Zunyan Fine Dining & Banquet 樽宴大酒楼 (Toronto)

If you’re in the mood for dim sum on a weekday, consider Zunyan Fine Dining & Banquet where any small, medium, or large dish is only $5 for the entire lunch period. Order before 11:00am on weekends and the price inches up to $5.25.

Their sui mai with fish roe (L) is solid with authentic flavours and the pork not overly pulverized. Just break into it before eating as they were not cooked through on one of my visits.

Oddly, the har gow is considered an XL and therefore not included in the special. But, if you’re a fan of shrimp dumplings, the shrimp and chive dumplings (L) is a close substitute. Moreover, the filling is heavy on the shrimp and skimps on the vegetable anyways. It’s a run-of-the-mill version of the dish with the wrapper slightly to thick and sticky.

It’s a similar story with the BBQ pork and egg rice roll (M), which has big chunks of barbeque pork, but lacks flavour. The rice roll wrapper isn’t consistently prepared: one visit it was too thick and another still thick but at least silkier.

If you prefer a thinner cheung fun, the fish paste with parsley and preserved egg rice roll (L) fits the bill and the filling a combination seldom found elsewhere.

Zunyan’s shrimp balls (L) remind of me of a crab claw without the crab. Hot, crispy, and juicy these are delicious! Just be aware that the crispy vermicelli noodles pieces coating it are not always used.

The shrimp balls are much better than the pan-fried shrimp with corn cake (L), which is really fish paste studded with shrimp pieces. Sadly, it also lacks corn… an ingredient that adds texture to an otherwise overly soft patty.

While there’s a fair amount of mushrooms in the tofu skin roll (M), there isn’t a lot of other vegetables and relies on vermicelli instead. At least they were well toasted to give it that crunch you need.

I prefer the steamed bean curd meat roll with oyster sauce (M) that encapsulates more filling. Big chunks of pork, shrimp, and vegetables are wrapped in the flavourful bean curd sheets. Having ordered this several times, the dish stays consistent and always satisfies.

The shrimp paste and squid with vermicelli (L) is rarely found at dim sum restaurants, even though it was a staple in the past. While the dish isn’t heavy on the shrimp paste, it’s flavourful enough and the vermicelli soaks in all the juices and almost melts into the other ingredients. Sadly, in recent months the squid seems to have been taken off the menu… hopefully, it’ll make a reappearance.  

For a filling dish, the preserved egg with minced pork congee (L) arrives as a huge bowl and has a decent amount of ingredients. While the congee base could be saltier, it is accompanied by green onions and crispy wonton bits for colour and crunch.

Zunyan’s wrapped chicken with egg yolk and cilantro sticky rice (L) are larger arriving two to an order. However, it’s mostly rice with a bit of salty duck egg and meat. Overall, nothing really stood out and it was too dense. Having it with the steamed shiitake and chicken (L) is ideal. At least the chicken is marinated longer and flavourful enough to cut through the big chunks of rice.

If you can get past the overly oily wrapper on the fried chicken dumpling (M), it is crispy and stuffed with chunks of chicken, diced mushrooms, and green onion. For me, I found this was too oil logged and heavy.

In terms of dessert, sharing the golden mango sago (M) is a perfect finish. The sago isn’t overly large and just sweet enough to satisfy. The real mango pieces are also a nice touch.

I find the mango sago more satisfying than the black sesame glutinous rice balls (L), which wasn’t sugary enough. Ultimately, it tastes more like a nutty sticky rice ball than dessert.

Zunyan’s dining room is spacious, but even so, I recommend arriving before 11:00am on weekdays to avoid waiting. Tables of two will need to be okay with dining beside others as the small tables are set very close. There’s no privacy with dim sum.        

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: fried shrimp balls and bean curd meat roll with oyster sauce
  • Just skip: pan fried shrimp corn cake and fried chicken dumpling

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 648 Silver Star Boulevard

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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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