Showing posts with label yeung chow fried rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yeung chow fried rice. Show all posts

LiWan Kitchen 荔湾肠粉 (Toronto)

Previous rice noodle rolls and congee restaurants I’ve visited have been cozy establishments where tables are practically communal and anyone who’s claustrophobic should avoid them at all costs. Hence, stepping into LiWan Kitchen was a pleasant surprise. Despite the narrow store front, the dining room stretches far into the building and tables are spaciously placed apart. As a bonus, the air conditioning is more than adequate to hold off the heat sweats from eating congee in the summer.

With a full page of rice noodle roll options, we knew this would be a dish that is a must order. Having sampled three, they were all adequately filled and although the wrapper wasn’t as thin as some other specialty restaurants, they were still lighter than what’s generally found at dim sum.

The shrimp and snow pea leaves ($4.50) are evenly distributed amongst each roll with two large shrimp in each and half lined with the slightly crunchy leafy vegetable, which adds colour and a herby taste against the seafood. A vegetarian version replaces the shrimp with prince mushroom slivers ($4.50). While the menu describes it as multi-mushroom with snow pea leaves, there’s really only one fungi, but plenty of it is included in the roll. Plus, being a meatier mushroom with a slight bite, the prince mushroom contrasts nicely against the silky rice wrapper.

How good the dough stick in plain rice noodle roll ($4.50) is depends on the dough fritter. At LiWan Kitchen, it’s warm, very soft, and has a thin crispy crust… a good start to the dish. You’ll just need to ask for more sauce as the little dish they provide is comical (don’t worry, you’ll receive more for free).

I will never look at vegetarian congee the same again, the chestnut and pumpkin ($4) combines the stewed rice with puréed chestnut and pumpkin to give it a vibrant yellow colour and a light earthy finish. Corn kernels are thrown in for a bit of texture, but you will need to add salt as it’s fairly neutral on arrival.

In general, LiWan Kitchen keeps their dishes under seasoned, providing salt at each table so guests can add more. The fried rice with egg, BBQ pork, and shrimp ($9.99; also called yeung chow fried rice) also needed a liberal sprinkling for flavour but was nicely combined with plenty of ingredients. It’s definitely a healthier version of the dish as it’s also less oily than competitors.

If you don’t mind a 20-minute wait, their casserole rice dishes are even better. The pork pancake and BBQ pork ($8.99) topping the rice is fairly run-of-the-mill, but the golden rice crust on the bottom is beautifully crispy – the best part of casserole pot rice, in my opinion. It comes with bowl of bone broth with chayote, hence can be a filling meal for one. 

Having visited LiWan Kitchen on multiple occasions their friendly and efficient service keeps me going back. Surprisingly, customers can even request a complimentary Chinese newspaper at the end of the meal, despite their reasonable prices. I’m just glad I can enjoy these comfort dishes without being squished and leaving in a pool of sweat. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4271 Sheppard 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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