Canteen ~ 280 Spadina Ave ~ (416) 593-6888

Tucked away on the second floor of the Dragon City Mall,  Canteen has been offering some of the best cheap eats in town since 2005.  This cha chaan teng (Hong-Kong-Style diner) has an eclectic and affordable menu adorned with milk teas, Western-style set meals, and hard-to-find Malaysian classics.  If you’re looking for great food that’s easy on the wallet, head upstairs the next time you’re in #ChinatownTO.  You won’t regret it!  Ten bucks goes a long way here.   Speaking of which, it’s cash only!  🇭🇰 🇲🇾

In a word, perfection… that’s how we’d describe the curry at Canteen.  Now, we usually always add spice to our meals.  But there’s really no need here.  Served “western style,” this curry is brought to the table ready to melt your face off.  Choose from chicken, ox-tongue, pork chop, or fish (our current favourite).  Their fish is fried crispy with the skin on.  It’s then finished with the golden curry for a great texture.

Char Kway Teow (stir-fried flat noodles)

Wok Hay is the Cantonese expression for describing that sweet & smoky flavour achieved when using a cast-iron wok over super high heat.  The “breath of the wok” is in full effect here at Canteen.  Their cháo guì diāo is on-point… the chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage all super crispy before getting the full treatment (tossed with flat noodles & caramelized in soy sauce & belachan).  This is one fantastic noodle dish, finished with bean sprouts for crunch.

If you prefer your noodles served in broth, Canteen also has you covered.  After seeing how much we enjoyed the aforementioned fish curry, Yuki strongly encouraged us to order her rendition of Laksa.   Slammed full of veggies, dark chicken meat, vermicelli noodles and coconut curry broth, this enormous & hearty bowl really hit the spot before heading back out into the February snow.

Nasi Lemak is often considered Malaysia’s national dish.  Typically served for breakfast, coconut rice and sambal chicken have a starring role.  However, it’s the supporting cast of peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumber slices and hard-boiled eggs that allow for a seemingly endless amount of taste combinations.  The milk tea helps keep the lingering spice at bay for long enough to order a second round of breakfast.  We absolutely love this dish at any time of day.  Winner winner…

The recent reopening of dining rooms in Ontario couldn’t have come soon enough for Canteen.  They really struggled throughout the pandemic with little-to-no foot traffic on the second floor of Dragon City.  We’ve been frequenting regularly the past few weeks, and the crowds seem to be slowly returning.  And for good reason!  The food is excellent and the prices are right.  The Toronto Food Blog is aligned with supporting local small business as much as we can right now.  And we can’t wait to head back this week for yet another bowl of Bak Kut Teh.  

  Hirup!!!

Bak Kut Teh (meat bone tea)… Pork Rib & Offal Soup, heavy on the mushroom & five spice

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