Showing posts with label beef noodle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef noodle. Show all posts

Yunxi Handmade Noodles (Toronto)

If mom and pop restaurants are your jam, Yunxi Handmade Noodles will have you swooning as it’s an intimate establishment. Technically, Yunxi would be considered a mom restaurant as the female owner acts as the Jill of all trades: hostess, chef, server, and cleaner. She’s a sweet lady describing what was freshly prepared for the day (in my case, the noodles) as she rotates between making noodles and preparing dumplings daily.

The broth of the braised beef noodles ($14.99) was salty and strong, as one should expect from a dish that’s essentially beef braised in soy sauce. I liked that Yunxi finishes the freshly made noodles in the soup to allow it to soak in flavours and develop a brownish tint. While there wasn’t a whole lot of beef, the handful of chunks were lean and tender.

Halfway through the meal, the owner returns with a small bowl of extra noodles, asking if we’d like a complementary top-up. Why of course, and into the bowl they go for round two.

My first choice in dumplings (leek, shrimp, and pork) was sold out so we opted for the chicken and mushroom instead ($10.99 for 12). With a choice of preparation - steamed, boiled, or pan fried – I generally order them steamed as I find this leaves the dumplings the most neutral so you can appreciate the filling’s flavours and the consistency of the wrapper.

Unlike the noodles, the dumplings were made previously (at least a couple of days prior) so the wrapper was too hard and chewy. Consequently, I’d recommend asking the owner when things were prepared and if it isn’t fresh, order the dumplings boiled to give the wrapper some extra hydration.

At least the filling was juicy – use a spoon to ensure the juices aren’t lost as they squirt out – and the dumplings were filled with a decent portion of the well seasoned, finely minced chicken and mushrooms.

Yunxi Handmade Noodles is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall: the décor is sparse and the communal steel spoons housed at each table seem unhygienic. Luckily, larger ladles were given after serving the braised noodles so we didn’t need to rely on the dubious spoons. Yet, what Yunxi lacks was more than made up by the friendly owner and the wonderful noodles, a definite highlight to our meal. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4002 Sheppard Ave 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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CLOSED: Kenny's Noodle 聯記麵家 (Scarborough)

Location: Scarborough, Canada
Address: 4733 Steeles Avenue East
Type of Meal: Dinner

Like most foodies I love a good meal, but all too often delicious dishes come with hefty prices. So, for day-to-day lunches and dinners there’s little that’s more affordable and satisfying than a bowl of pho or a stir fried noodles.

My go to place for noodles and congee will always be Congee Wong, but with so many options throughout the GTA offering comparable eats it’s generally location and price that’s more important than name. One bargain chain you should know about is Kenny’s Noodles, where they offer a congee and noodle set meal for only $26.99!

The congee (a Chinese savoury porridge made from rice) is a “super-bowl” size with shredded chicken and abalone (a type of shellfish). We were pleasantly surprised with the sheer amount of sliced chicken and abalone that was in the bowl. Some may find it a tad salty but I found the congee had a great flavour to it and was perfect.

A tried and true favourite, the meal comes with a dish of stir fried beef rice noodles. Although not the best I’ve had, Kenny’s was decent with the noodles retaining their chewiness, well covered with soy sauce and combining well with crunchy bean sprouts and fresh green onions. It would have been nice to have the noodles cook a bit longer to allow the “wok’s essence” to develop; what I generally appreciate most about this dish is the aroma that permeates off the noodles and the essence of Kenny’s was rather muted.

Next is a dish that, in my mind, is the Asian equivalent of polenta fries - stir fried turnip cake with XO sauce. These cubes are plump pieces of turnip laced dough, stir fried so that it develops a crispy crust but soft throughout. Kenny’s sauce was less “XO” and more chili oil so it lacked that rich scent which normally comes with XO sauce, but still quite delicious and had a nice kick. With pieces of chicken and shrimp mixed in with the turnip cake this could be a meal in itself.

Last but not least, a decent portion of poached vegetables with oyster sauce is included with the combo. During our visit, the vegetable was gai lan (a.k.a. Chinese broccoli) a leafy green vegetable with a crunchy sweet stalk. I’ve recently learnt that oyster sauce is actually made from oysters – well really their extract or essence. However, most of the sauce is comprised of sugar and salt making it taste closer to a sweet and salty caramel.

What really impressed me with Kenny’s Noodles was the service. Most congee restaurants are about price and speed, but at Kenny’s we had such a friendly and attentive waitress. She offered us a second bowl (allowing one to hold congee and the other noodles) so the dishes retained their distinct flavours and came by to whisk away empty dishes.

The meal above was more than enough to satisfy three people, possibly four if you’re not too hungry. Although Kenny also offers Cantonese dishes and Chinese-style café meals, their noodles and congee definitely offers some of the best value. The combo above is such a low price that it leaves enough money for foodies to pay for the new norm - $15 cocktails and $150 tasting menus.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

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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!