Sam Woo BBQ 三和燒臘麵家 (Toronto)

Having been in business for over a quarter of a century, Sam Woo BBQ in Scarborough is doing something right. For one, they encourage employee loyalty – their head chef has worked with the restaurant almost since the beginning, ensuring consistent food quality.

Upon entering the restaurant, the sweet smell of roasted meat greets me like a welcoming hug. Their sizeable BBQ section displays their delicious offerings promising of delights to come. Their restaurant is a popular spot for takeout and during key Chinese holidays expect a queue as people can’t wait to get their hands on crispy roasted pork and duck (some of the best in the city).

What attracts me most to the restaurant is their roast duck ($12 for a two roast meat combination). Not to be confused with the Peking duck variety that’s sliced and wrapped, the meat and skin is meant to be eaten together in this dish. Sam Woo’s duck is outstanding with a fragrant five spice and sweet soy marinade; there’s such a great flavour that you’ll want to suck the bones to get every last essence out. The fat is well rendered leaving only a thin layer between skin and meat and adding a lovely gloss to the skin.

Their BBQ pork is also some of the best – a thin roasted barque ring, sweet & savoury glaze, and a wonderful garlicky essence. Moist and full of flavour, this is comfort food for me. You can welcomed to request the pork lean, half and half or fattier to suit your tastes. Their lean version is tender and juicy, but if you want something richer, the half and half version is great.   

Sam Woo’s non-BBQ dishes aren’t outstanding, but are a consistent respectable quality. Their fresh whole steamed tilapia with ginger and green onions is a steal at $11.88. For an additional $2, the fish can be deep fried or steamed with black bean sauce, preserved vegetables, or dried fruit peel & Chinese mushrooms.

For a well-rounded meal one of their stir-fried seasonal vegetables (typically $12) is a good choice. The water spinach is a great blend of crunchy stems and soft leaves. Stir fried with fermented tofu (has a salty slight alcoholic essence) and chilli slivers is my favourite combination.

With outposts in Mississauga and Southern California, it’s a long standing family-run chain. Their Scarborough outpost is a respected favourite of my family with roasted duck that leaves me wanting just one more piece.

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 375 Bamburgh Circle

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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