This is the first in a series of posts about Toronto’s many culturally diverse neighbourhoods. Toronto is a melting pot of nationalities and culture and no where is this more evident than in Chinatown. Surprisingly, there is not one but six different Chinese-Canadian communities in Toronto, but today we will discuss the largest and probably best known, the area that surrounds Dundas and Spadina streets.
Walking around Chinatown you very quickly feel completely immersed in the culture and almost forget that you are in Toronto. All of your senses are stimulated hearing the various dialects spoken as you stroll down Spadina Street, its shops and sidewalks filled with crates and tables loaded with various fruits and Chinese delicacies such as salted dried fish or dried mushrooms. The wind chimes sound as you walk in the doors of the small shops with signs all in Chinese that appear to sell everything. Insider Tip: this is a great place to find beautiful sushi dishes or lovely Chinese tea pots at a very good price. Window shopping takes on a whole new meaning when you see a roasted duck or pig hanging in a window.
Whether you want Szechuan, Cantonese or any other Asian or Chinese restaurant you are likely to find it here in Chinatown and usually with a large pot of steaming Chinese tea. My favorite is Dim Sum (meaning “touch the heart”) which is best described as a dining experience. Steamed or fried and served in small portions (usually 3-4 pieces) with associated sauces the textures are sure to assault your palate. It can be a little intimating when a steaming carts stops at your table filled with plates of these unusual looking delicacies. Don’t be surprised that the waiter speaks little on no English except for ‘pork, shrimp or vegetable dumpling’. Our best advise is to go with someone who has been to a dim sum restaurant before or be adventurous and dig in with your chopsticks. Insider tip: you might want to pass on the chicken feet.
We would love to hear about your favourite Chinatown restaurant.