House of Gourmet
Everyone in Toronto has their Chinatown favourite (gastro genius Susur Lee rates Taste of China on Spadina Avenue), but this authentic pit stop always does big business. Open 20-hours a day, it appeals to those looking for a little midnight MSG, but it’s a Chinese community slurp-fest at lunchtime when faces are buried in bowls of congee and noodles.
Whole pigs are barbequed in the back, and live seafood waits solemnly in a tank. There’s a militant order to the seating and waiters will yell your order back in your face, but they’re perfectly amiable. Precious and pedantic Westerners can be seen cleaning their cutlery with napkins first, but judging from the spic and span bathroom facilities, standards here are well above Chinatown average.