KaTsZoNe Special Edition By Katherine KiangMay 15, 2005
Can’t wait for summer, so, it’s like going to a pre-summer sale. Pretty exciting! Thought I’d mention some new restaurants I’ve tried, as well as some old favourites, and, include some flea markets/farmer’s markets. I’m also looking forward to some pre-summer and summer events to attend, either in T.O. or elsewhere in Ontario.
So, get those shorts, sandals and tank tops ready. Before you know it, it will be….Ready….Set….Summer!! Woohoo!!! K
I figured I’d start out with food in this special KaTsZoNe. Because Asian cultures place great importance on food and relationships, it is not so far-fetched that I would tell you, my friends, about my favourite places to eat. For example, for young and old, you will find Chinese people gathered for dim sum (Chinese appetizers), drinking tea and talking for hours. You will not find a quiet Chinese restaurant – that’s for sure. So, it’s not just about eating a meal, but, developing relationships – which may be why it is so popular worldwide. But, I won’t be speaking about dim sum – I’ll be talking about my favourite foods and experiences I have had with them. Hope you will enjoy this. Just know, my favourite places have been recommended to friend reading this edition of KaTsZoNe. For those who are enemies -- that will be in another “special” edition….lol.
My first taste of Indian curry was when I was very young, in Malaysia. I can’t tell you what day it was, but, I do know I must have been with my mom. I remember when she took me out for rice and curry. When dad found out I was eating hot foods, he wasn’t too happy. So, when mom brought me out for rice and curry again, she said, “Don’t tell dad.” I should have understood, “Mum’s the word” right then. Mom also used to say, food tastes better when you eat with your hands – how many moms would say that? I’m sure she learned from Indian friends or neighbours when she was growing up in Malaysia.
In Toronto, my adventures with Indian food started probably when I was getting to know my friend, Vicky, about 15 years ago. She and I met when we were working at a downtown law firm. Before I left the firm, Vicky and I agreed to get together, starting with Indian food. We became great friends – and, I guess we can give Indian food some credit. For several years, we had a tradition of going to Indian Flavour (at the Atrium on Bay, 595 Bay St.) to celebrate our birthdays. Throughout the years, I have been to Indian Flavour many times with co-workers and other friends. I discovered that Indian Flavour serves halal (Islam: “meat from animals were slaughtered in prescribed way”) – so, here’s one place you or your Muslim friends can enjoy Indian Flavour.
My first experience with Japanese food was in Japan when I was about 7 years old. Mom and I sailed with dad (who was a captain of a cargo ship) for several months during my summer holidays, for two years in a row. Speaking with my mom, she and I reminisced about K, the picky eater, who did not try anything other than a dish found in just about every Japanese restaurant we went to – or, at least, my parents made sure they had it before we went in to eat. It was simply rice (which looked like it was fried with ketchup – no idea what it really was) wrapped inside a large fried egg. In Japan, I remember that in order to communicate, my dad would write in Chinese or we would go to the display outside the particular restaurant and point to the wax display, to show our server what we wanted to order. I loved those display of waxed food! I also loved the bottled milk in Japanese grocery stores - I used to think their cows must be different from Canadian cows – gosh, that milk was so tasty and pretty addictive! And, I also cannot forget the dried seaweed – talk about another addiction! I could sit there, open a small package and just munch dried seawood all day and watch some Japanese cartoons! (Yes, M., I did watch Japanese cartoons!)
I do not recall when I first tried Japanese food in Canada. I have
tried several Japanese/Korean restaurants throughout the years. If you do have a desire for sushi, sashimi or teriyaki beef/chicken, and maybe even some sake (rice wine originally from Japan), this summer (or the rest of the year), here’s a list to start you off. No, I doubt you will find that ketchup fried rice wrapped in fried egg…lol. Oh, don’t forget the green tea ice cream for dessert – one of my favourites!
Memories of Japan 900 Don Mills Road, Toronto Tel: 416-449-3773 (N. of Eglinton E.)
Kon-Nichi-Wa Japanese Restaurant(with patio) 31 Baldwin St., Toronto Tel: 416-593-8538
Malaysian satays and I go back a long way! Remember, K, the picky eater when I was a tot? The only meat I would eat was a nice satay on a skewer with some yummy peanut sauce. (By the way, the Indian curry and rice I ate was just that – I did not like veggies or meat, except satays.)
It’s not been easy to have some Malaysian food for years – unless I make a trip back to Malaysia and Singapore, which I did, only in 1990. My brother-in-law also made great satay. So, I am thrilled to say that in spite of one buffet Malaysian place that my friend, Rebecca (who was also born in Malaysia), introduced me to on Baldwin St., which had closed down, and a Malaysian restaurant at Market Village (at Kennedy Rd. and Steeles Ave. E.), I have not had much exposure to it until the past year – believe it or not! So, if you
are interested in tasting satays, curries, and more -- be very ready for some spice in your life! Give Malaysian cuisine a try. At this time, Ming’s is my favourite – check out the link below and find out why (when you get to the part about royalty, you’ll know why mom and I must have great taste).
At the age of 16-17, he attended a British college in Shanghai, China. Formal studies in customs college (yes, he was going to be in law enforcement, catching smugglers) included not only academic studies, but, other practical lessons. In a British college, students were taught table etiquette. So, I have a faint memory of dad teaching me table etiquette – using a knife and fork, etc. But, I also received formal lessons on table setting in junior high school. We had Home Economics classes back then, and, I think those practical lessons are important. It is quite different than simply eating with a pair of chopsticks! What you may not know is that in Malaysia, mom and I usually ate with a fork and spoon. By the way, at my favourite Malaysian restaurant, Ming’s, you will see a fork and spoon – no chopsticks! Malaysia was a British colony, so, as a youngster, I remember drinking Ribena, going shopping (yes, even back then) with mom at Robinson’s department store, ballet lessons, and till today, mom & I like our “tea time”. I don’t recall dim sum until I came to Canada. And, when I came to Canada at age 6, I met my three best friends, who were of Scottish, English/Irish, and Polish/English descent. Is it surprising if I’m mentioning fish and chips, haggis (of course!), pub food, and afternoon tea? Just don’t eat all of that at the same time, boys and girls.
K’s favourite British Fare:
Kingsway Fish & Chips (this is where the haggis is!) 3062 Bloor St. W., Toronto Tel: 416-233-3355 (near Bloor St. W. & Royal York Rd., near Royal York subway station)
Middle Eastern Delights
On one of those sailing trips around the world with mom and dad (dad was a captain of cargo ships), we ended up in the Middle East. As I may have mentioned to some of you, someone stole a beautifully put together lobster that the crew gave me as a gift – okay, I left (not by choice) my lobster in Basra (Iraq) instead of my heart in San Francisco – if you know the song. In terms of food, the only thing I actually remember trying were dates – I was not that fond of them, but, okay, that’s the only thing I remember about the food. I also remember being a curious 8-year-old, and asking if Muslim men really did have 4 wives – one of them said, yes. That’s about as far as my curiosity would take me then.
Here in T.O., I remember my first experience with Middle Eastern food was with my friend, Vicky. She loved Aida’s Falafel. I had no idea what a falafel was. Later, I tried Jerusalem Restaurantfor the first time with my friend, Rebecca (the same person who introduced me to Malaysian buffet on Baldwin St.), who lived across the street from the restaurant, and we tried the lunch buffet there. In recent years, I have been going to a “fast food” Lebanese restaurant in the Eaton Centre South food court called Shawarma’s King (halal). In the beginning of April this year, I went to Noura Seafood & Grill (same owner as Jerusalem Restaurant) in North York. So, try some falafels, kebobs, shawarmas, kafta, toubouli salad, hummus, and more.
Explore GTA’s buildings – over 100 on the list this year. Admission is free and all you need to do is show up! I went with friends, Nick and Vicky, the first year it started in 2000. Although I have toured some of GTA’s buildings in the past (i.e. Campbell House, Gibson House, Osgoode Hall, etc.), “Doors Open” is just a fantastic opportunity. Nick, Vicky & I saw Anshei Minsk Synagogue in the Spadina-Kensington area, George Brown House, The Toronto Italian General Consulate (on
Beverley St.), Gooderam and Worts (on Mill St., which is now called The Distillery District). Not all buildings on this year’s list are open both days, so, check ahead of time and plan your route. http://www.doorsopen.org/
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) – “Massive Change: The Future of Global Design” – Ends May 29, 2005
Spend 2-1/2 to 3 hours to experience a very creative and educational exhibit. We can’t avoid change. Sometimes change is good, sometimes not. See how change has or may effect us globally. For special exhibits such as “Massive Change”, take advantage of a 2 for 1, only on Thursdays and Fridays between
I’m looking forward to another forthcoming special exhibit: Catherine the Great’s collection from the StateHermitageMuseum in Russia. The exhibit will run from October 1, 2005 to January 1, 2006.
May is Museum Month - admission is free for regular exhibits. By the way, AGO is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. http://www.ago.net/
TOURIST IN T.O.
I’m sure you don’t want to spend summer indoors. I did not know how important it was to get out in the sun (but not too much sun) until I developed a noncontagious skin disease (psoriasis). I have received the good doctor’s orders to get out in the sun.
There’s all kinds of stuff to do in T.O. I remember a time when I was like a tourist in T.O. - yes, I even had a camera with me. I hear from people, quite often, that they have not seen the tourist spots in the city they live in. Too true. I have been on an architectural tour and a “Ghost walk” in downtown Toronto and, in turn, became a guide to my friend, Jackie (poor J, she’ll remember the blisters on her feet). After my tour of the U.K. and Ireland in 1994 (which took us to castles and cemeteries), I came back all interested in cemeteries – even got myself a guidebook of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (looking for famous people like the Eatons, William Lyon MacKenzie King, etc.), and visited other cemeteries in the GTA. I also joined “Stroll In The Park” several times, walking through some of GTA’s parks with a group (singles can meet there!). Each year, I am still going to the C.N.E. (in Aug.) and sometimes, to Centre Island (biking is quite fun).
Would you like to be a “tourist” in the GTA?
General Sights/Attractions in T.O. and surrounding regions:
So, you’ve lived in T.O. all your life, or at least, a good many years. Maybe, you have seen it all. Now what?
Well, may I suggest a trip across Ontario or Canada! Now, you know I’ll mention stuff on KaTsZoNeif I’ve actually experienced it. So, I can’t tell you about a trip across Europe because I’ve never done it. We sometimes take for granted those things (and people) which are closest to us.
Throughout the years, I have been to, stayed in (or lived in) places in Ontario and Quebec: Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Woodstock, Stratford, Peterborough, Kingston and other towns; Montreal (stayed a few months when we first came to Canada), Quebec City. But wait, I have seen more!
The two most amazing trips I’ve had in Canada, both with my friend, Tracy, was going all the way east, and all the way west across Canada. With Tracy, it’s pretty extreme sometimes. So, the only provinces I have not seen are Newfoundland&Labrador, PEI, Nova Scotia and all the territories (N.W., Yukon and Nunavut). Tracy said, “If people only knew how easy it is to go across Canada (i.e. all on the Trans Canada Highway), why don’t more people do it?” I wonder the same. Well, it is a HUGE country. Even the GTA is physically larger than many towns/cities. Travelling across Canada in the winter is CRAZY! And, as for summer – well, you know what they say, “There are two seasons in Canada: Winter and construction.”
My friends, if you don’t manage to do road trips, like I did, with Tracy, across Canada, try other ways to see this wonderful country. There is lots to learn – gosh, I have already forgotten the canoe capital – yikes! Anyway, you will learn a lot, and you don’t even need a passport to do so – unless, you’re like Tracy and me, and accidently….yes, it was an accident, exited the border and see a sign – “Welcome to the United States of America”? What??? Oy!
Many years ago, my friends, Ian and Diana, however, they brought me to a flea market/farmer’s market called, The Stouffville Country Market. Diana talked me into buying three small bottles of an imitation of Alfred Sung’s perfume (which I loved back then) for $10. Over a decade later, I found my way back there, and for the past several years, I have brought my mother there. We’ve picked up polarized sunglasses, jewellery (rings – 3 for $5), eye liner ($1 each), yummy loafs, and more.
When I first told my mother about “flea markets”, she was quite puzzled by the name “flea”. I didn’t know how that originated. Well, it seems the flea infested clothing and rags sold in the bazaar at Saint-Ouen, Paris, France in the 17th century was how it earned its name, “flea market”. So, that’s where it all began! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea_market
K’s Favourite Flea Markets/Farmer’s Markets:
Fantastic Flea Market 1250 South Service Rd., Dixie Outlet Mall, Blue Entrance to Lower Level, Mississauga (QEW & Dixie Rd.) Open: Year Round, Sat. & Sun.
Stouffville Country Market 12555 Tenth Line North,
Stouffville, Ontario (404 N. To Stouffville Side Road E., to the Tenth Line N.
Bypass Stouffille)Open: Sat. ; Sun.
The 400 MarketHWY 400 at Innisfil Beach Road, Barrie, Ontario (5 miles S. of Barrie, Hwy 400 at exit 85)
It’s a huge province – trust me! I kept asking Tracy, every few hours, is that still L. Superior? Yes….hours and hours and hours later. So, there’s lots to see and do just in Ontario this summer. I’m looking forward to some festivals and special events. Let me know if you’re interested in going together!
Shaw Festival at Niagara-On-The Lake; World’s Longest Street Festival (Yonge St.), Aurora (June 5/05); Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival, downtown Burlington (June 16-19/05); Casa Loma’s “Renaissance Festival”, Toronto (July 1-3/05); “Celtic Music Festival” at BlackCreekPioneerVillage, Toronto (Aug. 27-28/05). For more on festivals and other info. about Ont., visit http://www.ontariotravel.net/