The Not-So Starving Student—Toronto Food Tour

Toronto is a major hub of eastern Canada and arguably a Northern gem on the North American continent. Situated on the banks of Lake Ontario, the city boasts some of the most gorgeous skylines, nightlife and of course, incredible food around every corner. Having wandered around Toronto the past weekend, I had a chance to explore some unique, renowned joints in the city. For AU student foodies, here’s some bargain eats that are worth every penny!

Day 1:

Jackpot chicken – Hainan Chicken Rice

The first day, I was fortunate to have had friends take me on a small tour of downtown Toronto where the food scene was spectacular. Around every corner, I could spot local burrito joints, ramen stops and ethnic cuisines of every variety. The benefits of living in a large city like Toronto or Vancouver is the diversity and authenticity of food available. No longer will you have to walk into “fusion cuisines” where your food tastes no more authentic than a knock off of every cultural cuisine.

Hainanese chicken is a traditional cuisine in Southern China. The chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender and serve alongside rice that have fragrant spices and oils that isn’t your regular white rice. Our party of six had a combo meal that was shared. Besides the chicken, we tried their multiple appetizers from fried chicken skin to their hot plate shrimp.

Origination Noodle – Rice vermicelli

The rice vermicelli was served in a unique clay pot. Vermicelli is a favorite among many South East Asian cultures from Vietnam to Laos. This noodle house features only vermicelli noodle dishes, so I thought it would be an authentic place to try vermicelli. I loved the ability to select your own toppings and broth. In this picture, I chose the beef noodle broth with enoki mushrooms and beef slices.

Day 2:

GB Lanzhou Hand-pulled noodles – Beef hand pulled noodles

Having heard excellent feedback about this pulled noodle joint, I decided to make the trek to downtown Toronto again. This time, I walked alone in the -20 degrees weather from one end of downtown Toronto to the other. However, my walk was well worth my time. The noodles could be customized to the width preferred. I could also watch the master pulling the noodles with his bare hands from where I sat. The noodles were delicious and definitely worth the trip.

Hot Star Taiwanese Fried Chicken – Original fried chicken

About a year ago, while on vacation in Taiwan, I came across the same joint on a mobile food cart. The street-side wonder had long lineups of foodies so I decided to check their fried chicken out. I didn’t fully realize the impact this chicken would have on my life. Since that visit, I have been dreaming of fried chicken and even attempted recreating this feat in my own kitchen. Luckily, I was able to find the exact food vendor in Toronto. Undoubtedly, the massive fried chicken larger than the size of my face was very authentic. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Day 3:

Sansotei Ramen – Tonkotsu black ramen

Again on the third day, I was bent on finding the best ramen in Toronto when I came across a thread on Reddit. I noticed at least ten people were raving about this local ramen joint. I had all the reasons to explore before I flew back to Edmonton later that day. The ramen joint was well decorated, the ambience was welcoming and, most of all, the bowl of ramen was possibly the best I’ve had in my entire foodie career. I ordered the tonkotsu black, a favorite for many customers. The pork bone soup instantly warmed my body while walking in the Toronto cold. The pork belly was tender and flavorful. I would absolutely recommend to any ramen-lovers visiting Toronto to stop by this ramen shop.

Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake – Matcha green tea cheesecake

On my way back to my friend’s condo, I came across this famous cheesecake shop. The heavenly scent of freshly baked cheesecake was in the air and I had to make a stop. The cafe was busy and many customers walked out in the most adorable cheesecake packaging I had ever seen. The matcha green tea cheesecake was fluffy without being overly rich.