Amazing Roast Pork at Luen Hing Barbecue

Luen Hing Barbecue
Location
: 888 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside the Mississauga Chinese Centre)
Website: None

If a restaurant has an enormous slab of tasty-looking roasted pork hanging in the window, you should eat at that restaurant.  That’s just a fact.  Is that a law?  I think that might be the law.  If you see a restaurant like that you have to eat there or you’ll go to jail.  That sounds fair to me.

Luen Hing also has chicken and duck hanging in the window, and clearly I have to go back, because that pork… wow.

Luen Hing Barbecue

I ordered the roast pork and barbecue pork on rice, which comes with a seriously generous amount of tasty eats for about twelve bucks.  It’s a great deal, that’s for sure.

I actually brought this home instead of eating in the food court, and I had resigned myself to the fact that the pork skin probably wouldn’t be particularly crispy.  It’s hard to retain your crunch when you’ve been steaming in a sealed take-out box.  But oh man, that skin was crisp.  It was at delightful, kettle chip levels of crunchiness.

Luen Hing Barbecue

And the pork itself was so good.  Super flavourful, nice and tender, fatty but not too fatty, and of course, the aforementioned super crunchy skin.  Delightful.

The barbecue pork wasn’t quite on the same level — it was a bit dry — but it was still quite tasty, with a nice balance of sweet and savoury.

The steamed cabbage and the sauce they poured on top were also quite good.  It all adds up to a seriously satisfying version of this dish, and a restaurant that I’ll almost certainly be returning to in the near future.

Cheap Eats at Tsui Xiang Tsuen

Tsui Xiang Tsuen
Location
: 888 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Website: None

The Mississauga Chinese Centre is a definite hidden gem if you’re looking for cheap eats in Mississauga.  You wouldn’t know it from the outside (it basically just looks like a strip mall) but it has a small food court with several vendors serving up a whole bunch of dishes.

Tsui Xiang Tsuen

There’s a sushi place, a Filipino place, and a few Chinese restaurants with typically enormous food court menus.  Tsui Xiang Tsuen falls into the enormous menu category; I was craving wonton noodle soup, so that’s what I ordered.

Tsui Xiang Tsuen

Was it the best wonton noodle soup I’ve ever had?  No, absolutely not.  In particular, the wontons were basically complete mush, and the filling wasn’t quite what you’re expecting.  Instead of the usual pork/shrimp combo, I think it was all pork, and it had a mildly gamy flavour that I wasn’t crazy about.  They were easily the weak point of the dish.

Tsui Xiang Tsuen

On the other hand, the generous amount of noodles were perfectly cooked with a good amount of texture, and the broth had a nice clean flavour.

Tsui Xiang Tsuen

Plus, I think I’m burying the lede here, because this thing was a pretty hearty lunch, and the price?  Six bucks.  You can’t go wrong there.

Tasty Jerk Chicken at Roywoods

RoywoodsLocation: 65 Front Street West, Toronto (inside Union Station)
Website: https://roywoods.ca/

It’s been a while since I’ve had a sandwich from Toronto Life’s list of the 25 best in the city, but clearly, the list is still cranking out the hits.  The jerk chicken sandwich at Roywoods is good eatin’.

Roywoods

It’s quite simple: cocoa bread, jerk chicken, coleslaw, sliced tomato, and onion (I skipped the onion, because raw onions are the worst and why anyone thinks differently will forever baffle me).

You can’t really tell from the picture, but the jerk chicken is abundant, and it’s perfectly cooked.  I wish it were a bit spicier (it has a mild kick, but not much more than that) but the satisfying jerk flavour makes up for the lack of spice.

Roywoods

The only real issue is the slightly stale cocoa bread, but there was so much moisture from the saucy coleslaw and the juicy chicken that the dryness of the bread was just barely an issue.  Eating it is definitely a multiple napkin experience.

Roywoods

I tried a couple of sides as well.  The fried plantains had a nice combo of crispy and creamy, and the callaloo — featuring flavourful, tender greens — was just as good.

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.

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.