Be adventurous with your usual takeout with alternatives that don’t stray too far from the tried and true.
If you feel like staying in rather than heading to a busy restaurant for dinner, consider trying something a little different than your usual order and explore the numerous takeout spots Toronto has to offer.
Here’s a handy guide to some alternatives to the tried and true.
Yummy, obviously and that super-chewy crust from Maker and Blondie’s is really good, but you can get pizza anytime. And you probably have.
Must Try: Some call it Turkish pizza, but it’s way tastier than that. Try pide from Pizza Pide in the east end, Anatolian Pide House around College and Spadina and for lahmacun, there’s Mamajoun, an Armenian restaurant on Ellesmere in Scarborough.
According to certain histories, fried chicken originated in Scotland, where Boswell records Dr. Johnson being served some in the 18th century. If true, the Scots really dropped the ball.
Thankfully, some folks in Kentucky and Louisiana picked it up and licked their fingers; the rest is history. It’s still good, but not exactly uncharted territory.
Must Try: Korean-fried chicken. You can taste the results of this post-Korean War mash-up of American Southern fried chicken and Korean sauces and seasoning at The Fry (Yonge at Cummer, Sheppard, and Wellesley, and Bloor and Bathurst), Don Chon on the Queensway in Etobicoke, or Dakgogi (Yonge south of Finch or Yonge and Wellesley).
Here’s the thing about Chinese food: It doesn’t exist. China’s a big country, and it’s made up of many former smaller countries, making for one of the most regional food scenes on the planet.
And that’s not even counting the stuff that immigrants developed here, dishes like Singapore noodles, General Tso chicken, and chop suey, that were so successful, they’re still some of the most popular delivery and take-out choices.
The Eight Traditions
In China, their cuisines have been divided into eight categories, most of which we can get here. So why not try Jiangsu food at Tian Xin in Thornhill, Zheijang cuisine from Green Tea (Highway 7, Markham) or Asian Legend (Dundas and McCaul, Finch and Leslie, Sheppard in Scarborough, and Don Mills at Barber Greene)?
The country’s big, and so is its take-out shadow, so of course, there are several alternatives to the sort of fun food they used to call Chinese in Canada that we now call Chinese-Canadian.
Like those vermillion sweet and sour pork balls and plump egg rolls, you’d slice down the middle and squeeze those plum sauce packets into.
Must Try: Taiwanese fried chicken. The most popular chicken spot in Taiwan, Hot Star, recently opened locations downtown on Yonge, in North York at Yonge and Finch, and at Pacific Mall in Markham.
Who doesn’t love a good Pad Thai? Especially now that we’re getting such good Pad Thai at spots like Pai. But there’s more to Southeast Asia than Thailand.
Must Try: Souk Gai at Lao Thai (4 Gladstone in West Queen West) or Nam Khao from Wiang Kuk Thai in First Markham Place.
Easy, portable, and inexpensive even when you order from one of the gourmet places like Burger’s Priest or Rudy.
The Art of the Sandwich
The breakfast sandwiches at Egg Bae’s, like Eh Bae Bae, are ridiculous and perfect and a must if you haven’t started getting breakfast delivered yet.
Then there’s Vietnamese banh mi (Banh Mi Boys or Banh Haus are a couple of a dozen options), Maha’s Egyptian sandwiches on Greenwood just north of Gerrard (try The Max) and Sea Witch’s pickerel sandwich (St. Clair and Christie).
Portable and easy to eat at home, fish from places like JapanGo and Taro have been go-to’s for ages. But other nations have coastlines, too.
Other fish in the sea
Why not order fish and chips to enjoy in front of the TV? Go for Duckworth’s at Danforth and Main, Kingsway at Bloor and Royal York, or Fresco’s in Kensington Market.
And if you want to keep it raw, there’s always poke (Poke Eats at Yonge and Sheppard, perhaps, or any of the dozens of downtown spots).