Restaurant: Taste of Yunnan
Location: 438 Dundas Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1G6
Price Range: $
Okay the secret is out.. One of my favorite noodle restaurant in Chinatown for a cheap hearty bowl of noodle soup – other than Pho – is Taste of Yunnan. As a food blogger, I rarely come back to a restaurant more than 2 times, however I have been here over 10 times with C already (shocking, I know) so I’m sure the owner recognize us by now.
The inside of the restaurant was spacious, clean and the decor was quite simple. While some people said the service can be a hit and miss here, overall I found it to be decent and honestly.. it’s a Chinese restaurant, I don’t think you can expect exceptional service here.
Since the kitchen is underground, the restaurant use an elevator to deliver the dishes from the basement to the top, it was quite a sight to watch the dishes coming out of that elevator!
One of the most popular dish in Taste of Yunnan was the cross-bridge rice noodle. Odd name but supposedly there is a story behind it! There are different variations however the general meaning behind the story was that a scholar studied far away, and his wife found a way to keep the food warm by crossing a bridge with the ingredients, and assemble the dish on the spot.
The noodle soup is meant to be ‘cooked’ at the table, however depends on the restaurant the waiter/waitress might do this for you. In Taste of Yunnan, the server will bring out all the ingredients and assemble the noodle bowl on the table. First, a plate of sliced meats (ham, beef, and chicken), and a quail egg. Underneath is a plate of veggies and then comes the boiling hot bowl of broth and a small bowl of noodles. There is a step by step process where the server inserts the quail egg first, then the sliced meats. The idea is that the meat, followed by the egg and noodles should be cooked through within a few minutes. Finally the fresh herbs and pickled vegetables are added as a garnish.
This was my first bowl of crossing-bridge noodles so I have nothing for comparison, but the broth was light and tasty, not overly salty and no MSG! There was a light film of oil on top which was normal as the oil would keep the broth hot enough while being transferred from the kitchen to the table. The meats and vegetables were cooked just right. Some people might compare this broth to a Pho broth, I would disagree (I’m not being bias because I’m Viet..lol). The broth here was a simple chicken broth, while pho had more spices (cinnamon, star anise) in it, but at the end of the day, both are delicious and I can quite easily eat two bowls of it.
Would I recommend this place? Yes if you would like to give this Yunnan Crossing-bridge noodle soup a shot, as there aren’t many place restaurants in Toronto that serve this. I can’t be too sure about the other dishes though, but C said all of their other dishes were quite delicious as well!