Showing posts with label lobster chow mein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lobster chow mein. Show all posts

Hong Shing (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices (before 20% discount) and may be higher when using third party delivery services

There are a lot of great restaurants in North York/Midtown. Even so, sometimes I miss the options from downtown. With the dazzling array of choices and most offering delivery, eating diversely is not a problem for those south of Bloor.

Given the density of the downtown core, it’s no surprise that the delivery radius cuts off homes north of Yorkville. Sometimes, the area may expand to Eglinton, but the outer Toronto regions are deserted. Hence, Hong Shing’s pop-up deliveries to the outskirts of Toronto and beyond (Mississauga, Brampton) are such a blessing. The cities vary by day (check their website or Instagram), but place you order by 4pm and you’ll receive free delivery and they even honour the 20% online discount. 

What really captured my attention was the promise of fresh lobsters for the weekend. Between that and Chinese barbeque – two things I don’t make at home – I had a two-month long craving that yearned to be satisfied. So, dinner plans were changed and that evening we were having Chinese!

The pièce de résistance was of course the lobster e-fu noodles ($35). How they managed to jam so much food into a single container is staggering – even after eating two portions each there was still plenty of leftovers.

Despite travelling all the way from downtown to North York, the lobster remained surprisingly hot and not overcooked. Perhaps the flour coating the crustacean was a bit gluier than normal (note to chef: maybe only dust lightly?) but was still very satisfying. Even the e-fu noodles held-up nicely and didn’t become soggy, likely the better delivery option compared to chow mein.

Families regularly get Chinese barbeque to go, so it wasn’t a surprise that the roast pork ($15) and duck ($15 for half) delivered well. Without the diluted hoisin sauce, the pork just wasn’t the same, but the skin still crispy despite it being a rather lean cut. Meanwhile, the duck could have done without the liberal ladle of sauce into the container - that extra moisture rendered the skin soggy and made it so salty that adding any plum sauce would be overpowering.

The Chinese barbeque did work well as leftovers for the following days. Using the popular “KFC rice cooker” recipe as inspiration, the roast pork went into the rice cooker with 2-cups of rice, a teaspoon of bouillon, and a tablespoon of soy sauce to be transformed into a fragrant sticky rice and tenderized the lean meat. And after re-heating the duck in the toaster oven, it was combined with chewy noodles and broth for a tasty dinner.

Dishes that didn’t fair well for the drive were the honey spicy crispy beef ($14) and the deep-fried spicy squid ($14). Once they lost their heat it became dry and powdery and even re-eating them in the toaster oven only marginally improved the dishes. At least the spicy honey sauce on the beef was well flavoured; the spicy squid, on the other hand, needed a lot more seasoning.

It’s surprising that the squid wasn’t spicier considering Hong Shing’s hot and sour soup ($7 for a medium; equivalent of two bowls) was a flavour bomb! Whether it’s the sting of the vinegar or the kick of chili flakes, this was a great rendition of the soup incorporating plenty of tofu, vegetable slivers, and bamboo shoots.

Stir fried snow pea leaves ($14) is another quarantine craving of mine. The leafy vegetable is impossible to source through supermarket delivery and curb-side pickup, so I was elated when a packed container arrived. The neutral vegetable was an ideal pairing with the other heavier dishes.

Hong Shing’s online ordering system allows customers to choose whether they need cutlery, an option I hope all restaurants implement. Yet, whoever is packing the order doesn’t seem to care as our arrived with plastic cutlery and extra sauces anyways. For someone who is trying to reduce waste when dining under the “new normal” conditions, I really really would have preferred not to receive something that could be saved from the landfill.

We all need to do our part during this epidemic. Customers should support small businesses to ensure they continue and survive. Restaurants, please also consider your footprint on the environment and reduce unnecessary waste and packaging whenever possible. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 195 Dundas Street West
 Delivery: self-delivery, Uber, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
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 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 - wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

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Congee Queen 皇后名粥 (Scarborough)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 3850 Sheppard Avenue East (in Agincourt Mall)
Type of Meal: Dinner

The “wife” restaurant to the Congee Wong chain is the newer and larger Congee Queen. With a menu branching outside the normal Cantonese dishes, it also offers items such as pad thai (if you like the ketchup variety) and pho (never had it myself but the picture looks nothing like the pho I love).

There’s also a BBQ meat section that churns out dishes that look on point. I’ve tried the BBQ duck with thick vermicelli in soup ($7.25). The noodles (lai fun) are thicker than vermicelli and tastes nothing like it; they’re a non-doughy texture and resists getting soft. The BBQ duck, although well flavoured, was chewy and difficult to bite through. Needless to say, BBQ meats isn’t something I’ll be going back to order.

Despite their extensive menu, I normally go for the tried and true favourites – congee, rice noodles with beef, Singapore fried vermicelli, stir fried turnip cakes and salt & pepper fried squid. All are great and arrive in huge portions, sure to satisfy crowds.

If you’re with at least four people, I’d suggest ordering the seafood and chicken with wintermelon super bowl congee ($10.25), a great combination of ingredients. When I go with less people, we stick with the small bowls. Something simple like the sliced beef congee ($5.50) allows you to enjoy the thick smooth congee. The beef, although boiled, has been tenderized so that it resists becoming tough.

During a recent visit, I felt like something different. After all, with such a wide-ranging menu they must have other items worth a try. With a craving for lobster, the lobster chow mein ($20.95) seemed to be a good choice – crispy noodles topped with a full lobster. Stir fried in the traditional ginger and green onion sauce, the dusting of flour over each piece was a tad thick. But, once you got through it, the lobster itself was nice and tasted fresh. Moreover, the noodles were thin and remained crispy due to the thicker sauce.

Based on the picture, you likely won’t be able to tell there are a decent number of pieces of soft shell crab in their fried rice ($11.75). But, buried under the mound of well flavoured rice are lightly fried chunks of soft shell crab. Personally, I find that this relatively flavourless crustacean requires more spices or sauce to enhance it so it was a tad bland in the rice. Also, if you’re going to order this, make sure you finish all the crab in the restaurant, while it’s fresh, as it becomes mushy once reheated.

To round out the meal, a dish of simple but nicely prepared yu choy (a leafy vegetable) stir fried with beef ($10.75). I must commend Congee Queen on preparing their vegetables – they always seem so well trimmed and cooked perfectly.

If you’re looking for plain vegetables, their gai lan with oyster sauce ($5.95) satisfies and is a reasonable price.

Congee Wong will always be my go-to carb filled restaurant. But, with more and more locations opening, it’s just so convenient to head to Congee Queen! So, grab a group of people or be prepared to have a lot of leftovers. The price and selection makes it such a great everyday place to visit. 

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!