Quality Noodles at Wuhan Noodle 1950

Wuhan Noodle 1950Location: 3621 Highway 7, Markham
Website: https://www.wuhan-noodle-1950.com/

I actually visited Wuhan Noodle and wrote this post back in December, well before all the coronavirus shenanigans and racism that put this place in the news.  To be clear: no, you won’t get the coronavirus by visiting this restaurant.  I wish I were a bit more positive about it now, but here’s what I originally wrote back in December:

Wuhan Noodle 1950

I think I’ve become spoiled by the abundant availability of hand-pulled noodles in the GTA.  Case in point: Wuhan Noodle 1950.   They serve a very tasty bowl of noodles — but it’s hard not to compare them to the places that make their own in-house.

It probably doesn’t help that the dish I ordered — the Wuhan Dry Noodles — is basically all noodles and sauce, which means that the noodles themselves are front-and-centre.

Wuhan Noodle 1950

And the noodles here are perfectly cooked, with a nice firm bite — but they lack that addictive chewiness that you only get when you make them fresh.

Still, the creamy sesame- and peanut-infused sauce is very tasty; the included spoonful of chili oil gives it a mild kick, and the herbs and pickled veg bring some nice pops of flavour that compliment the creamy sauce.

Wuhan Noodle 1950

It’s probably not reasonable to expect every place like this to make their own noodles, and yet… here we are.

Tasty Noodle Soup at House of Gourmet

House of GourmetLocation: 484 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: http://houseofgourmet.blogspot.com/

Wonton noodle soup is one of those dishes that’s basically always delicious.  I’ve certainly had bowls that are better than others, but I think it’s just fundamentally appealing.  It’s kinda like pizza; it’s hard to mess up, and even when it’s bad, it’s good.

House of Gourmet

And the bowl at House of Gourmet is quite good.  It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s a solid bowl of noodle soup.

House of Gourmet

I was clued into this place thanks to this article, which specifically called out the wonton brisket noodle soup as being the thing to order here.  The addition of fatty, tender, flavourful beef suits the bowl quite well.

Everything else is just as it should be; the soup has a savoury punch, the noodles are nice and firm, and the chunky wontons are quite satisfying.

House of Gourmet

And of course, you’ve gotta add some chili oil to the bowl.  Unlike the stuff I recently had at Ming’s Noodle Cafe, which was crammed with flavour but surprisingly low on spice, a heaping spoonful is all you need to give the bowl a nice kick.

Decent Pork Belly at Chengdu Guokui

Chengdu GuokuiLocation: 4750 Yonge Street, North York (in the Emerald Park food court)
Website: None

I’ve mentioned before that the Emerald Park food court near Yonge and Sheppard is a treasure trove of unique Asian eateries (though not everything there is particularly great).

My latest discovery: Chengdu Guokui, which specializes in Sichuan cuisine.

I ordered the braised pork rice bowl, which comes with the aforementioned pork, stewed eggplant (I think?), and a spicy slaw on top of rice.

Chengdu Guokui

It’s almost 17 bucks with tax, which seems excessive until you get your bowl and realize that it weighs about a pound, and is crammed with enough pork belly to feed a small family.

It’s certainly better than the last thing I tried in this food court, but alas, it’s not great.  The main issue here is the pork; it’s quite underseasoned, and is lacking the punch of flavour you’re expecting from the dish.  It also had a vague leftover flavour, and wasn’t quite as melt-in-your-mouth tender as it should have been.  It was tasty enough, but it was nothing special.

Chengdu Guokui

The eggplant was nice and tender, and the rice, though mushy, featured a tasty sauce and was fairly satisfying.

The star of the show, oddly enough, was the slaw; it was tossed in an intensely flavourful chili oil, and had that great numbing heat you get from Sichuan cuisine.  I wish there had been about double the amount.

Fancy Dim Sum at Yu Seafood

Yu SeafoodLocation: 270 West Beaver Creek Road, Richmond Hill
Website: http://www.yuseafood.com/

If you have anyone you’re looking to impress with a fancier dim sum joint, you could do worse than Yu Seafood.  The restaurant itself is quite a bit more sleek than your average dim sum place, and the presentation of the dishes is a bit snazzier.

Yu Seafood

And of course, it also has the prices to match — it’s not outrageous, but it’s noticeably more expensive than the norm.

Yu Seafood

The food is all solid, though nothing quite blew me away.  I think pretty much everything was slightly (or more than slightly) underseasoned.

Yu Seafood

One of their specialties is the visually striking Bamboo Charcoal & Egg Yolk Bun.  It looks impressive and tastes pretty good, but the molten custard filling was broken; it was lumpy and oily.

Yu Seafood

Everything I tried was quite tasty — but given the hefty pricing, it’s not quite as amazing as you’d hope.

Disappointing Fried Bao at Zheng’s Juicy Fried Buns

Zheng's Juicy Fried BunsLocation: 4750 Yonge Street, North York (in the Emerald Park food court)
Website: https://baogong.business.site/

Last year, I checked out Sang-ji Fried Bao and tried the scallion oil noodles and the sang-ji bao (fried soup-filled pork buns).  I thought it was tasty enough, but nothing particularly mind-blowing.

Well, I just had the exact same meal at Zheng’s Juicy Fried Buns, and suddenly I’m appreciating Sang-ji Fried Bao so, so much more.

Zheng's Juicy Fried Buns

Here’s a one word review of the meal I just had: yikes.

I started with the scallion oil noodles, which tasted like plain instant noodles tossed in a whole bunch of soy sauce (and a buttload of oil); it was greasy and one-note salty with absolutely none of the sweet complexity you associate with this dish.  The deeply caramelized scallions were present, but they couldn’t do much to fight the face-punch of saltiness from the noodles themselves.  It doesn’t help that the undercooked instant noodles were a complete bummer to eat.

Zheng's Juicy Fried Buns

The pan-fried buns weren’t much better.  The wrapper was thick, gummy and unpleasantly doughy, and the would-be crispy bottom was actually just dry, like a stale cracker.  The soupy filling was completely bland (it needed a lot of vinegar to be even remotely edible), and the pork was surprisingly tough and flavourless.

Zheng's Juicy Fried Buns

Sang-ji Fried Bao is about two kilometres north of here, and trust me: that’s the one you want.  There’s no comparison.