the bottom layer of rice nice and crispy. It’s simple, but immensely satisfying when done well. The one I ordered was topped with eel and various meats and sausages, and yeah, it’s super satisfying. The fluffy/crispy rice, the tasty meats, and the sauce they have on the side (which was in a soy sauce container, but I’m fairly certain was more than just soy sauce) was a great combo.