Location: 8362 Kennedy Road, Unionville
Big Beef Bowl is another place that serves fresh, chewy noodles, which means I’m pretty much going to love it by default. I’m very easy to please when it comes to a big bowl of delicious noodles.
I got the braised beef brisket noodles, which comes with your choice from six types of noodles: round or flat, with three thicknesses each. I got the round noodles in a medium thickness. And they were great — they might have been ever-so-slightly too soft, but they were otherwise hearty and chewy and satisfying.
The soup itself wasn’t anything too special, but it got the job done. It was a bit spicy by default, but was improved immeasurably by a few hearty spoonfuls of the chili oil they’ve got on the table. You always have to be careful with that particular condiment, because depending on the place, its spiciness ranges from a moderate tingle to volcano hot. The one at Big Beef Bowl isn’t particularly spicy, but it has a satisfying toasty flavour that really improves the soup.
There were also several chunks of fatty, immensely tender beef brisket. I could have eaten a whole pile of these.
Location: 8360 Kennedy Road, Markham (inside New Kennedy Square Food Court)
Every other ice cream joint in the city now serves Hong Kong-style waffles. It’s a combo that came out of nowhere and absolutely exploded. And while I don’t think that Wooffles & Cream were the first to do it in the GTA (pretty sure Bang Bang got there first), they certainly helped popularize it.
It’s still great. They have a few different flavours of waffle that you can try; I went with the sticky toffee pudding, which is a standard waffle filled with sweet cakey chunks of the aforementioned dessert.
The waffle itself was as delicious as ever, with a nice crispy exterior and a creamy interior. The bits of sticky toffee pudding were quite tasty, though they were dryer than you’d like, and not quite as sticky and sweet as you might hope from that particular dessert.
There were also a few chewy mochi bits interspersed throughout, which were an interesting addition.
The ice cream itself (I got vanilla — earl gray was also an option) was nothing special, but the quality is decent and it’s certainly an addictive combo with the waffle.
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: 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham (inside Pacific Mall)
There are few things that are more satisfying than a really good bowl of chewy, hand-made noodles. And Sun’s Kitchen in the Pacific Mall definitely knows how to do it.
If you come at the right time, you can see the noodle maker doing his thing; he pulls the dough again and again and again until a thick piece becomes a handful of noodles, almost as if by magic. It’s the work of a man who has clearly spent years mastering his craft, and it’s a sight that’s as hypnotic as it is impressive.
I’ve been here at least a dozen times, and I order the same thing every time: noodles with spicy pork. I’m occasionally tempted to order something else, but the spicy pork is so damn good, and I don’t come here enough to mess around.
It’s an exceptionally simple dish; it’s just spicy ground pork, a whole bunch of noodles, and some sliced cucumber to cut the richness and the heat of the pork.
It’s outstanding. The pork is salty, spicy, and intense. It’s the perfect foil for the amazingly chewy noodles.
It comes with a cup of sweet, citrusy soy milk. I didn’t like it at first, but now I can’t get enough. It also comes with a bowl of bland soup that I’m not crazy about. I keep meaning to tell them to hold the soup, but I always forget.
Location: 4261 Highway 7, Unionville
Is eggs benedict still eggs benedict if you don’t include the hollandaise sauce? Traditionally, that dish consists of an english muffin topped with meat (usually ham or bacon), a poached egg, and hollandaise.
That’s four things; the hollandaise is 25 percent of the dish. How far can you change something until it’s no longer that thing? Is it still spaghetti and meatballs if you replace the tomato sauce with alfredo? Probably not!
Which is to say that I just ordered the Smash Benedict from Smash Kitchen, and they replaced the hollandaise with gravy. To be fair, they also have a traditional eggs benedict on the menu, so that does kinda give them license to mess around with it in their other offerings.
The problem is, I missed the hollandaise. This particular benedict featured an english muffin topped with pulled pork, cheese, the standard poached egg, and the aforementioned gravy. The pulled pork was tossed in a very vinegary barbecue sauce that, while tasty, absolutely dominated the dish.
A heaping serving of creamy hollandaise might have helped to cut the vinegary sharpness of the pork, but the gravy was completely lost. It may as well have not even been there. I had to eat most of this with some hash browns to help mellow out that strong barbecue sauce flavour.
Still, it certainly wasn’t bad, and the crispy fried hash browns were a very tasty accompaniment. But if I came back, I’d probably just stick with the classic benedict (there was also a crab cake benedict that looked tasty, and yes — that one had hollandaise on it).