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, Ontario (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, Caribbean Corner, Tap Phong, and often stop at Golden Patty or a taqueria 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 history & food tour and be a tourist in my city I immediately hopped on board!
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!
This is a walking tour through Toronto’s Chinatown and Kensington Market and runs a few times a week. We had a small group of people so there was 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 takes about 3 hours. You’ll be walking so be sure to wear comfy shoes, bring layers or sunscreen if needed for the weather, and bring some water. There are a few stops and you’ll be eating a fair amount of food, so don’t eat before you go! Depending on your appetite you may want to take a small container to put your leftovers in.
The first stop and meeting point was Mother’s Dumplings on Spadina Avenue. I’ve eaten here several times, but the dishes we tried on this tour were all new to me.
Mike, our tour guide, gave us a quick rundown 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.
Our menu was preset and consisted of a variety of steamed dumplings: shrimp, egg & chive, winter melon, and glass noodles & tofu, paired with tea.
After eating we stopped by to see how dumplings were 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
Chinese Traditional Bun, a small restaurant tucked in amongst a few stores and quite easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention, was our next stop on this tour. It’s a small restaurant is down a few steps with seating if you want to eat there.
We had small bites at the first 2 stops and the bowl of Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles at this stop was quite hearty. The small bowl of noodles is served cold and topped with pork, chili oil, and cilantro on top, and under the noodles is spicy sauce made from red peppercorns, garlic, ginger. It was super delicious and hearty with a spice that warmed me up!
Just around the corner was Global Cheese, our first Kensington Market stop, where we sampled some local deli meats and cheeses. On the sampling board 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. Simple, delicious, and a great way to continue our journey.
Golden Patty was next on the list. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been to small shop for a patty, a baked treat or some bread.
We each had a half of a Jerk Chicken Patty and cup of 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 dessert at Pancho’s – a freshly made, warm 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 a variety of delicious food, this tour is a great way to spend half of a day. Mike, our guide, was super friendly and easy going. He guided us from stop to stop with ease, shared some neighbourhood history and answered all questions.