Location: 65 Front Street West, Toronto (inside Union Station)
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’.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 1133 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
It’s hard to go wrong with a good banh mi; it’s cheap, filling, and delicious. And yes, Banh Mi Saigon serves a good one.
The menu’s pretty basic — they have seven different types of banh mi, and they all cost $3.50. I went with the assorted, which comes with the usual medley of Vietnamese cold cuts, pate, and pickled veg.
Nothing about it particularly jumped out at me, but for $3.50 for a hefty sandwich, it’s hard to complain too much.
I will complain a little bit, though. In particular, there’s so little pate that I couldn’t even taste it, the cold cuts were ho-hum, and the bread pretty much wrecked the roof of my mouth (though it was otherwise fresh and tasty).
Still, it was a tasty sandwich; it just wasn’t anything too mind-blowing.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s many times on this blog, so I’ll make this brief.
Most importantly: yes, their fried chicken is just as good as ever. And the restaurant was packed (the other times I’ve visited it’s been half full at best), so I think the word is finally getting out that Chica’s is doing something amazing.
The sweet heat has been an occasional special up to this point, but they’ve recently added it onto the regular menu. It is predictably delicious.
It’s maybe borderline too sweet, but it’s balanced out quite well by the vinegary bite of the pickled jalapenos. It’s probably my least favourite thing on the menu, but that says more about the deliciousness of everything on offer here than it does about this particular sandwich. It’s still incredibly good.
It’s the fried chicken itself. It’s magical. The contrast between the perfectly crunchy exterior and the juicy interior is the stuff dreams are made of. If you like fried chicken and you haven’t tried Chica’s yet, you’re living your life wrong.
Location: 3447 Kennedy Road, Scarborough
Ming’s Noodle Cafe is a Hong-Kong-style diner; it’s also one of those restaurants with a multi-page menu with literally hundreds of choices. If you’re not sure what to order, the All Day Special is a safe bet, and an absolutely incredible deal.
For the almost absurdly low price of 7.45, you get an egg sandwich or an omelette with toast on the side, a main meal, and a drink. It’s an insane deal.
Is the food amazing? No, it definitely isn’t; but for that price how can you complain?
And it’s certainly not bad. I started with the egg sandwich, which features a tasty, buttery omelette between two fluffy slices of white bread. The eggs were slightly overcooked, but it was a respectable sandwich.
Next up was the beef with satay sauce on vermicelli soup. This was fine; the beef is tender, and the satay sauce is tasty enough. Nothing about it particularly stands out… until you add a heaping amount of the chili sauce they have on the table, then it really comes alive.
I wish that sauce were a bit spicier (it’s surprisingly mild) but it’s otherwise sweet, savoury, and addictive, with a face-punch of satisfying flavours. You can buy a jar to take home for six bucks, and you’d better believe I bought one.
Location: 796 Burnhamthorpe Road West, Mississauga
The Maple & Cheddar Chicken was a pleasant surprise. “Maple” being so prominent in the name of the sandwich, I sort of figured it would be way too sweet. And yeah, it was sweet. But the sweetness feels relatively well tuned.
The Maple & Cheddar Chicken comes topped with maple mustard sauce, “mayo-style sauce,” cheddar cheese, crispy onions, tomato, and lettuce.
It pretty tasty, though the maple mustard sauce is basically all maple with a tiny bit of mustard. It’s a glaze. It’s incredibly mapley, and hardly mustardy at all.
But the salty chicken, cheddar, and crispy onions all do a pretty decent job of balancing out the sweetness. It works.
Also: put crispy onions on everything, please. They’re delicious and enhance basically everything they’re on. Well, maybe not on dessert, but hey –who knows? Crispy onions on a sundae? Might work. I can’t rule it out.