Showing posts with label siu mei. Show all posts
Showing posts with label siu mei. Show all posts

East Court & Mike's BBQ (Toronto) 怡東燒臘 for takeout

When one thinks of barbeque, images of burgers and hot dogs may come to a North American mind. Across the world, it means so much more. Such as, fragrant jerk chicken or spit-fired whole hogs. Since a young age, I’ve associated barbeque with siu mei, which translates from Cantonese as ‘roasted ends’, an odd description as in reality the animals are prepared and presented in it’s whole form.

Walk inside an establishment like East Court and Mike’s BBQ and you’ll see glistening roasted carcasses hanging from a stainless-steel wall. It’s a sobering moment that reminds you of what you’re eating. If you’re a vegetarian, wait in the car.

Chinese barbeque pork or cha shiu ($8.99 per lb) is probably the most widely known form of siu mei and is the dish I loved as a child. The easiest to eat, since there are no bones, it’s flavoured with a youth-friendly slightly sweet glaze, it’s the dish I must try at every shop.

Requesting a "half fat half lean" piece, the cut is a little oily when eaten on its own, but once mixed with hot rice, is oh so delicious as the fat melts into the grains. Plus, the roasted pork is much moister. I enjoyed East Court’s thicker cuts – when you place a slice in your mouth, you get a lovely meaty bite that's a bit like steak. Their glaze has a balanced sweetness and was applied generously but not so thick that it tastes like it's dipped in corn syrup.

The roasted duck ($11 for half) was cut nicely, each piece roughly the same thickness and so deftly prepared that it easily reforms the animal’s shape in the container. This was also nicely marinated, so it didn’t require plum sauce, the duck juices enough to satisfy providing a wonderful savoury star anise taste.

For a smaller portion of fowl, their barbeque chicken legs ($3 each; two shown in the picture) is a great add on. These are glazed with a thinner version of the cha shiu sauce giving it a little bit of sweetness. Of course, the ginger and green onion oil will completely change the flavours of the dish and is such a great condiment with chicken.  

East Court and Mike’s BBQ is an example of why you should purchase siu mei from a professional roaster and not just some Asian supermarket: the flavours are well-rounded so the meats can be enjoyed solo without any condiments, never too sweet or salty so that it overpowers the protein; and items are cut with a uniform thickness so that each piece is the perfect bite-sized morsel.

Next time you’re in the mood for “barbeque” expand the definition and look beyond burgers and ribs. Check out a siu mei restaurant for a different spin. Plus, professional roasters are set-up as take-out only shops, which bodes well with our current COVID dining restrictions.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4400 Sheppard Avenue East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -
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!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this: