Have you ever been on a food tour in your home city? I went on a food tour in Toronto and ate some delicious food, discovered new restaurants and met some great people!
I've lived in Toronto (Canada) for most of my life, and regularly visit & shop in Chinatown and Kensington Market. I have my go to shops - Sanagan's Meat Locker and Caribbean Corner, and often stop at Golden Patty for a snack before heading home.
I find myself visiting the same shops and restaurants, so when I had an opportunity to join Local Food Tours for a walking and history food tour and be a tourist in my own city, and I immediately hopped on board!
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About Local Food Tours Kensington Market Food Tour
Discover Toronto's most culturally diverse neighbourhoods with 6+ exciting food stops. Visit the hidden corners and back alleys of Kensington Market as you learn about the area, its history, its culture and, of course, its food!
The tour takes you through Toronto's Chinatown and Kensington Market, and runs a few times a week. My tour was a small group of people so we had a chance to get to know each other, ask the tour leader lots of questions and enjoy the day without it feeling like a school trip.
The tour is about 3 hours, and you'll eat a fair amount of food during this time, so go ready to eat!
The first stop was Mother's Dumplings on Spadina Avenue. I've eaten here a few times, but the dishes we tried on this tour were all new to me.
Mike, our tour guide, gave us a quick run down of the food we were going to eat - North Eastern style Chinese steamed dumplings - an overview of the plates, bowls and cups on the table and how each is intended to be used for those not familiar, plus quick guide to the sauces: black vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil.
We sampled a few different steamed dumplings: shrimp, egg & chive, winter melon, glass noodles and tofu, had some tea and had a chance to see dumplings being made. This was a great way to start the tour. Small, light bites with loads of flavour!
Just down the street from Mother's Dumplings is Mashion Bakery, where we stopped for freshly made, flaky egg tarts.
The egg tarts were warm and lightly sweetened with a super flaky pastry. If you've never had an egg tart I recommend giving one a try!
Chinese Traditional Bun
We headed to Chinese Traditional Bun, a small restaurant tucked in amongst a few stores and quite easy to miss.
While we has small bites at the first 2 stops, the bowl of Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles with pork, chili oil and cilantro was quite hearty. This dish had spicy sauce made from red peppercorns, garlic, ginger on the bottom of the bowl. This cold noodle dish was super delicious with a spice that warmed me up!
Our next stop, just around the corner, was Global Cheese located in Kensington Market to sample some local deli meats and cheeses. On the menu was an Italian salami with red wine, Blythe Farms Queen Bee goat cheese with mead, 1978 DaSilva cheese and 5 Brothers cows milk gouda aged on cedar planks.
Golden Patty was our next stop. I can't even count the amount of times I've been to Golden Patty for a patty, a baked treat or some bread.
On this visit we sampled the Jerk Chicken Patty and homemade Ginger Beer, two items that I haven't had before.
Fresco's Fish & Chips
My stomach was getting quite full by this point but the freshly made fish & chips at Fresco's was too tasty to resist. The extra crispy fish batter had crushed Mrs. Vicki's salt & vinegar chips and the fries were made with Ontario russet potatoes.
The last stop was Pancho's for a freshly made, sweet churro. These churros could be filled with dulce de leche but I opted to have mine plain, with just the cinnamon sugar on the outside.
Do I recommend this tour?
Absolutely! If you want a bit of Toronto history and some great food, this tour is a great option. Mike, our guide, was super friendly and easy going. He guided us from stop to stop with ease and answered all questions whether it was about the history of these neighbourhoods or about the food we were sampling.