Where Wonton Hut chef Eddie Yeung gets to-go jerk chicken, roasted pork belly and fried bao

Where Wonton Hut chef Eddie Yeung gets to-go jerk chicken, roasted pork belly and fried bao

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

Photo by Stephen Nip

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It’s a new year and we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel (okay, it’s a pinprick but it’s there). Toronto restaurants are still struggling, though, and Eddie Yeung, the chef and owner of Markham’s Wonton Hut, can attest to this. To survive, Yeung and his team have had to get creative. “We now offer online ordering, contactless pickup and we’ve partnered with more delivery companies—we’ve even started our own delivery team.” Another of Wonton Hut’s pandemic pivots: frozen meal kits. Yeung says they’ve gotten rave reviews for their Wonton at Home kits.

While these last 10 months or so have been stressful for Yeung, they haven’t been without a silver lining. “For the past several months I have had the luxury of spending a lot more time with my family, which I wasn’t able to do prior to the pandemic. I am grateful for the quality time that I’ve had with my two-year-old daughter and for being able to help my wife—who is now eight-months pregnant—with daily chores.” He also feels it’s his duty to use some of his new-found free time to help those in need. At the beginning of the pandemic, Yeung’s team prepared meals for front-line workers at three local hospitals. And just before Christmas, Wonton Hut hosted a “Chili Oil for Good” fundraiser, raising a total of $2,000 for the Parkdale Food Bank. Yeung also prepared meals for Community Fridge Toronto’s neighbourhood fridges.

When he can, Yeung supports his industry peers by ordering takeout and delivery. “Local restaurants are the backbone of our city and economy, and I would encourage everyone to please order takeout or delivery from your favourite spots. These establishments have always been there for you and now they’re in need of your help.”

Patois Toronto

794 Dundas St. W., 647-350-8999, patoistoronto.com

“Craig Wong’s dishes have big bold flavours. The combination of Jamaican and Asian cooking takes me back to my childhood. My grandfather is Jamaican Hakka Chinese, so I had my fair share of Jamaican food when I was a youngster.”

Go-to item 1: Jerk chicken
Tasting notes: “It’s the best in town. It’s cold-smoked then churrasco-rotisserie roasted to perfection with just the right amount of scotch bonnet heat.”

Go-to item 2: Prosperity Jerk Lobster
Tasting notes: “It’s loaded with wok hei, similar to Cantonese stir-fried lobster, but the jerk butter really brings out that umami flavour. What I really appreciate is that Patois offers these heat-and-serve care packages—the large one provides enough food to stuff four hungry people. Best of all, they even offer delivery to Markham where I live!”

Casa Deluz

1571 Sandhurst Circle, 416-298-9992, Facebook

“Casa Deluz is known for its authentic Cantonese cuisine; their chefs’ cooking techniques are very traditional. Growing up in Hong Kong, I have probably eaten at thousands of Chinese restaurants. This place is my go-to place for Chinese barbecue.”

Go-to item 1: Roast pork belly
Tasting notes: “This is one of my favourite dishes—the skin is crispy, yet the meat is very tender and juicy. Making good crispy roast pork requires patience and precise temperature control, which Casa Deluz has mastered.”

Go-to item 2: Signature soy sauce chicken
Tasting notes: “While it’s considered a common Cantonese chicken dish, it can be difficult to cook. Here they use premium-grade free-range chicken. The soul of this dish is the soy sauce, which they make in-house. It’s perfectly balanced with the right amount of sweetness.”

Sang-Ji Fried Bao

1 Byng Ave., 647-346-9199, @sangjibaotoronto

“I love dumplings, baos and noodles—and Sang Ji Fried Bao’s short, Northern Chinese menu is dedicated to those three items. I also appreciate that everything here is made from scratch.”

Go-to item 1: Sang ji fried bao
Tasting notes: “The first thing I look for is the thickness of the bao’s dough. It should be thin but strong enough to hold the stuffing and juice inside. The bottom of the bao should be light brown and crunchy. This place serves them spot on!”

Go-to item 2: Scallion oil dry noodles
Tasting notes: “What makes a Chinese dry noodle dish tasty is that there is no extra moisture or water in the bowl, and the noodles have a nice pull to them. The chef here fries the scallions thoroughly, and adds some lightly toasted peanuts on top as a garnish. Surprisingly, instead of a bitter scallion taste, this technique results in a unique aromatic flavour.”