Mr. Sun's has changed ownership, so while the exterior signage remains the same, the name, the management, and the food are completely different. Jimmy and I visited a few weeks ago to discover that it was now called "Mirage," and the beef noodle soup doesn't taste the same! Sad face.
This is the last post about the Toronto weekend. I got to play around with my camera’s macro function and manual focus feature, and I have to say, the pictures didn’t turn out too badly.
Just before we left Toronto, Jimmy and I checked out a small Taiwanese place called Mr. Sun’s Noodle House in Scarborough that received a pretty good review on the interwebs. He had been craving a bowl of authentic Taiwanese beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵 in Chinese), so off we went.
There were some specials listed on their wall. I’m going to brush up on my rusty pinyin skills and Jimmy is giving a rough translation. I’m not going to bother trying to look for the Chinese text, since it’s here in the picture.
Starting from the far right, heading left:
Lu rou fan = stewed meat on rice;
Xian xu ji fan = salty, crispy chicken on rice;
Xiang jian ji pai fan = fragrant fried pork chops on rice;
Ji si niang mian = cold shredded chicken noodles;
Tai Nan dan zi mian = Tainan egg noodles;
Xiang xu chou dou fu = fried fragrant stinky tofu;
Dong gua cha = winter melon iced tea; and
Tang qing cai (xi cai) = blanched seasonal vegetables.
We ordered a bunch of things, so I’ll go through them in the order that they arrived.
The beef noodle soup came first. I don’t remember if he ordered it with tendons or not, but the option was there for a dollar extra. It also came with some bok choy, as you can see. Here, Jimmy is adding the minced pickled mustard (here's a link to the Kitchen Chick's encounter with the stuff).
The soup was spicy and flavourful. I wish I could describe the taste and smell…. It was spiced (as in cloves and star anise) and warm smelling. Though the soup wasn’t thickened, it had a very rich mouthfeel.
I only had two bites before Jimmy inhaled the entire bowl, but those two bites contained the most delicious, perfectly cooked, hand-made noodles I have ever eaten. They were chewy, or QQ as Taiwanese people say, without being overly chewy. It’s similar to being al dente, but not only was it firm, it was actually chewy.
This definitely has Jimmy’s seal of approval. In fact, he claims that it tastes EXACTLY like he remembers.
Next came the stinky tofu. It was deep fried and served with pickled cabbage on the side (not shown). There was also an extremely garlicky sauce drizzled over the tofu.
Now, Jimmy’s been talking about stinky tofu for years. It’s one of his favourite snacks, so naturally, he would gush for hours about it. I have been prowling blogs for other people’s reactions to stinky tofu, and I must admit that they had me scared about the smell.
Well, it was a little bit of a let-down in terms of first reactions. I didn’t have a very strong reaction at all. It was smelly, but not overly so. You could definitely smell that it was being prepared in the kitchen. In fact, one of the other families in the restaurant decided they would order some after seeing us with ours.
Taste-wise, it was okay. My first bite made me think, wow, I’ve eaten much stinkier things before. The closest thing I can compare it to is fermented shrimp paste. As I continued to chew, the flavour started to overwhelm me (it started to taste like stinky feet), so I had a bite of the pickled cabbage. The acidity and sweetness cut it nicely.
I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Jimmy said that it wasn’t quite fried properly, but the flavour was comparable to some of the food stalls in Taiwan. This is very promising. I guess if I get a better version of stinky tofu, I just might learn to love it.
Since I didn’t know what to order as my main, Jimmy ordered a plate of fried pork chops on rice for me. This had some minced pork seasoned with soy sauce sprinkled on top of the rice, with pickled daikon and carrot, lightly sautéed bok choy, and half a soy-braised egg on the side. I thought it was delicious, but Jimmy insisted that it was pretty awful compared to what he has eaten in Taiwan. Ah, ignorance is bliss. This happened to be one of two dishes we weren’t able to finish eating.
Clockwise from the top right, we had the winter melon iced tea, cold tea, and scallion/green onion pancakes. The winter melon tea was sweetened with brown sugar. I found it super refreshing, and I could see why it’s a popular drink in the hot and humid weather of Taiwan. Jimmy said it tasted like home. The cold tea was brewed tea that was chilled. This was free. The scallion pancakes tasted differently than we both expected because they used coconut oil to fry it. The flavour put Jimmy off, and he didn’t touch it for the rest of the night. I didn’t mind it, though I definitely prefer the regular version. After a few bites, we packed it to go.
The soup dumplings, a.k.a. xiao long bao, arrived last. It came with a small saucer of shredded ginger for dipping. Steaming hot, the soup in the dumplings burned my mouth pretty badly. Patience really is a virtue, sigh. This was only the second time I’ve ever eaten xiao long bao. The flavour of the soup and the filling was MUCH better than when I had it at Din Tai Fung. It was actually flavourful! The broth was satisfyingly porky. Relieved that they weren’t the bland, uninspiring morsels I had before, I greedily wolfed them down. I only had one complaint—the dumpling skin/wrapper was gummy and stuck to my teeth. Yuckers.
The best part about this meal was the price. The bill came to $34-ish with tax and before tip! We were waddling out of the place after all that food, and we didn’t even have to break the bank. I believe the place is cash only, but I can’t remember anymore.
Afterwards, we went to Assamiea for some bubble tea. It was only a ten-minute drive away from Mr. Sun’s, just off of Steeles Road. We like this place because they use good quality tea by Ten Ren to make the drinks. It makes a big difference in taste.
For the drive home, I got my favourite large iced lychee green tea with pearls, and Jimmy ordered two JUMBO royal (original) black milk tea with pearls. We had to stop three times on the way back to Kingston, so that we could pee. But it was totally worth it.
The trip to Toronto was pretty fun and eventful. I got a new camera, taught others how to make pancakes, and ate stinky tofu. My next trip to Toronto will have to be food-oriented again.
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Mr. Sun’s Noodle House
4186 Finch Avenue East, Unit 25
*I think they only accept cash.
Steeles Road East
In a strip mall near T&T Milliken (5661 Steeles Road East)