Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pan Chancho, Northern Dumpling Kitchen, and Kenzo Ramen - June 23rd/24th

We made a trip down to Toronto for my graduation at the end of June. Jimmy, Andrew, Lucy and I stopped in Kingston first. By the time we arrived, it was around 10 in the morning. Jimmy's brother met us for breakfast at Pan Chancho.

Pan Chancho, Kingston
Pan Chancho, Kingston
Lucy ordered the croissant and the apple cider french toast with creme fraiche and maple syrup.

Pan Chancho, Kingston
Andrew and I got the croissant breakfast sandwich with bacon. Jimmy had the croissant sandwich with chorizo instead. It came with a BBQ-ish salsa. I felt like the croissant was a bit dry. It wasn't anything special.

Pan Chancho, Kingston
Henry had the smoked salmon platter. He definitely enjoyed it. It's a good thing, too, because Jimmy and Andrew were eyeing it the whole time.

Most people wanted to go to Sima Sushi for butter fish sashimi, but I'm glad we came here instead. Sure, it wasn't that great, but it helped settle my stomach. I wonder why I keep getting car sick. Does anyone have any tips to prevent it - other than drugs?

We arrived in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) just before my graduation. Needing a quick snack before getting my gown, Lucy and Andrew picked up two spicy patties in a bun from the Ackee Tree, located in Humber College.

Ackee Tree, Humber College
A bit of ketchup and hot sauce, and it's ready to go down the hatch.

After grad, we checked into the hotel and took naps/showers before meeting up with Liz for a dumpling dinner. Guess where we went? Here's a hint... I've gushed about the dumplings here and here.

The Northern Dumpling Kitchen, home of the amazing chicken potstickers.

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Aren't they beautiful? The potstickers were just as tasty as all the other times. I'm starting to drool just thinking about it.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
The xiao long bao (aka XLB or soup dumplings) are also really good here. The skin is so thin that you can see the filling. You know, out of all the times I've been here, the dumplings have only arrived empty of soup once. They also rarely stick to the steamer/wax paper and rip. It has never happened to me before, though Lucy ripped one after she eagerly picked one up. If you ask around, I'm pretty sure other people have had the same experience. It's so sad when there's no soup in the soup dumplings you order, and when the dumplings rip and spill the soup.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
A bit of vinegar and ginger slivers on my spoon await a plump dumpling.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
You are so fat - oh how I love thee!

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
Take a peek inside.

Because Andrew and Jimmy needed more substance than dumplings and a plate of stir fried rice cakes, we ordered a few more dishes.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
Fried pork intestines.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
Some veggies: stir-fried snow pea shoots.

Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill
The surprisingly tasty dish was Andrew's lamb noodle soup. This picture doesn't do it justice at all because here, the clear broth looks flavourless. Quite the contrary, my friends. It was full of lamb flavour in a wonderful, slow simmering stock.

After dinner, we grabbed bubble tea at the Ten Ren on Warden and Steeles Ave E (in the Metro Square). Lucy added another cup to her collection. I'll get a picture of it later.

The next day, we dropped by Kenzo Ramen for a quick lunch. We didn't want to spend too long downtown because it was the G20 Summit weekend.

Starting with the simplest ramen.

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Kenzo Ramen: Shio

I ordered the simple shio (salt) ramen. This was so much better than the shoyu ramen I had last time! The soup was refreshingly simple. But the flavour is so remarkable. Just trying to decipher what went into making the broth/stock made my head hurt. It takes an amazing chef to make it taste this good.

The photo was taken from another trip to Toronto.

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Jimmy had the Tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen.

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Lucy had the Sapporo-style (named after the city, not the beer) miso ramen.

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Andrew's Orochong (spicy) ramen. His bowl of ramen had veggies that had been stir-fried to a smoky perfume (wok hei), and added to a spicy, yet flavourful, soup. We all enjoyed the smoky dimension of the Orochong ramen.

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The cha siu, I have to mention, is different from the Chinese version. Both are delicious though! This super moist and tender slice of Japanese cha siu is bursting with unadulterated pork, whereas the Chinese style cha siu is marinated in spices. You can never get enough of either. Just look at the marbling!

Just like Lucy and Jimmy's first visit here, we wolfed everything down in record timing. Random fact, we saw a motorcade go by when we were leaving. Yup.

It's getting late. Need to pack and get ready for another trip to Toronto. I'm off to help cover The GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. Good luck to all racers!

Update: Lucy and I returned to Toronto during the marathon weekend. There was a lot of food, of course.



Pan Chancho Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Northern Dumpling Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow, this was a food marathon! Those XLB looked lovely, as did the guotie.

  2. They were exceptional, but I preferred the fried dumplings. The soup inside (double the amount in the xiaolongbao!) contrasted especially nicely with the crunchy skins of the potstickers.


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