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Posted July 25, 2011 by samuek in

T&T Nightmarket Stunk…Of Tofu!

I love me some Night Markets.  We need more of these eateries of the night and need them in areas of easy access.  Like not in Markham and not near Polson Pier and not just Asian markets.  We need these across the city and the food should represent the people who live in Toronto.  So there should be a global market, or sets of markets that represents the diversity available.  This does not mean that the 3 or so Asian Night Markets a year are poor.  I actually love attending them but also want to see other cultures band together or the whole global culture join aprons and get cooking.  You should be able to sample small glasses of wines, enjoy a beer, contemplate tapas or scotch eggs.  This would be ideal.  Now let’s talk about T&T’s market.   

The event was held in the parking lot of the Loblaw owned T&T Supermarket, in downtown Toronto.  The location is off of Polson Pier where many cruises leave for the city and the Docks complex is.  I made sure to arrive early to avoid the masses of people I anticipated would flood the area.  Parking was affordable at $5 and there was plenty.  We left just before it started to get dark and the masses of carnivores arrived.

The food offerings were what I would expect to find at a successful night market.  These are items you would not normally get at a restaurant like sugar cane, grilled octopus and sea snails.  There was multiple styles of food represented from Taiwan, Japan, Szechuan Province, Vietnam, amongst others all trying to stay true to their culture.   

Then there were certain restaurants serving food out of chafing dishes.  No thank you to that so I passed most of those.  Why eat those when you can see the whole cooking process of how to make octopus balls or Murtabak.  Part of the draw of these events is watching these creations being made.  Identifying the skill that goes into some of these amazing dishes.  Let me share with you the outlandish process of making octopus balls.  Scoops of white mix get spread over these waffle like griddles.  The part of the mix that is touching the circular indent gets cooked and forms a circle.  Then with two metal chopsticks working like the legs of a spider spinning a web, the mix that is on the flat surface gets pushed onto the ball and quickly turned.  They repeat until they have collected all of the material from the flat area and have cooked and formed the ball into a circle.  All this for 5 balls for $5.  Cool or what?

I really did not have enough room to try everything but I have a new found love for the oyster omelet and octopus balls.  You could also find many fun items like tornado tempura, potato chips skewered and rolled in spices or specialty toast.

Then there was this crazy ish from the man Lee, Susur Lee to be exact.  This is the guy that walks into a bar and orders his lychee martini shaken not stirred.  Angus cheeseburger spring rolls. Man were these good.  Pricey but tasted like the best deep fried cheeseburger ever.

You could have eaten bacon ice cream.  Need I say more?  The best stuffed tofu and these little fish shaped pancakes.  I watched some people making their dishes until I made them uncomfortable.

Then there was new age hot dogs.  Like hot dogs needed a make over.  Well they were not too bad.  Tofu dog, Thai style, hot dog in a paratha, and a french fry bacon dog.

Fresh seafood like lobsters, oysters, mussels, squid and seas snail.  Don’t forget the stinky tofu.

Phillipino Ukoy or deep fried shrimp fritter made with sweet potato and bean sprouts served with vinegar.

Phillipino Kwek-Kwek or fired battered quail eggs with some annatto seeds served with vinegar.

Szechwan style noodles drowned in my friend and foe the Sichuan peppercorn. The peppercorn provides an intense flavour but also produces a mouth numbing, tingly sensation.  Every Chinese restaurant on the planet has a szechwan beef or szechwan something dish but rarely is true szechwan ingredients.  You should try to find one in the city and you will taste the difference of how good szechwan cooking can be.

The squid being grilled upon request to keep the squid fresh.  So considerate.
Murtabak or Malaysian stuffed pancake with a perfect blend of spice but not spicy.  Watch how they make these and just ignore the guy on the megaphone selling lamb skewers saying “5 for $5.”


If this doesn’t say it all, then I do not know what does.




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