Location: 55 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
They sell Taiwanese-style wheel cakes at Formocha (which are essentially pancakes that are cooked in a circular mold with a sweet filling) and they’re mostly pretty good. But there are a couple of issues.
The first (and biggest) issue? Red bean wasn’t a filling choice, at least when I went. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to deduct about a million points for its absence. I mean, come on. It’s the classic filling. Red bean or GTFO.
I wound up trying custard, and Oreo custard. They were both tasty enough, but (and here’s the second issue) the custard tasted off. There was something weird about it, with an almost fruity flavour that was vaguely off-putting.
The Oreo was much better — rather than the chunks that you might expect, it was filled with an entire cookie, which was surprisingly delightful.
Plus, the cakes themselves were super fresh (they cook them to order), with a slightly crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. They were good, but… come on. Red bean. Give it to me.
Location: 3255 Highway 7, Markham
Though there are a ton of amazing restaurants in the First Markham plaza, you’re going to have a hard time topping Mei Nung Beef Noodle House, which specializes in Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
The beef and beef tendon noodle soup is where it’s at. You can choose from rice noodles, glass noodles, or homemade noodles, and the choice is clear — you’ve gotta get the homemade noodles. They’re thick and hearty, with an amazingly satisfying level of chewiness. They’re so good.
But then everything about this bowl is so good. The broth is ridiculous: it’s beefy, zippy, and immensely flavourful.
You think it can’t possibly get any better, and then you add a spoonful of their wonderfully smoky chili oil, and lo and behold — it gets better.
The chunks of beef are super tasty and enormously tender, though the tendons are the real star of the show. They’re so perfectly cooked that they’re essentially like meat butter. They’re soft and unctuous and amazing.
They’re also super tasty; they do an impressive job of absorbing all of the seasoning in the soup. They’re squishy, melt-in-your-mouth flavour bombs.
It all adds up to a bowl of noodle soup that’s easily one of the best in the GTA. I challenge you to find a substantially better bowl of beef noodle soup — even with a plane ticket to Taiwan.