Ordering in Chinese food has become something of a holiday tradition. When all of the holiday feast leftovers are gone and you’re in no mood to cook, takeout is the perfect solution.
We asked chef Anna Chen, of Alma Restaurant, to sample Yeung chow fried rice from five of the city’s best Chinese restaurants.
Yeung chow fried rice, sometimes called “special fried rice”, is a fried rice dish that originated from the city of Yangzhou, China, and features bits of barbequed pork, chicken, shrimp, egg, and green onion.
Fried rice might sound like a simple dish, but there are a few key steps to get it just right, including striking the perfect balance of wok hei, says chef Chen. “Wok hei is when you get the temperature of a wok super high, which causes a high intensity of Maillard reaction,” she explains. “The result is a smoky flavour only wok hei can provide.”
Located in the heart of Yorkville, Dynasty serves up everything from shareable dim sum bites to old favourites, like General Tao chicken or Peking duck. For chef Chen, the abundance of fresh peas and chopped scallions amongst the barbequed meat and shrimp is what made this the winning plate. “There’s a lot of wok hei, and there are more vegetables than I’ve seen with the others.”
Next up, Chen sampled C’est Bon’s Special Fried Rice. The Chinese restaurant with a French name has been a staple in the midtown community for more than a decade. “There’s lots of char sui pork, and they didn’t skimp out on any of the vegetables or chicken either,” says Chen.
Popular York Mills dim sum spot, Kwan, was next on chef Chen’s plate. “This one was a bit dry, but there were a lot of really tasty veggies in this dish,” says Chen.
A relatively new player on the block, YU Seafood is a sophisticated, gourmet Chinese spot that recently opened in Yorkdale, after a successful five years of serving the Richmond Hill crowd. “This is very tasty, and there are nice chunky shrimp in there. Overall, it’s a balanced dish.” yuseafood.com, $24
With locations in Thornhill, Oakville, and Newmarket, Cynthia’s has long been the go-to for good Chinese food in the 905. “There’s lots of shrimp in here, and the colour is very bright from the egg. It’s very balanced.” cynthiaschinese.com, $12.75
Anna Chen is the head chef at Alma restaurant, located in Toronto’s Bloordale neighbourhood.