I would never have guessed that this restaurant served such authentic and great-tasting Sichuan food! My mom and I stopped by the Commerce Gate plaza for some brunch and were surprised at how authentic the food was. Last summer, I travelled to Xi’an and three other cities in China as part of the Mon Sheong Youth Group for two weeks. When we were in Xi’an, we made sure to stop by Muslim Street to try some of the lamb skewers and well known beef noodles. So technically, I’ve had a taste of what real Xi’an food tastes like. I just couldn’t believe that I could taste the same thing here in Toronto, Canada! Mmm. 🙂
The decor of the restaurant is minimal and one of the first things that you notice upon walking in is that they serve hot pot! They have two big open fridges near the back of the restaurant where frozen and ready to boil food items are available for your choosing. It’s an all-you-can-eat hot pot style. They also have a full menu of a la carte Sichuan dishes for lunch and dinner which is what we chose from.
Out of the four dishes that we ordered, I absolutely loved three of them. How’s that for supreme like and satisfaction of this restaurant? 😀
The first one was a very affordable “Xi’an delicious pork with pancake (Chinese burger)” for just $2.99. It was pretty much grilled shredded pork sandwiched between two well pan-fried and crispy flatbreads. It was SO good! It was perfectly warm and crispy and the meat inside the “burger” was not too salty or bland. It was such a perfect snack to share for just $3. So impressed with such a simple thing!
Lamb skewers! On the Trip to China, we ate skewers at night that were grilled right in front of us on the open grills in the summer time air. Delicious memories. : ) One of the distinct things I remember about the skewers that we had in China was that instead of firing the skewers on wooden sticks like at a barbecue, the meat is pierced through metal ones. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Shaanxi Restaurant also grills their meat on metal skewer sticks. Memories! These lamb skewers were grilled to perfection and while each piece of lamb was a little fatty in some areas, it was seasoned just like how I remembered them to taste in Xi’an. Actually, they might even prepare it more deliciously here!
We ordered two bowls of noodles. One was the “Sichuan noodle with chili and sesame sauce” or ‘dam dam mein’ as it is sometimes called in Cantonese. I always like this type of noodle because the noodles are soft and submerged in the peanuty sauce and very flavourful. This dish had more of a Sichaun twist to it. The minced meat on the top of the noodles and soup broth tasted ma la (麻辣) where the two Chinese characters mean “numbing” and “spicy” and refers to the numbing feeling in the mouth after eating the food. This is really a special kind of spicy that is unique to Sichuan food.
The second bowl of noodle was a “Special hand made noodle”. Chinese menus aren’t very good at really explaining what the dish is sometimes, but this noodle was unique and, again, very “Sichuan” in taste. Each noodle was not made to be the same consistent shape; some parts of the noodle strands were big and fat while some parts were skinny and thin. It was definitely unique. They placed some hot oil/sauce on top of the dish which you then mixed into the rest of the noodles to get the flavour into every strand. The bok choy on the side were cold. It was definitely an interesting dish as well! It’s a little spicy as well as most Sichaun food is.
I still can’t believe there is this gem of a place uptown in Markham. I realize I actually really enjoy this cuisine and I can’t wait to return in the future to try more Sichuan dishes! Oh, and they offer free wifi. 😀