Food & Drink

Where Wonton Hut chef-owner Eddie Yeung eats Chinese food in North York

His favourite spots for salted spare ribs, dan dan noodles and deep-fried milk custard

By Tiffany Leigh| Photography by Tiffany Leigh
Where Wonton Hut chef-owner Eddie Yeung eats Chinese food in North York

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Wonton Hut chef-owner Eddie Yeung spends most of his time travelling back and forth between his two restaurants, the original Unionville location and his new spot on Queen West, which opened earlier this year. When he’s able to enjoy some downtime, Yeung will head to North York, an area that holds a lot of memories for him. “I immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in the early ’90s,” says Yeung. “My family first settled in Scarborough before moving when I was in junior high.” For the 15 years that followed, Yeung lived in North York, where he could often be found eating at restaurants, playing four-ball Korean billiards after school, and hitting up Yonge Street karaoke bars every weekend. Nowadays, he connects with fellow chefs in the area and eats dishes that echo the current trends in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Yeung says that, in the past 10 years, the area has transformed. “North York has always been a very interesting neighbourhood, especially the stretch of Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard,” he says. “In the ’90s, most of the restaurants were Korean, but I’m starting to see a lot of new Chinese restaurants, due to the increase of international students from China. It’s lending an overall younger and trendier vibe to the area.” Yeung says North York is frequently used as a testing ground for many young chefs and entrepreneurs. The area has a diverse community with high foot traffic—similar to downtown but with smaller storefronts and much lower rent. “Restaurants including Big Beef Noodle and Sang Ji Bao have successfully expanded their businesses across the GTA after getting off to a good start in this neighbourhood,” explains Yeung.

With that in mind, here’s where chef Eddie Yeung eats when he visits his old stomping grounds in North York.

Good Luck HK Café

5533 Yonge St.,

“This spot is a great introduction for those who are unfamiliar with food from Hong Kong. They have a few classic dishes as well as modern ones with playful twists to make meals more photogenic for Instagram. They often attract a mixed crowd, but mostly hip young people.”

The exterior of Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe in Toronto
The dining room at Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe in North York, Toronto

Go-to dish #1: Barbecue pork on lard rice “In the 1960s, Hong Kong was a developing city, so its GDP was quite low. As a result, meat and vegetables were a luxury. But the way people got around it was by incorporating pork fat into their meals. The lard offered a meaty texture at a much lower cost. This dish is a gem and often hard to find in both Toronto and Hong Kong because nowadays people are far more health conscious.”

Tasting notes: “The first thing I like to do is give everything a nice mix, and then I add some light soy sauce. The lard coats each granule of rice, making it taste more like sticky rice. It has this meaty, sweet taste, and the egg imparts even more richness and flavour to the dish. I also really enjoy the thick cut char siu (barbecue pork); it’s hearty and juicy thanks to the fatty cut of the meat. They don’t hold back on such decadence here, and I love it. To top it all off, there’s one strand of choy sum (a leafy Chinese vegetable) added for some bitterness to cleanse the palate—and to make you think the dish is healthy.”

Chef Eddie Yeung digs into his bowl of barbecued pork on lard rice at a Hong Kong–style cafe in Toronto

Go-to dish #2: AAA strip loin steak with black pepper sauce “This is a Western-style dish I used to have on special occasions—birthdays, Christmas—as a kid growing up in Hong Kong in the ’80s. It was like a lavish steakhouse order but without steakhouse prices, so it was much easier on the pocketbook of my parents, who had three kids to care for. The cut of meat used for it is cheaper but tenderized and marinated beforehand with baking soda, water, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and potato starch. Now, every time I see this dish—complete with its flashy sizzling platter presentation—I get nostalgic for my childhood.”


Tasting notes: “I like to cut up the steak into nice slices beforehand. Not only does this cool it down, but it makes it easier to eat. The black pepper sauce covering the steak has a bite to it, but it isn’t spicy. It’s made with garlic, black pepper, chicken stock, ketchup, HP sauce, potato starch, light soy sauce and oyster sauce, which gives it an addictive umami quality. This same sauce also smothers the spaghetti strands, which are chewy and springy. If you really want an over-the-top taste, you can always dip some of the meat into the yolk of the sunny-side-up egg it’s served with.”

Chef Eddie Yeung smiles at his serving of strip loin steak with black pepper sauce at Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe
A closeup of the black pepper steak at Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe
Chef Eddie Yeung shows how long the noodles are in his dish of black pepper steak at Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe

Go-to dish #3: Deep-fried milk custard “This is a very classic, old-school dim sum dessert. Not many places offer it these days, so it’s a real treat. For me, it’s—again—all about nostalgia. Growing up, we’d only have this treat on special occasions.”

Tasting notes: “This custard is made with milk, sugar and cornstarch. It’s put in the fridge to set, then cut into logs and battered in breadcrumbs before being deep-fried. With one bite, I get a flood of happy memories. I also get a strong milky taste, like condensed milk. But it’s not too sweet, and it’s balanced with the crunchy exterior. It comes with granulated sugar for dipping, but I never find I need it.”

A plate of deep-fried milk custard
Chef Eddie Yeung uses chopsticks to grab a wedge of deep-fried milk custard at Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe

Miss Fu in Chengdu

5441 Yonge St.,

“This place offers Chengdu-style skewers and modern Sichuan street food. They’re known for their use of spice, but it’s not about how spicy you can make the dishes; it’s about using this kind of heat with calculated restraint. Done correctly, there’s harmony, and it’s possible to taste the other flavours and ingredients. If anything, the spice is supposed to enhance rather than overpower everything else. This place is spot on when it comes to honouring that balance.”

Chef Eddie Yeung walks into Miss Fu In Chengdu, a restaurant in North York, Toronto
The dining room at Miss Fu In Chengdu, a Chinese restaurant in Toronto

Go-to dish #1: Gluten, beef tripe, spicy cumin beef and spicy beef skewers “Customers can choose their own skewers and level of broth spiciness—five is the spiciest; I usually ask for level four. Rather than cooking the skewers yourself, hot-pot style, it’s already done for you. The skewers arrive in a deep-red, rich and spicy bone broth soup base. They simmer the bone broth for hours to deepen the flavour, then they mix in their house-made chili oil and blend of spices. It requires a lot of skill to get the perfect balance of spiciness and freshness. They’ve nailed it here.”

Tasting notes: “When you take a bite, you get this numbing effect, which makes your mouth water. Then you get savoury back notes, a slight bit of funk, some nuttiness and toasted, smoky flavours. It’s very addictive and keeps you coming back for more—especially if you have a beer or two on hand.”

A bowl of gluten, beef tripe, spicy cumin beef and spicy beef skewers at Miss Fu In Chengdu, a Chinese restaurant in Toronto

Go-to dish #2: Deep-fried tofu with garlic sauce “This is one of their specialty snacks. Fried tofu may look like a simple dish, but getting that crispy outside and tender inside requires some skill.”

Tasting notes: “The tofu comes in a sauce that’s a mixture of chili oil, black vinegar and garlic. That hit of black vinegar is what makes this simple dish stand out. But also, because it’s sitting in the sauce, you have to eat it quickly to enjoy the textural contrast the tofu offers—the crispy exterior and the creamy interior—before it gets soggy.”

A plate of deep-fried tofu at Miss Fu In Chengdu

Go-to dish #3: Dan dan noodles with ground pork sauce “Many places tend to overdo it with the sesame paste, which can make the noodles cumbersome and oily, but not here. Theirs has personality and is light in texture because they use just the right amount of sauce to coat each noodle strand.”


Tasting notes: “The sauce is a blend of soy sauce, sesame paste, chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns. It’s topped with minced pork, scallions, finely chopped preserved Chinese vegetables and peanuts. Meanwhile, the noodles are simply made of flour, water and salt, and they’re cooked al dente. The cut of the noodles also clings to the perfect amount of sauce, so with each bite, you get meat, preserved vegetables and that lingering heat on the tongue. These are definitely some of the best dan dan noodles in town.”

Chef Eddie Yeung eats dan dan noodles at Miss Fu In Chengdu, a restaurant in North York

Sun Star Chinese Cuisine

Bayview Woods Plaza, 636 Finch Ave. E., no website

“Similar to the dai pai dongs (food stalls) of my youth, Sun Star offers many wok-style dishes. This place has been around for over 14 years, and every time I visit, it gives me the feeling of being back in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, these types of gems are disappearing due to the lack of wok chefs available. Even now, most of the modern-style Chinese restaurants no longer offer wok dishes. This is because many of the older cooks have retired, and younger generations think it’s too tough or not a desirable profession.”

The exterior of Sun Star Chinese Cuisine, a restaurant in North York, Toronto
The dining room at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine in Toronto
Chef Eddie Yeung reads the menu at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine in Toronto

Go-to dish #1: Fried rice noodles with beef “This is one of the most popular stir-fried noodle dishes. As a Chinese chef, I always use this to test the wok skills of a cook. To ensure the beef is tender, it’s usually marinated with soy sauce, potato starch, baking soda and water. As for cooking, to keep the meat juicy, it’s always very briefly deep-fried before it’s finished in the wok. Overall, there’s great wok hei—which is the char you get on the meat and noodles from the wok. It’s the best of its kind in North York.”

Tasting notes: “You can really taste the wok hei in this dish. You can tell it’s cooked by a talented chef because you can actually see each individual noodle strand—if the noodles clump up, then you know that the wok wasn’t hot enough. At the finish, you get these soy sauce notes that enhance the overall taste of the dish.”

A plate of noodles with fried beef at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine

Go-to dish #2: Stir-fried Chinese broccoli (gai lan) “This dish is never as good when you make it at home, simply because you need a super high heat to cook the greens. Because a classic home stovetop can’t get the intensive heat of a wok—which cooks the greens while retaining their crunch—they’re often over-cooked, and they turn yellow.”

Tasting notes: “This dish is perfectly cooked—you see the steam rising and how the greens glisten from a last-minute ladle of hot garlic oil. There’s a mellow toastiness and a sweet garlic finish. The greens have a satisfying crunch and bitterness. This dish goes great with a bowl of steamed white rice.”

A plate of gai lan at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine

Go-to dish #3: Salted spare ribs (fried pepper pork) “I think this is an underrated dish. It requires more steps than people think to ensure the pork arrives at the table perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Since it’s a cheaper cut of meat, the chefs marinate the pork and dust it in flour before deep-frying it. Meanwhile, onions and chili peppers are added to the wok, and they’re cooked slightly to draw out the aromas. Lastly, the deep-fried pork goes in, and everything is tossed together.”

Tasting notes: “The crunchiness from the crust makes it taste like fried chicken. The marinade has made the meat so yielding, sweet and savoury. The dish is riddled with peppers, but the meat itself is actually quite mild. It’s another dish that goes perfectly with beer.”

A plate of salted spare ribs at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine in Toronto
A spread of dishes at Sun Star Chinese Cuisine in North York, Toronto

Good Taste Casserole Rice

5205 Yonge St.,


“Clay pot rice is one of my favourite styles of rice cooking, and it’s been around for centuries. If time permits, it’s actually how I prefer to cook my rice at home, rather than using the rice cooker. The beauty of the clay pot is that it distributes heat evenly and accomplishes two things: it cooks the rice at the bottom and steams the meat on top. Meanwhile, all the juices and fat from the meat drip down into the rice, adding flavour and creating that signature crispy bottom. At this restaurant, every single order is cooked separately—and to order—in its own clay pot, which takes up to 30 minutes. The timing—making sure the rice gets cooked through, knowing exactly when to put in the toppings and ensuring they’re steamed properly, all while monitoring that crispy bottom and preventing it from burning—is an art form.”

The exterior of Good Taste Casserole Rice, a Chinese restaurant in North York, Toronto
The dining room at Good Taste Casserole Rice, a Chinese restaurant in Toronto
Chef Eddie Yeung and his favourite dishes at Good Taste Casserole Rice, a Chinese restaurant in Toronto

Go-to dish #1: Preserved meat on rice “Lap cheung (pork sausage), yeuhn cheung (duck or goose liver sausage) and cured pork is a good-food trifecta. This style of preserved meat is cured by hanging it to dry outdoors, and fall is the best season to do this. As a result, this dish has alway been recognized as a winter meal, as that’s when it’s typically eaten. It’s perfect for cold weather because it’s quite heavy and warms the belly.”

Tasting notes: “I like to drizzle a bit of soy sauce into the rice and mix. The meat is a little bit chewy and gamey, which is a nice contrast to the fluffiness and sweetness of the rice.”

A bowl of rice topped with preserved Chinese meats at Good Taste Casserole Rice in North York, Toronto

Go-to dish #2: Chicken and mushroom on rice “This dish uses slivers of shiitake mushrooms, ginger and dark chicken meal, usually thigh cuts.”

Tasting notes: “When I first ate this dish in Canada, it wasn’t as enjoyable. Now, 30 years later, it’s so much better. I think farms have come around to the idea of raising chicken specifically for the Asian market. As a result, the meat is tender and ultra silky. For this dish, I also drizzle in some soy sauce, but not as much as for the preserved meat dish because the chicken here has already been well seasoned.”

A bowl of rice with mushrooms and chicken at Good Taste Casserole Rice in Toronto

Go to dish #3: Cheung fun (rice roll with egg) “In Hong Kong, the cheung fun’s presentation is cleaner—they’re distinctive tightly wound rolls. In Guangdong province, where this dish originates, it’s more of a rustic and ragged presentation, with the addition of a thin layer of scrambled egg inside. This is a simple yet beloved dish in Asia, where it’s usually enjoyed with congee.”

Tasting notes: “There’s a delicate chew; it’s very smooth but not soggy. And the light sweetness of the egg enhances the other flavours. I always enjoy this with a drizzle of light soy sauce because the umami and salinity is a welcome contrast.”

A plate of cheung fun, rice roll with egg, at Good Taste Casserole Rice, a Chinese restaurant in Toronto


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