TUM! What does that word mean to you? Does it make you think of ‘tummy’ as in your stomach? ‘Tums’ as in the little pills that help you with heartburn after a heavy meal? In Toronto, “TUM” means a foodie event called the Toronto Underground Market that occurs every couple of months in Toronto! It features different vendors who are able to showcase their delicious creations for foodies in a food market-like venue.
What happens is that you buy a ticket to enter TUM and then you can go around to the different vendors to buy a food item for around $5 or so. They also serve drinks and beer at the event. There was an outdoor area where the food stalls and food trucks were and also an indoor area for more vendors. There weren’t a lot of standing tables or tables in general, so most people ate their food while standing in line at the next vendor.
Five friends and I decided to go to TUM this year in May (they have it in May, July, August, and September this year). It was my first time to TUM, and despite being a “foodie”, this was only my second food festival that I’ve been to (the first one being the TO Food Fest last summer). I was excited to say the least. I was so excited that I actually forgot to bring my camera. Food blogger fail! I was pretty disappointed and shocked because I rarely forget to bring my camera with me. I made
do did with the camera on my phone though and also because we happened to have three amazing photographers in our group who actually took amazing, high-quality photos with their cameras! (So as you’ll see in the following pictures, all the high-quality ones are from my friend Victor. Thanks, Victor!!)
We tried a variety of items and were able to organize our 6-people group by choosing a location near the deck as our meet-up spot. We dispersed in groups of two’s to buy food and then met together again to share what we got. (Now that I describe it like that, it reminds me of olden day tribes that used to disperse to find food and then gather together to eat, haha. It was actually a fantastic idea and we got to try a lot of food from the vendors this way.
The first thing we tried was the “Yankee BBQ Ribs” from Home of the Brave. I saw someone eating it and knew immediately wanted to try it too. It smelled amazing! We ordered two portions so that each person got a rib. I loved these!! They were so juicy and tangy. The meat was tender too. 😀 This turned out to be my second favourite food item of the night!
Next up, we tried the “Texas BBQ Sampler” from Smoke Stack BBQ. A box contained beef brisket, sausage, pickles, bread, and a single rib. The beef brisket was extremely tender and soft. I loved it! The fatty portions of the brisket made the taste even better. I liked the sausage that was in the box too.
The bean taco was all right. There was a strong mint and cilantro flavour which some of us didn’t particularly enjoy.
From Stuffed Co., we ordered two stuffed wings: “Cheesy Mac” and “Wonton Bomb”. They also had a third one called “Fully Loaded” which has “mashed potatoes with all the fixings”. The Cheesy Mac was the one I liked most since there was literally macaroni and cheese stuffed inside the wing! I love anything cheesy, so this was an interesting wing to try! The “Wonton Bomb” wasn’t that great of a hit for me… it wasn’t very flavourful and was okay. I would have liked to try the Fully Loaded one — I love mashed potatoes! 😀
Up next, we had what I thought were the best food items that we had all night — the butter chicken pies! I actually had my eye on this one upon walking into the 99 Sudbury building and I was really glad that we tried this. It was a pie with butter chicken inside! The butter chicken wasn’t very spicy, but it was creamy and really really good! Yum! I really liked the pastry of the pie as well. 😀
Next up, we tried galettes from the Galette Girls. I’ve never had or heard of a galette before so this was a treat! Galettes are apparently like savory pancakes. There were 4 varieties available. I chose the Gaston and Camille ones. Gaston one was my favourite since the sauteed mushrooms were in a thyme cream sauce.
We then tried an foie gras pop tart. It was so interesting! Within the soft pastry of the pop tart (which didn’t taste pop-tart-like at all), there were lots of blueberries. I couldn’t taste the foie gras at all unfortunately. The good thing was that at least the pastry was really well done.
We couldn’t leave TUM without trying the beer! With our drink tickets, we got 3 Fish Eye beers and 3 Augusta Ales. One was significantly stronger on the other and tasted more unique than other beers that I’ve had before.
Lastly, we finished off the TUM food adventure with a lamb skewer with pomegranate mint labne. The meat was really soft and tender!
Tim and I wanted to try some raw oysters but they were already sold out by the time we got to the vendor. We left feeling quite full and satisfied from all the types of food we had. I also noticed that most of the food items were meats or pastry-items. How interesting! Maybe that was the theme of May TUM this year? After we left, we actually went to have some dessert at a new bakery called Bang Bang Ice Cream Bakery on Ossington. I’ll blog about that one in another post.
Would I go to another TUM festival in the future? Perhaps! I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea that you had to pay to go in as the first food festival I went to — TO Food Fest — was free to admit and the food items were relatively the same price as the ones in TUM’s. In any case, I’m so glad that I had this experience of attending TUM for the first time! Yay! 🙂