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Restaurants & Bars

Sam's Congee Delight, 7354 Woodbine Ave., Markham - New location with some food still as good as old... BUT NOT ALL!

Charles Yu | Aug 31, 201802:59 PM    

Founded in 1966 as a Hawker food stall ( Dai Pai Dong ) next to Honk Kong's Kwun Tong Wet Market. Its migration to Market Village decades ago brought an authentic and nostalgic taste of Hong Kong street food experience to Toronto. Providing a range of Chinese (Cantonese) breakfast staples like made-to-order, hand crafted Cheung-Fun rice noodles, Flavored Rice Congees and fried Crullers....etc. The 'old' store attracted a constant stream of customers who were willing to wait in line to savor some yummy, comfort food offerings and hopefully at the end, some fond memories as well.

With the planned demolition of Market Village, Sam's has since relocated to a much bigger and brighter space on Woodbine Avenue, just north of Steeles. With super high ceiling and some funky colored furniture, the current ambiance and comfort level is way better than their previous, claustrophobic shop.

For our late lunch, my wife and I ordered a couple of bowls of ' Minced beef with fried rice vermicelli ' and ' Thousand year egg and pig's liver ' rice congee. We also had a single Fried Crullers to go with them. In the past, their house special, hand crafted, made-to-order, rice roll Cheung-Fun was a ' must have '. As such, we doubled down by ordering two plates of ' Scallions and sun dried shrimps ' version. To bring back home as snacks, we also ordered a couple of old favorite nostalgic street food items - Braised pig skin and fish balls and Curry Cuttle fish.

Apart from their skimming on the size of the congee by using smaller bowls.....a no-no! Quality for both Cheung-Fun and rice congee were as good as before. Both silky smooth and with the right textural feel. Seasoning was spot on with thumbs up given to the perfectly cooked pig's liver.

Unfortunately, our iconic street food snacks were lazily and badly executed.....a huge let-down! The sad looking, main ingredients were totally tasteless and bland. Even the aromatic and tasty curry sauce was not enough to rescue them. Such huge discrepancies to their delicious house-special products! What a shame!

Lesson learned! For our next visit, we'll just stick to their forte - house special Congees, Rice Roll Cheung-Fun and Fried Crullers and nothing else!

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