Restaurant: Kanto by Tita Flips
Location: 707 Dundas Street W, Toronto, ON M5T 2W6
Price Range: $
Before having dessert at Petit Nuage, Karen (Stenoodie) and I had lunch at Kanto by Tita Flips, which is conveniently located in Market 707. As you guys can tell by now, I LOVE this area. The little shops at Market 707 serve top notch, often authentic dishes at reasonable prices, and Kanto is one of them. This post will comprises of my two visits, because my tummy is small and I can’t eat everything that are listed here! :p
The food is always made to order, so you know it’s fresh and of course, made with a lot of love :p. There were so many options on the menu that we had a hard time choosing! However both of us saw the balut (fertilized duck embryo) and we knew we had to get it lol.
Karen and I ordered the Lechon Kawali, which is pork belly pan fried until skin is crispy. Although this was supposed to be served with garlic rice and papaya slaw, I actually didn’t get the slaws at all (I checked after I got home). In addition, I wish the garlic flavor in the rice was stronger, as I lovedddd the one I had at Lamesa. With that said, the pork belly was succulent and super crispy. It actually reminds me of the Chinese version, but I find the Chinese version is more salty compared to lechon. I thought the lechon sauce was okay, it was a bit sweet and sour so it wouldn’t be my choice of sauce for this dish. I think a spicy sauce or fish sauce would go well with the lechon ;).
Both Karen and I were surprised when we found out Kanto serves Balut, because well, it’s not for the faint-hearted. It was Karen’t first time to try the Balut, as I have had it multiple times in Vietnam when I was a kid.
*Time for a balut education: it’s a common and popular street food in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. Apparently some people believe balut is an aphrodisiac, but I don’t know, I eat it because it’s delicious. Yes essentially you are eating a developing duck fetus. Is it wrong? Up to you, I’m Asian, don’t ask me that question.
Depends on the “age” of the duck fetus, you can sometimes see the entire duck embryo with the feathers/wings/eyes of the duck. Because of this, either close your eyes when you eat or well, just don’t order it. The next picture will show the inside of the egg, but don’t worry, you won’t see the duck at all ;).
Not a bad sight right?! The eggs are hard-boiled, so you are supposed to peel the shells and slurp the juices inside the egg! I actually didn’t know the latter at all haha. Anyhow, before you eat, put a pinch of salt (provided with the balut) and enjoy the egg!
My best description of the egg is that the yolk has a custard texture, whereas the white part is very soft and felt like eating a liver. Honestly it just tastes like a regular boiled egg, except balut has a rich duck broth.
On my second visit, I got the palabok and I was so close to getting the halo halo (traditional filipino dessert) but I had a sore throat (sighs). Despite how the dish resembles pad thai, the taste is extremely different. Again, where is my egg slices! I didn’t want to ask as I had to wait 40 minutes for this dish, and my friend have already gotten her orders from Gushi.
Despite being a noodle dish, the cornstarch noodles were light and not too filling at all! I believe they boiled the noodles and tossed with the sauce and other ingredients. I found the flavors to be really balanced, not too salty nor too sour. While some might find the sauce to be a bit.. saucy (lol), overtime I realized that is how Filipino food is supposed to be like, so I don’t mind at all. Although it added some texture, I don’t think the pork cracklings were needed as it didn’t go well with the shrimps. I had pieces of the cracklings stuck on my teeth (lol), and it just added no flavor to the palabok.
I am definitely a fan of Kanto, just like any other places that I have tried so far in Market 707! Given it’s a food stall on the street with just one lady preparing the food (most of the time), it might take quite sometime for your order to be ready. However the food is not “street food” nor re-heat in the microwave at all! Everything is made to order, very tasty with generous portion and of course, cheap! For sure I will make more trips to Kanto in the future, as I must try the halo halo and their full authentic Filipino’s menu… if possible :D.