My search for Toronto's traditional Cantonese roasts brought me to East Chinatown which stretches 3 blocks west to east along Gerrard Street East between Broadview Ave (in the west) and Carlaw Ave (in the east).
Toronto's Chinatown archway is here in East Chinatown instead of the larger Old Chinatown at Spadina Ave in Toronto's downtown.
Two guardian lions (gifts from the People's Republic of China) gaze down Gerrard Street East and welcome visitors to East Chinatown.
East Chinatown, like it's Old Chinatown counterpart, is an enclave in decline as many of the Chinese community moved to the more fancied suburbs such as Markham, Richmond Hill and Scarborough (which have their own "Chinatowns").
All that remains of East Chinatown are a few grocers, barber shops, hardware stores, Vietnamese eateries, Hong Kong style bakery and milk tea shops, etc.
There are only two traditional Cantonese roasts shops left in East Chinatown - Sing Sing and Wok & Roast. Both are old stalwarts with decades behind them.
While Sing Sing has only a take out counter, Wok & Roast is a full fledged restaurant and was renovated last year after a fire. Over the decades, Wok & Roast changed hands and was reincarnated with new names three times (I overheard the friendly boss reminiscing loudly with regular customers 😄 ). Wok & Roast was last known as Ka Ka Lucky Seafood.
Wok & Roast is simple, clean and comfortable inside.
I love roast ducks in Canada, so I ordered this roast duck with egg noodles in soup. I was delighted with the generous amount of duck meat in the bowl. (This costs CDN6.99 tax included.)
The roast duck has the requisite fats and slight ducky flavour which I like. The meat is tender and juicy. The marination has the familiar 5-spice flavour but is relatively light handed. The golden brown skin is soft (just like the other roast ducks I tried in Toronto). Overall, I like Wok & Roast's BBQ duck.
The generic slender egg noodles were done nicely with a soft crunch to the bite.
The tea coloured soup was mildly savoury sweet, leaning on the sweet, perhaps sugary side. I enjoyed it.
Wok & Roast's chili sauce is good. The gritty chili sauce has a sharp spicy kick and is fried with aromatic spices such as star anise etc. Dipping the rather bland egg noodles in this greasy chili sauce perked up the taste level by at least two notches 😄
👉 Wok & Roast is one of the few remaining traditional Cantonese roast shops in Toronto. They serve nice roast duck which is on the milder flavoured side.
If I have the chance I would like to try their roast pork (siew yok, char siew) and other dishes like fried beef hor fun, next time.
Restaurant name: Wok & Roast Chinese BBQ Restaurant
Address: 349 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON M4M 2H1 (off Gerrard Street East)
GPS: 43°39'54.2"N 79°21'08.7"W | 43.665059, -79.352406
Tel: (416) 461-3811
Hours: 9:00am to 10:30pm
Date: 10 Apr 2017