Sort-of Secret: Delicacy Kitchen, a new Chinese restaurant at Dufferin and Lawrence with an award-winning Cantonese chef

Sort-of Secret: Delicacy Kitchen, a new Chinese restaurant at Dufferin and Lawrence with an award-winning Cantonese chef

Wenqiu Kuang

More Sort-of Secrets

The sort-of secret: Delicacy Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant specializing in chicken and Peking duck
You may have heard of it if: You’re a big fan of Cantonese-style cooking, or if you’ve been to the restaurant’s Guangzhou location
But you probably haven’t tried it because: It’s brand new and hidden among Italian bakeries and markets

In a city like Toronto, with a wealth of fantastic Chinese restaurants, it can be hard for new talent to stand out—especially if it’s removed from the foot traffic of Chinatown or Scarborough and Markham’s in-the-know aunties. But Delicacy Kitchen, the Toronto outpost of a Guangzhou restaurant famous for its chicken, is worth taking the Dufferin bus for.

Award-winning Cantonese chef Wenqiu Kuang opened Delicacy Kitchen, his first restaurant in Canada, last July. Kuang has family in Toronto, so opening up a location here made sense. Back in China, he owns 11 restaurants in the southern city of Guangzhou as well as others in Shanghai and Beijing. They all specialize in something called qingxin (“clear heart” or “clear centre”) chicken. The dish is made by poaching whole chickens in a vat of broth flavoured with fresh aromatics and spices to create a succulent and savoury bird that’s served with a ginger-scallion sauce. It’s the perfect representation of Cantonese cuisine’s emphasis on preserving the natural flavours of fresh ingredients, and it made Kuang a well-known player in China’s culinary scene.

Kuang playing with fire


A well-rounded spread

And he’s not shy about it: the first thing you notice upon entering the restaurant are all of Kuang’s awards, framed and proudly displayed on the walls along with a smattering of newspaper clippings, all singing the praises of his chicken. But Delicacy Kitchen is a bit of a departure for the decorated chef.

Related: Sunnys Chinese, a pop-up kitchen serving up meticulous Chinese menus with a regional focus

“Chef Kuang wanted to tailor this location’s menu to the customers’ tastes,” explains restaurant manager Terrance Huang, who adds that only about five per cent of Delicacy Kitchen’s guests are Chinese. As such, the menu here is expansive and includes a little bit of everything. There are dim sum favourites—siu mai, har gow, steamed sticky rice, spare ribs—as well as American Chinese takeout staples like fried rice and chop suey.

The famous chicken

Interestingly, Kuang’s famous qingxin chicken can be ordered only if you know to ask for it. The award-winning bird is on the restaurant’s dine-in and takeout menus, but only in Chinese. And it’s not visible on food delivery apps, so it has to be ordered directly from the restaurant. But it’s worth the extra steps: the chicken is perfectly moist and, contrary to its rather plain appearance, bursting with flavour. The aromatic broth—redolent with star anise, white pepper and ginger—seeps through in each bite.

Believe it or not, these are chicken-filled deep-fried dumplings


Not into chicken? Try the pork hock

Another menu standout is the fried pork hock, a rich counterpart to the relatively light qingxin chicken. The pork is deep fried until the skin is crispy and the meat (which, let’s face it, is mostly fat) is melt-in-your-mouth tender. It’s reminiscent of siu yuk, the crunchy pork belly dish found dangling in the windows of Chinese restaurants.

But back to poultry for a moment. Delicacy Kitchen is also pretty famous for its Peking duck, especially since they serve half portions, which Huang says makes it a popular takeout dish. It’s succulent, moist and served with all the classic trimmings: flour pancakes, hoisin sauce, green onion and cucumber.

Yang chow fried rice is a solid side order


And, for dessert, adorable fish-shaped mango pudding

For those who love the classics, the yang chow fried rice—chock full of veggies, eggs, chicken and shrimp—is a hit. As is the garlic black pepper beef tenderloin. It’s a classic, yes, but Delicacy Kitchen elevates the dish using fresh ingredients and intense flavours. Wok hei, that toasty taste imparted from using a wok over a hot flame, is well-harnessed by the cooks here.

When asked about Kuang’s ambitions in Canada, Huang says that the chef intends to open four more restaurants. He’s looking forward to introducing his signature dishes to the city and becoming a Toronto takeout staple.

2899 Dufferin St., 416-551-5558,,