Showing posts with label Hong Kong style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong style. Show all posts

Full House Dessert (Toronto)

Someone should run a Toronto food tour for Asian desserts. It would be a manageable walk; along Yonge between Sheppard Avenue and just north of Empress Walk are at least ten options. There’s Japanese cheesecakes, Taiwanese shaved ice, and now Hong Kong style desserts as Richmond Hill’s Full House Desserts opened a second location in the city.

Like the other establishments in the Emerald Tower, it’s a cozy shop that’s grab-and-go. If you can’t wait, there are plenty of tables in the food court to indulge in the sweets.

Full House Desserts offers a variety of confections that are popular in Hong Kong. Their Full House sago ($7.49) is a take on the mango pomelo sago made popular by HK’s Lei Garden.  The tropical base consists of blended mango enriched with coconut milk and evaporated milk. Small pearls of boiled sago are added, which thickens the base and creates a smooth and slippery texture to the tongue.

Still rather fluid, cubes of mango and pomelo slivers are added into the milky mixture. Unfortnately, mango can be a hit or miss fruit. When you’re in Thailand, they’re simply amazing, but in Canada they simply don’t carry the same panache. Some pieces were sweet and tender while others hard and chewy, not every bite is as great as the last.

The pomelo (a sweeter grapefruit) in the sago makes it even tangier. It’s definitely refreshing, if you’re in the mood for something tropical and light during the summer months. The sago is almost like a chunky smoothie or an acai bowl, for me it’s not rich enough to classify as dessert.

The mango pancake ($8.99 for two) works better as a sweet. Despite the name, it’s really a stuffed crepe than a pancake, each delicious light pillow filled with mango chunks and tons of lightly sweetened whipped cream. The crepe is so airy and delicate that it barely resists being touched… to get it soundly out of the container and onto a plate, a cake lifter is suggested.

You may think two is made for sharing, but the palm-sized pancakes are so tasty and light that you can easily devour them both. A durian version ($10.99) is also available for those that are adventurous and want something really authentic.

I also enjoyed the new black sticky rice with coconut juice ($5.99), especially if you give it time. When eating it fresh from the store, the dessert is very nutty and even has a savoury taste (despite not being salty). A night in the fridge really helps develop it into a dessert: as it gets colder the sweetness intensifies; and the rice soaks up more of the coconut milk and begins to thicken the liquid.

Layers of silky tofu is mixed throughout and against the slightly chewy sticky rice makes for a great contrast. If only I had vanilla ice cream, a small scoop of that added on top would have perfected the sweet. Black sticky rice à la Mode, here we come!

The dishes aren’t very sweet, in typical Hong Kong fashion. After all, one of the biggest compliments for desserts in the city is when people comment that it’s good… because it’s not too sweet.

Perhaps it’s better to praise HK desserts for combining ingredients that aren’t generally thought of as sinfully indulgent, into concoctions can still satisfy a sweet tooth, without feeling heavy. After all, it’s easy to make chocolate, butter, and cream into something tasty, but who would have thought that rice, tofu, and coconut milk can be equally as good?   

Disclaimer: The above desserts were complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4750 Yonge Street

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Full House Desserts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fishman Wharf Seafood 漁人碼頭 (Markham)

When your restaurant’s named Fishman Wharf Seafood, there shouldn’t be customers wandering in hoping to get an amazing sweet and sour pork or sizzling beef plate. Indeed, the establishment’s focus is seafood, but in particular, Alaska king crab, which was a bit of a letdown as I really had a hankering for a lobster tower, without the added expense of the crab, and there little options for the tower without the aforementioned crab royalty.

Moreover, many set meals also includes shark fin and when asked if they can substitute it with something (perhaps crab meat?) the answer is no, but they can serve it on the side so those who would rather not have it can have their rice plain. Substitutions are definitely not encouraged.

You really need a group of at least six people to fully enjoy the restaurant – if you can round up a table of ten, even better. They’re known for their set meals and do offer a la carte dishes, but a tower can easily cost $100 on its own, so purchasing everything piece meal is definitely an expensive choice. Also, the restaurant assumes everyone at the table is a hungry teenager as our lobster seafood set for six ($258) was more than sufficient for seven of us; if we didn’t stuff our faces, the dinner could have even accommodated an eighth, despite the waitress urging us to add on a chicken.

The soup and dessert are the slow boiled varieties, both not overly exciting – pork with leafy dried vegetables for the soup and a papaya with white fungus for dessert - but at least flavourful and hot enough.

What I was there for was the eight pound lobster tower, for an extra $10 we changed the preparation ‘fried garlic’ to ‘Hong Kong style’ having heard it’s much tastier. The later still had tons of garlic, but also incorporated deep fried small whitebait fish and a bit of spice. Overall, a decent dish: the lobster not overdone, enough flavour without completely overpowering the seafood itself, and piping hot.

With a salted egg yolk batter covering the deep fried Vancouver crab, it’s different. At first almost offending, the oily powdery crust grew on me and the rich yolk contrasted well against the sweet crab – not unlike a less salty sharp cheese with seafood.

Despite being named deep fried eel, the ingredient likely only underwent a quick flash fry and then was stir fried with chilies and green onion. Normally, the eel has a gamier taste, but the stronger sauce helped mask this and was a tasty sauce.

Although the clam cooked in wine was rather plain (generally I prefer them stir fried with black bean sauce), after all the heavier deep fried dishes, it was nice to eat a less oily one. It’s a shame you can’t really sip the cooking broth – unless you like the taste of pungent Chinese cooking wine.

The steamed grouper was done in the “traditional” method with Chinese wolfberries (adds a light sour element) and black fungus. Also executed affably, but could use a little more soy sauce.  
Even Fishman’s vegetables incorporate seafood, the boiled yu choy incorporating slivers of dried cuttlefish (?) on top. It’s fine, but didn’t actually help enhance the dish.

To end, a large platter of shark fin fried rice. It wasn’t what I expected - a pyramid of fried rice in a pool of crab meat laced shark fin soup. Despite being morally against the shark fin, I have to admit the dish was delicious. However, with so many other elements, the shark fin really isn’t required; personally, I believe slivers of the spongy soft and crunchy bamboo innards (or jook sun) would be even better with the rice.  

Some things to keep in mind: they take reservations but only for large groups and payment is debit or cash only… not abnormal for Chinese establishments. After the meal, I certainly felt I had my fill of seafood.  Lobster, crab, eel, clams and fish … satisfied.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 4080 Steeles Avenue East

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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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Fishmen Wharf Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato