Mediocre Dim Sum at Planta Queen

Planta QueenLocation: 180 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.plantarestaurants.com/

I just talked about Shanghai Dim Sum, a dim sum restaurant in Richmond Hill that’s both delicious and delightfully affordable.

Planta Queen

Well, Planta Queen serves dim sum on the weekends, and it’s the complete inverse of that — it’s ridiculously expensive and thoroughly mediocre.

Planta Queen

I managed to try a few things, and while nothing was outright unpleasant, everything I tried was an inferior version of something you could get at a dim sum joint or elsewhere.  The dumplings were probably the worst offenders — the various fillings were fine, but the wrappers were flabby and overcooked.

Planta Queen

Adding insult to injury?  They all ranged from 13 to 15 bucks for an order of four.  For 15 bucks, I could get 60 soup dumplings from Shanghai Dim Sum (well, I’m sure they have a limit per table, but you get the idea) — and those dumplings were about a million times better than any of the dumplings here.

Planta Queen

The other things I tried — a dosa, fried mushrooms, dan dan noodles — were all decent enough, but again, they were crazy expensive and thoroughly inferior to the real deal.

Planta Queen

The best thing I had — by far — was the chocolate cake.  The pastry chef here is clearly the real talent in the kitchen, because the cake was abundantly satisfying.  It was rich, fudgy, and slightly fruity, with a deep chocolately flavour.  It was amazing.

Tasty Fried Dumplings at Sang-ji Fried Bao

Sang-ji Fried BaoLocation: 1 Byng Avenue, North York
Website: None

Sang-ji bao are basically like a traditional soup dumpling’s (a.k.a. xiao long bao) more rugged cousin.  They’re pan fried, with a slightly thicker skin and a dark brown crust on the bottom.  Soup dumplings are delicious, but if you want something a bit more hearty, sang-ji bao’s got your back.

And as you’d probably guess from the name, Sang-ji Fried Bao specializes in the stuff.  I was pretty excited to try it.

Sang-ji Fried Bao

We started with the scallion oil noodles, an absolutely delightful flavour-bomb of oily (but not overly greasy) noodles topped with peanuts and fried scallions.  The peanuts offer a nice crunchy contrast to the chewy noodles, and the imposingly dark fried scallions are packed with flavour and immensely satisfying.

I liked this dish even more than the fried dumplings.

Sang-ji Fried Bao

The sang-ji bao were certainly nothing to scoff at — they’re pleasingly porky and packed with scalding hot soup.  The wrapper is a bit too thick, however, and the whole thing is a touch on the bland side.

Sang-ji Fried Bao

Still, it’s got that satisfyingly crispy bottom, and the whole thing is tasty enough, even if it’s not the best version of these things that I’ve ever had.