Location: 8 Glen Watford Drive, Scarborough
Brunei is a tiny little country that’s effectively right in the middle of Malaysia. With a population of around 400,000, it’s not the smallest country in the world, but it’s still small enough that there are zero Bruneian restaurants in the GTA.
Their proximity to Malaysia means that their cuisine bears a lot of similarity to Malaysian food, so this is actually an easy one. There are a handful of Malaysian restaurants in the GTA, including One2Snacks, which is particularly well-regarded for having a tasty bowl of curry laksa.
Curry laksa is a seriously delicious curry-tinged noodle soup with a creamy richness thanks to coconut milk. It’s kind of similar to khao soi, but with a zingier, more spice-packed flavour.
The version at One2Snacks is an amazing deal — it’s about eight bucks, and comes in an enormous bowl that’s absolutely crammed with noodles (thick and thin), shrimp, chicken, tofu, and fish balls.
It doesn’t quite have the creamy vibrancy of the best bowls of laksa that I’ve had, but it’s quite satisfying nonetheless. The broth has enough depth and spice to be eminently slurpable, the noodles have a great texture, and the mix-ins are all tasty (the chicken has a mildly leftovery flavour, but everything else is great, particularly the tender fish balls).
Location: 5130 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
If the whole point of this blog is to try new things, then I’m failing pretty miserably with this entry; not only have I been to Cho Dang Soon Tofu several times before, I’ve even written about it for another blog.
Still, I haven’t written about the restaurant’s namesake dish: an intensely flavourful, bubbling hot stew that I can’t get enough of.
Like any Korean restaurant worth its salt, the meal starts with a generous selection of banchan — essentially a variety of small appetizers. My favourite here are the crispy, addictively salty fried sardines, but the silky cubes of soft tofu (made in house) with a little bowl of sesame- and green-onion-infused soy sauce for dipping are also quite memorable, as is the obligatory (and delcious) kimchi.
But of course, the reason to come here is that delicious, piping-hot stew. I got mine with pork, though several other options are available. It’s spicy, flavourful, and seriously hearty — aside from the aforementioned pork, its absolutely suffused with the restaurant’s creamy house-made tofu, not to mention the egg that you crack into the bowl yourself, and the generous bowl of purple rice that accompanies the stew (made that distinctive colour by mixing black rice in with the white).
The best part? All that food? Eight bucks. Yeah, it’s a deal.