Movie star brings incredible Chinese BBQ to the GTA

There’s a new braised barbecue spot in town, and it hails all the way from Chengdu, China.

Zao Men Kan was started by Chen Niangniang and got its wings with the backing of Sean Sun, a well-known Chinese actor. With a history dating back to 1983, the restaurant has been serving up incredible food, and now, it’s gracing Toronto with its fantastic flavours.

Located in North York, Zao Men Kan has already made its mark by fusing its historical roots with a modern twist. Decorated with striking red and black accents, illuminated by vibrant neon lights overhead and boasting spacious communal tables, the restaurant perfectly caters to large gatherings. Guests can enjoy an inventive spin on the traditional braised barbecue dining experience.

Actor Sean Sun @sunyizhou_officialfanpage/Instagram

While the restaurant’s atmosphere sets the stage for a great night out, Zao Men Kan’s true appeal lies in its mastery of slow-cooked meats. Perfected by Chen after hundreds of trials, this exclusive technique remains at the heart of its identity. Diners can enjoy the restaurant’s distinctively flavoured braised barbecue, which combines the “richness of charcoal grills and the aroma of sizzling fat.” Their meticulous process, boasting over 20 cooking steps and inventive spins on classic flavours, turns pork belly and beef brisket cuts into tender morsels that practically melt in the mouth.

But what truly sets Zao Men Kan apart is its selection of more than 20 plus rare spices that have been carefully crafted in the marinades and sauces. These are closely guarded family recipes that elevate each dish, catering to everything from fiery spice to savoury richness.


No doubt, the star of the show is the menu’s array of skewers. Available in sets of four or eight, they are offered in a variety of options, ranging from vegetables and seafood to different meats. Among the most popular meat skewer selections, standouts include the grilled lamb, roasted Orleans chicken wings and succulent roasted pork tenderloin. Seafood enthusiasts have the option of choosing bacon-wrapped scallops or oysters. For those who are feeling adventurous, the restaurant offers cow throat, cattle ligament, a whole squid and spicy chicken gizzard.

Outside of skewers, guests can order other meals and snacks like sweet and sour chicken with rice, spicy tofu with rice, crispy lotus root chips and spicy chives.Though the eatery is predominantly a dine-in restaurant, guests can also place orders for takeout.

Zao Men Kan is located at 3365 Steeles Ave E. and is open daily from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO