Delicious aromas from authentic Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants waft through the air as you navigate your way through crowded sidewalks full of vendors selling everything from durian fruit to discount textiles and electronics.
CHINESE COMFORT FOOD
The namesake made-fromscratch delights at Mother’s Dumplings come boiled, steamed or pan fried, and stuffed with your choice of pork, tofu and melon, among other options. If you still have room, don’t hold back from digging into a plate of the spicy mapo tofu or crunchy General Tso’s chicken. 421 Spadina Ave., mothersdumplings.com
Want to maximize your ability to sample as many foods as possible? Join one of Savour Toronto’s Taste of Chinatown tours. Learn about the history and culture of the area’s Chinese community as you chow down on dim sum, northern-style dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, or sweet and savoury pastries. savourtoronto.com
The Chinatown outpost of Dark Horse Espresso Bar is the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Spadina Avenue. Sip a latte made with aromatic Detour and 49th Parallel espresso beans, a flavourful Dark Horse cold brew or an organic cold-pressed juice. The chain brings in its own baked goods (think scones, brownies and muffins) daily from its Geary Avenue location. 215 Spadina Ave., darkhorseespresso.com
Sonic Boom, Canada’s largest independent record store, stocks thousands of new and used vinyl records, as well as CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. The two-floor shop
also sells trendy books, T-shirts, turntables and vinyl accessories. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with one of the intimate in-store concerts, which have featured guests like Do Make Say Think, The Weakerthans and Ty Segall. 215 Spadina Ave., sonicboommusic.com
If you’re in town on February 17 and 18, head over to Dragon City Mall for lunar year celebrations. A festive atmosphere encompasses the indoor centre as the Chinese community rings in the year of the dog.
Take part in traditional games and activities and watch colourful lion dances, which are performed at auspicious occasions. Year-round, shop for imported items, haggle over prices and discover your new favourite flavour of bubble tea, all under one roof.
280 Spadina Ave.
In the mood for a snack or some dessert? Head to Hong Kong Island Bakery for an assortment of traditional Chinese pastries, such as pineapple, coconut or barbecue pork buns, egg tarts, almond cookies and red bean sesame balls. 336 Spadina Ave.
At Jackpot Chicken Rice, everything on the menu, from the kaffir broccoli tempura to the Hainanese chicken to the rich, Schmaltzy rice, is full of exciting East Asian flavours, both traditional and new. 318 Spadina Ave., jackpotchickenrice.com
Jackpot Chicken Rice