I want to go to there!
Words and photography by Jordan Villanueva
Whenever someone asks me where my favourite restaurant is, Wah Sing is the first that comes to mind.
Tucked away on a relatively quiet street in downtown Toronto, Wah Sing has been around for 15 years—the same amount of time my family has been faithful patrons to it. As far back as I can remember, dinners at Wah Sing were practically rituals for us. Auntie Dollar is coming in from Florida? You know where we’re going for Friday night dinner. Uncle Raoul is flying in from PEI? Better make our Sunday lunch reservation ASAP. Uncle Ray wants his chicken in the pot fix? Gotta go to Wah Sing.
Wah Sing has not only become a favourite of our family because of its excellent service and food, but also because it holds sentimental value. My late grandfather adored this place. And I’ve come to believe that when we entertain visiting guests, we’re actually reliving the meals we had with my grandfather by celebrating here.
Admittedly, I have a hard time sharing this place because it’s so dear to me. But to aid in your quest of finding sublime food, dear reader, I’m willing to indulge.
Note: Wah Sing is pricey. You can easily spend $100 here. But to save you some potential over-spending and the bittersweet exhaustion of trying to pick something off the menu, I’ll share the tried-and-true dishes the Villanueva clan always orders.
Cantonese Chow Mein, $13.95
Crispy with the perfect ratio of meat and vegetables to noodles and sauce, Wah Sing’s Cantonese Chow Mein is seriously the best chow mein I’ve ever had, hands down. I dream about it, I crave it daily; it’s that good.
Deep Fried Squid, $14.95
Cut into thin strips and deep-fried to perfection, Wah Sing’s squid is like no other. The calamari is served with a mix of peppers, onions and crispy prawn crackers. The batter that is used on the calamari has a delicious je ne sais quoi to it.
Chicken in the Pot, $14.95
Another crowd pleaser. Boneless pieces of chicken are lightly fried and cooked with an unknown but spectacular sauce in a hot pot (it’s my life’s mission to recreate the sauce. I’m pretty close). You know when it’s coming out from the kitchen by the obscene sizzling sound and overwhelming smell. Pro tip: when there’s little-to-no chicken left in the pot, scrape the burnt bits off the bottom and scoop in some rice and mix well. This is called salamog, and it’s the best darn thing you’ll ever learn to do.
Ginger and Scallion Lobster, $29.95
Ah, the crown jewel! I can’t speak for the rest of my family but I will say that this is by far my favourite dish on the menu. The lobster is lightly battered, fried and tossed with ginger and scallion. The lobster is always succulent, and the crisp batter is too good to pass on. Bonus: every day, they offer a “buy one, get one” on the lobster. It’s amazing.
Honourable mentions go to their chicken wings ($12.95), which have long been a favourite of my brother’s and mine, since childhood; we refuse to outgrow it. My mom and Auntie Dollar love the escargot in black bean sauce ($14.95), and my grandmother (and especially my late grandfather) will probably urge you to try the bok choy ($11.95) or snow peas with garlic ($14.95).
There you have it, readers. A glimpse into my favourite restaurant in the GTA. I hope after reading this, you go and check it out for yourself. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, and they only add to your experience.
If you do stop by, let me know how you liked it!
Note: Do not confuse Wah Sing for Hua Sung, which apparently is Wah Sing’s sister restaurant. It’s not the same experience; there’s a substantial difference in taste. Sorry Hua Sung, Wah Sing just does it better.
Wah Sing Seafood Restaurant
47 Baldwin St., Toronto