Despite the fact that it’s 32 freakin’ degrees celcius in Toronto today, it is actually Autumn. And in Chinatown, where they’re getting ready to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, they’re buying mooncakes.
Mooncake is a Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.
I’ve been able to find non-egg mooncakes all year long throughout Chinatown, but the ones with eggs are more readily available during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Yu Shan Dumpling Cuisine
771 Dundas Street West
Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer (no dessert): $40
I’m always jonesing for the dumplings from that other dumpling place over on Huron Street, but never seem to make it over there. So when I found myself at Bathurst and Dundas recently, and in need of sophonsification, there was Yu Shan Dumpling Cuisine. That wasn’t there before, I thought, as the streetcar rolled past.
That’s because the space was formerly the Side Door Grill, abandoned after a round of Restaurant Makeover and a boiler explosion. The story circulating on local forums is that the landlord, once the previous tenants left, decided to try her hand at running the place herself.
With a fancy renovated front of house that really is more bar than “dumpling house”, all Jenny Tiao needed were some great dishes. And who doesn’t like dumplings?