Eat + Drink

Crossing the Line: Where Eastern Cuisine Meets Western Culture in Toronto

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine you won’t be hard pressed to find authentic eats from the East when you visit Toronto.

The city’s Chinatown neighborhood may be the epicenter for Chinese food, but along the area’s outskirts you’ll find restaurants maintaining the integrity of our favorite Asian comfort foods while incorporating Western standards.

Here are three Asian restaurants with a western flare worth checking out.

DaiLo

toronto restaurants
DaiLo is a hidden Toronto gem. (Photo: Nina Pikula)

Close to Little Italy on College Street is, a hidden gem that’s become a favorite among locals for inventive Chinese fare that follows a French tradition. Led by owner and chef Nick Liu, you’ll find savory offerings made with locally sourced ingredients.

Fried watermelon with pickled melon rind pork floss, and a whole fried trout with nahm jim, green curry aioli and soy glaze are a few of their flavor-filled staples. Chef Liu and his team put a lot of emphasis on the presentation of each dish, offering a harmonious dining experience that’s not only a feast for your taste buds but eyes as well.

Kanpai Snack Bar

toronto restaurants
Small plates rule at Kanpai. (Image: Courtesy of Kanpai Snack Bar)

Cabbage Town’s Kanpai Snack Bar pays homage to Taiwanese street food with mouthwatering dishes that uphold Hakka-style flavor profiles from the East. The fried chicken is what Kanpai’s co-founder, Trevor Lui, refers to as the star of the menu — when you come face to face with it, you’ll understand why.

Taiwanese fried chicken usually looks like a schnitzel in Taiwan but like most dishes on the menu, Chef Lui chose to change up the presentation to suit a Western environment while maintaining traditional flavors using a gluten-free batter.

Hanmoto

At Hanmoto, you’ll find a fusion of Japanese- and American-style cuisine with punchy flavors and colors to match. With a slew of fried options like Dyno Wings and deep fried coco bun, this Izakaya and dive bar makes a day of caloric overindulgence worthwhile.

If you find yourself at Hanmoto, give the Nasu Dengaku a try and you’ll encounter a deep fried Japanese eggplant with crispy frizzled beets sprinkled on top — delicious.

How to Tackle Toronto Like a Global Foodie

Brigitte Truong is a digital influencer who has solidified herself as the go-to source in Toronto for the latest trends in lifestyle and entertainment as a forward thinking digital/media content creator, the host of The Watchlist, and a recognizable personality on red carpets, movie junkets and popular music festivals.