Where DaiLo chef Dennis Tay gets to-go beef rendang, shawarma, fried chicken and mango-peach pies

Where DaiLo chef Dennis Tay gets to-go beef rendang, shawarma, fried chicken and mango-peach pies

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

Photo by Miguel Arenillas

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The slower pace imposed by the pandemic has allowed DaiLo chef de cuisine Dennis Tay a chance to spend more time with his family. Besides cooking at home more (and posting his delicious looking dishes on Instagram), the father of two has also been doing the occasional pop-up at DaiLo. He and the DaiLo team have also come up with innovative ways to adapt to the times. Besides offering an a la carte and a weekly changing tasting menu for takeaway and delivery, the restaurant is doing a plant-based pop-up at the Davisville location of Hot Black Coffee, from Thursdays to Saturdays.

When Tay doesn’t feel like cooking, he and his family support the restaurant industry by getting takeout from some of their favourite spots—even if it means making the drive to Mississauga or Scarborough.

Lion City Restaurant

#70-1177 Central Pkwy. W., Mississauga, 905-281-0860, lioncityrestaurant.ca

“This is my favourite restaurant in the GTA. Nestled in a strip mall surrounded by other great restaurants, Lion City specializes in Singaporean food but also does some Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai dishes. There are so many things I love here. There are the classics like laksa, Hainanese chicken rice and sata. The Singapore chili and Singapore pepper crab are so comforting and warm. There are too many delicious dishes to name. I’m so happy just thinking of all the deliciousness.”

Go-to item 1: Rendang
Tasting notes: “Their beef or goat rendang is a must. It’s earthy, punchy dry curry with tender pieces of meat. There are so many layers of flavour to this dish. It’s best enjoyed with rice and a couple of flaky, buttery, roti chenai.”


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Go-to item 2:  Grilled fish in banana leaf
Tasting notes: “It’s a skate wing that is first fried, coated in a delicious tamarind sambal paste, then wrapped in banana leaf and finished on the grill. It’s spicy, sour and funky.”

Go-to item 3: Char kway teow
Tasting notes: “This is full of the most delicious bites including flat rice noodles with shrimp, fish cakes, egg and sausage. The flavour from the wok makes this dish so special.”


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Go-to item 4: Lontong
Tasting notes: “This is a compressed rice cake in a super flavourful shrimp and coconut broth. I love the texture of the rice cake.”


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Go-to item 5: Kang kong stir fry
Tasting notes: “This is an unassuming dish, but a must for any Southeast Asian feast. It’s water spinach that’s stir fried in belachan, garlic oyster sauce, or spicy sambal. We always opt for belachan, which is a super-funky roasted shrimp paste.”


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Ghadir Meat and Fish Restaurant

1848 Lawrence Ave E., Scarborough, 416-750-7400, ghadirmeatmarket.com

“This Lebanese restaurant and market is actually two restaurants separated by a convenience store. On one side is the meat restaurant, butcher, bakery and market. On the other side is the fish restaurant. We like to start on the meat side, then head on over to the fish side. And we always stop by the butcher to pick up some sujuk, which is a garlicky fermented sausage spiced with cumin and sumac. Coming here is such a great experience—I’ve been so many times but I still get excited to go.”

Go-to item 1: Shawarma (priced by weight)
Tasting notes: “The move is to get their special house bread called markouk—it’s so thin and crispy—with their famous shawarma. It’s a perfect combination of juicy and perfectly seasoned meat, tangy pickles and garlicky sauce.”

Go-to item 2: Grilled fresh fish
Tasting notes: “We pick the whole fish we want—usually sea bream—and they grill it perfectly. It comes with delicious roasted potatoes, rice, pita and hummus.”

Go-to item 3: Lahmacun
Tasting notes: “This is flatbread with a tangy-sweet meat spread. It’s so good.”

Peppers Food and Drink

189 Wallace Ave., 416-531-3146, @peppers.189

“Chef Julian Ochangco has teamed up with Leemo Han and Ihn Huh to create this takeout spot that also sells Asian-American staples. It’s also home to Umma’s prepared foods—grab-and-go Korean side dishes made by Leemo’s mother. The store side of things has all sorts of fun snacks and drinks you can’t find just anywhere. I love seeing how creative restauranteurs are getting with their spaces—finding ways to get their food out there while utilizing the space they have to work with.”

Go-to item 1: Fried chicken
Tasting notes: “The fried chicken is perfectly seasoned, crispy and so juicy. It comes with creamy macaroni salad, slaw, classic old-school gravy and, of course, white rice!”

Go-to item 2: Yummy burger and curly fries
Tasting notes: “It’s the perfect throwback to diner burgers. A super juicy and beefy patty is loaded with melty cheese, shredded lettuce and tangy pickles. It’s so messy in the best way.”

Go-to item 3: Mango-peach pie
Tasting notes: “You can’t leave without a mango peach pie: flaky pastry filled with peach-mango filling and coated in a syrup made from reduced peach juice.”