Location: 160 East Beaver Creek Road, Markham
Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine is a dim sum joint that does well. We showed up at around 10:40 on a Saturday, and the place was seriously crowded. By the time we left, it was even more packed, with a crowd waiting for tables almost going out the door.
Eating the food, it’s easy enough to see why. Some highlights:
The char siu was sweet and incredibly tender.
These fried seafood-filled tubes were nice and crispy on the outside, with a fishy (but not overbearing) flavour.
The fried dough noodle rolls were probably the best version of that dish that I’ve ever had, with a surprisingly complex flavour and a very satisfying contrast of textures between the chewy noodle, the crispy fried exterior, and the soft interior.
I really should have taken a picture of the interior of these salted egg buns, because they were absolutely crammed with an oozy, sweet custardy filling.
There were only a couple of weak dishes — surprisingly, they were the dim sum standbys that you’d think they’d work especially hard to get right. The har gow featured an overly thick, almost gummy wrapper encasing overcooked shrimp.
And the pork buns featured a filling that tasted a bit too leftovery.
Still, they were only two mild weak points in a meal that was otherwise quite stellar.
Location: 130 King Street West, Toronto
The Exchange Tower location of Porchetta & Co. is a bit different from the other ones — it opens early, and it has a breakfast menu. This menu includes a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.
Fried chicken in the morning? Yes please.
Sadly, it’s not quite as great as you’d hope, but it’s fried chicken, an egg, and gooey cheese. Of course it tastes good. How could that combo not taste good?
Like all of the fried chicken at Porchetta & Co., the chicken here is perfectly cooked, with a satisfyingly crispy exterior. It’s dipped in hot honey, with a very strong emphasis on the honey. It’s sweet. I wish there were a bit more spice, and maybe some vinegar to cut the sweetness, because it’s tasty, but it’s a bit cloying.
The egg was overcooked, with a chalky yolk — but other than that, the sandwich was solid. The cheese was nice and melty, and the buttery toasted English muffin was the perfect vehicle for the chicken, egg, and cheese.
Location: 385 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
I recently tried the burger at Gold Standard, and while I enjoyed it (and appreciated that a Toronto burger joint was finally serving an American-style slider), I wasn’t blown away.
Well clearly, the breakfast sandwich is the thing to order, because that one? That blew me away.
The Gold Standard breakfast sandwich, per their menu: “scrambled egg, cheddar, bacon, aioli, pickles, hot sauce, English muffin.”
Good lord, it’s delicious.
I really should have cut it in half so that you could see its glorious innards; it doesn’t look like much in that picture, so you’ll just have to take my word that everything was well-proportioned and perfect.
All the components work so well together. The perfectly cooked egg and the gooey cheese meld into something that’s downright magical. The generously-applied crispy bacon adds texture and a meaty saltiness. The mild kick from the hot sauce along with the vinegary bite of the pickles cuts the richness of the cheese, the bacon and the eggs. And the soft, fresh, perfectly toasted English muffin holds it all together (and adds a light crispiness) without getting in the way.
Best breakfast sandwich ever? Quite possibly!
Location: 9255 Woodbine Avenue, Markham
If you’re looking for bang for your buck, you’re not going to do much better than Ho Garden, a delightful Hong Kong-style diner in Markham. I ordered the egg sandwich, which comes with a generous bowl of noodle soup with beef, and a mug of milk tea. The price? Seven bucks. Delightful.
I was a little bit skeptical about the egg sandwich, but aside from the fact that it’s a Hong Kong comfort food staple, a friend strongly recommended it.
I’ll admit it — I was wrong to be skeptical. It was surprisingly delicious.
It’s the definition of simplicity: it’s just a plain omelette served inside of crustless white bread. No mayonnaise, no condiments — just eggs, salt, and untoasted bread. Sounds way too plain, right? Wrong.
The eggs were fluffy, creamy, and perfectly cooked, and the slightly sweet, light-as-a-cloud bread complimented them perfectly. Considering its utter simplicity, it was shockingly good.
The noodles — which feature a generous amount of toothsome noodles in a flavourful, slightly spicy broth, topped with tender beef — were quite tasty as well, but it’s that egg sandwich that was clearly the star of the show.
Location: 85 Ellesmere Road, Scarborough
This is it — my final stop on the McDonald’s World Taste Tour. It’s been fun? I guess?
Well, the McFlurry was pretty good, at least.
And the Mexican Bacon Queso More-Ning McWrap isn’t bad. It consists of bacon, scrambled eggs, lettuce, tomato, and queso sauce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.
The biggest surprise here is the generous serving of scrambled eggs, which are actually pretty well prepared. You kind of assume it’s going to be dry and rubbery, but shockingly enough, it’s neither of those things. They weren’t the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had, but they were tasty.
And while the queso sauce didn’t taste particularly cheesy — it tasted more like a zesty mayo — it did a good job of brightening up the eggs and adding a very minor dose of spice.
The biggest issue here is something you (probably) won’t have to worry about. There wasn’t any bacon. I kept thinking the bacon would reveal itself in the next bite, or that it was all clustered at the end of the wrap, but it was MIA throughout. By the time I realized that the wrap was bacon-free, I was too lazy to get up and do something about it.
I’m actually impressed that I enjoyed this as much as I did, considering that one of the primary ingredients was missing (it’s right there in the name).