Quick Bites: King’s Tacos, Bakerbots Baking, Hanyang Jokbal

King's Tacos
Tacos at King’s Tacos

The most interesting thing about the tacos at Kings Tacos might just be the way they serve them — an order comes with a very generous platter of meat (in this case the King’s Special, which comes with pork, beef, chorizo, onion, bacon, and cheese) and tortillas on the side, and you build it yourself.  It’s interesting, and it’s a great value, because that pile of meat is not kidding around.  That’s not to mention the very generous bowl of free (and tasty!) tortilla chips and sauces that comes with the meal.  It’s not just a good value, however: it’s quite tasty, too.

Bakerbots
Cinnamon Bun at Bakerbots Baking

I’ve heard the cinnamon bun at Bakerbots referred to as one of the best in the city, and yeah, that sounds about right.  It’s absolutely fantastic, with a slightly crispy exterior and a gooey (but not overly gooey and sweet, like a Cinnabon) interior.  The pastry itself is top-notch, with a nice chewy texture and a flavour that ensures that the cinnamon bun isn’t just one-note sweet.  Is it the best in the city?  It could be!

Hanyang Jokbal
Jokbal at Hanyang Jokbal

I mean, look at that glorious pile of pork.  Do you even need me to say anything?  Jokbal is a Korean dish featuring braised pig trotters; I tried the half and half, which is half jokbal and half bossam (pork belly, if I recall correctly).  You eat it wrapped in lettuce with some of the tasty sides and condiments on the table, and yeah.  It’s delicious.  Again: look at it.

Tasty Korean Stew at Insadong

Insadong
Location
: 4941 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.insadongrestaurant.com/

When you’re in the mood, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a hearty, flavourful, bubbling hot Korean stew.

(Well okay fine, as a person who generally doesn’t like food to be so hot that you’re at risk of burning yourself, I could do without the “bubbling hot” part — but since the hot stone bowl is part of the package, I guess I’ll allow it.)

Insadong

I ordered the ugeojikug, which the menu describes as “cabbage hangover soup made in a beef broth with rice.”

It’s very good.  The soup is absolutely crammed with cabbage and sliced beef, and the broth is slightly spicy and profoundly beefy.  The beef was a bit on the tough side, but everything else is so tasty that this is never a particularly big deal.  In particular, the soup itself has a very satisfying beefy flavour; they could have served that broth on its own and I would have left happy.

Delicious Pork Bone Soup at Mapo Gamjatang

Mapo GamjatangLocation: 4916 Yonge Street, North York
Website: https://www.mapocanada.com/

Gamjatang (A.K.A. pork bone soup) is one of those dishes that might sound a bit intimidating on paper, since the bones in question come from the spine of the pig, which isn’t exactly a common cut of meat.  But it’s so good.

Mapo Gamjatang

(I was about to say “done well, it’s so good” but then I realized that I’ve never had a bad version of this dish.  I’m sure they’re out there, but I guess it’s hard to completely mess up, because it’s always tasty.)

Mapo Gamjatang

The version at Mapo Gamjatang was especially delicious, with a super flavourful broth and surprisingly generous (and ultra-tender) chunks of pork.  Sometimes you have to work hard to find the meat on the bones in this dish, but this particular version featured a shocking amount of tasty pork.  It’s delightful.

Mapo Gamjatang

It’s a great deal, too.  The regular bowl (large is an option, but trust me, regular is plenty) costs 13 bucks and comes with a generous (and tasty) assortment of banchan.

Tasty Treats at Kevin’s Taiyaki

Kevin's TaiyakiLocation: 333 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside PAT Supermarket)
Website: None

Kevin’s Taiyaki is inside the PAT Supermarket in Mississauga, which is a pretty trippy place to visit.  It’s basically like stepping through a portal into South Korea.  When I went, every other person — both customer and employee — was Korean, and the only language I heard spoken was Korean.  PAT has a downtown location as well, but I’ve never quite had the same experience there.

I have a definite fondness for South Korea (I think it’s an underrated travel destination), so that was delightful.

Kevin's Taiyaki

Like the downtown PAT, there’s a location of Kevin’s Taiyaki right inside the supermarket, which specializes in red bean or custard filled pastries.

I got the red bean, and it was very, very good.  It was freshly made, with a nice crispy exterior, fluffy pastry (if you’ve never had taiyaki before, it’s extremely waffle-like), and a delicious red bean filling.  The red bean had a restrained level of sweetness and a chunky (but still smooth) texture that was extremely satisfying.

Kevin's Taiyaki

Taiyaki is one of those dishes that’s very simple and rarely bad, but difficult to do really well.  Kevin’s Taiyaki does it really well.

Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich at Porchetta & Co.

Porchetta and Co - Korean Fried ChickenLocation: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Website: https://porchettaco.com/

Though the fried chicken sandwich at Porchetta & Co. used to be one of the best in the city, sadly, I think those days are long gone.  The last few I’ve had have been nothing too memorable — and that includes the Korean fried chicken sandwich, one of their recent specials.

The sandwich, per their menu: “Sweet & Spicy Korean Chili Sauce, Lettuce, Pickles, Kimchi, Cilantro, Green Onion Lime Mayo, Milk Bun.”

It was fine.  It certainly wasn’t out-and-out bad; the rich mayo and the sweet chili sauce are a tasty combo, and the pickles and the kimchi do a good job of cutting through the richness.  I wish it had been spicier (the spice level was basically at a vague tingle), but it was tasty enough for what it was.

The chicken was a bit of an issue, however.  It wasn’t quite as crispy as you’d like, and the meat itself was pretty tough.

The bun was probably decent at some point, but it was stale and dry.

Though I didn’t hate eating it, the sandwich added up to a whole bunch of meh.  I think I’ll probably stick with the porchetta from now on, which is still great.