From a Dundas Street food stall, some damn good lamb skewers.
My favourite spot in downtown Chinatown is a mysterious little shack with a sign that says “lamb kebab.” It has an idyllic poster of sheep in a green meadow with a couple dozen freshly grilled lamb skewers floating above them in the perfect blue sky.
The official name of this takeout stall is Cai Die Xuan Food, and according to its City registration, it’s located at 494 Dundas Street West. However, on its own flyers it says it’s located at 492 Dundas Street West, and that it’s simply called “BBQ Store.” Never mind. Just look for the dreamy lamb poster on the north side of Dundas Street West just east of Spadina Avenue, and you’ll find the place.
The three-year-old stall serves a wide range of street food you’d find in China, with some dishes hailing from the north and others from the south. The most popular dish is the northern-style lamb kebab. You can get two skewers for $3. They’re grilled right in front of you, and staffer Shiming Zhang coats them with a generous amount of cumin and hot pepper.
Shiming also recommends the squid, cut into curly, taut chunks, skewered and slathered with barbecue sauce. Cuttlefish balls are dense, springy marbles that pack a tasty, fish-intense punch. Adventurous eaters can sample pork hoof, pig blood, deep-fried stinky tofu, and duck gizzards. Grilled sweet potatoes and corn on the cob are also popular.
Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.