Location: 4040 Creditview Road, Mississauga
A good bowl of noodle soup is just the best. It’s the best. If you disagree, then I’m going to have to respectfully inform you that you’re wrong and that the way you’re living your life is wrong.
And Wonton Chai Noodle’s noodle soup game is strong. Not only that, but it’s delightfully affordable.
Seven bucks gets you a very large, steaming bowl of noodley, shrimpy goodness. The ultra-thin and ultra-firm noodles are really satisfying, and the simple-but-flavourful broth is imminently slurpable (especially when you add a heaping spoonful of the inferno-hot chili oil) — but it’s the wontons where this bowl really shines.
The filling of each wonton is crammed with whole pieces of perfectly cooked shrimp. Shrimp is easy to overcook and turn rubbery, but these were spot-on. And the flavour was just as good, with a rich seafoodiness that makes me want to order a whole pile of these and eat it like a bag of popcorn. The wrapper was ever-so-slightly mushy, but aside from that they were seriously tasty.
Location: 105 McCaul Street, Toronto
I’ve already talked about Manpuku, so I’ll keep this brief. I went back and tried the shigure don, and just like the udon I tried on my last visit, it was absolutely delicious and delightfully cheap.
The shigure don consisted of a heaping pile of tasty, well-marinated beef and onions atop a generous portion of rice. The beef looks a bit dry in the picture, but it was actually super tender, and surprisingly packed with flavour. And the soft, tasty onions compliment the beef perfectly.
It cost $6.49. I mean, come on, Manpuku — now you’re making all the other restaurants look bad. I’ve frequently paid three or four times as much money for meals that weren’t half as good as what they’re serving here.
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: 105 McCaul Street, Toronto
I just got a bowl of curry udon noodles from Manpuku, and they were both super cheap and super delicious. What’s better than that? (I’ll answer for you: nothing. Nothing is better than that.)
For six bucks, you get a very generous amount of udon noodles in a rich, curry-flavoured broth with some tender potatoes and a heaping pile of sliced pork. It’s an almost suspiciously good deal; for that little, it really shouldn’t be all that good, right? But it’s so good.
The broth is rich and delicious, the sliced pork is super tender and infused with that great curry flavour, and the noodles are chewy and perfectly cooked. The noodles are maybe a little bit bland, but other than that I honestly don’t have any complaints about this bowl.
It’s not the type of thing that’s going to blow anybody’s mind, but it’s rich, hearty, and delicious. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a more satisfying meal for under six bucks in the GTA.