- Breathing Toronto.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rol San @chinatown - our usual dimsum place

The downside of living in downtown Toronto is the limited number of decent Chinese restaurants. You might disagree and argue that there's a whole street packed with Chinese food but compared to food you get uptown, Chinatown is lacking.

My family is pretty adventurous when it comes to eating out. We like to try different places but there are a few that we just keep going back to and Rol san (323 Spadina Ave) is one of them. Either for lunch or dinner, this place serves up excellent food.We usually come here for weekend dimsum. The only drawback to this place is the amount of people. If you get here after 12, expect to wait for a table.

you can see that they serve dimsum all day long, so if you ever have a late night craving, you know where to go.

This is the front space, there's also a back area with many more tables. We got here before 11:30, so we didn't have to wait. A few minutes after we sat down, there was a mob of people that came. Glad we got here early!

decent amount of variety.

Prices ranges from $3 to $5, pretty standard price. If you want quality and cheap food, go uptown, some places have dimsum for $2.50/item. (eg. Perfect Chinese Restaurant in Scarborough)

Spareribs in Black bean sauce ($2.88)
commonly people would order siu mai and har gow for dimsum but I think they should add this in. Don't let the black bean sauce scare you, the taste is not that strong and the spareribs are super juicy. A different level of juiciness and texture than grilled ribs.

Shrimp Rice Rolls ($4.28) - 3 pieces (missing one in the picture)
This is definitely a must have! If you don't like shrimp you can get any of the other rice rolls, they are just as good. If you're a vegetarian, get the Buddha's Feast or rice rolls with Chinese donuts. You cannot leave dimsum without having any rice rolls. For me, this is the main dish. It's difficult to make the rice layer thin but not too thin that it would break. It takes quite a lot of skills. In recent years, I find that most Chinese restaurants in Canada can do it pretty decent but I remember when I was in Calgary 10 years ago, most of the rice rolls are super thick.

Fried eggplant with shrimp paste ($2.88) - 3 pieces
I don't usually get this, and this was my first time from here. It's very different from what I imagined, and probably won't ever get this again. usually it's half the size of this, i guess you get more for you're money but I think that was the reason it was so bad. The eggplant was undercook and the shrimp paste was bland. The only good thing was they served it hot which is a must for this item or else it gets soggy.

Chicken feet in chef's sauce ($2.88) & Puff BBQ Pork Pastry with Apple ($2.88)
I saved the best for last. I know some people who just love chicken feet. I've seen a table that got 5 of these. I'm not a big fan but I still eat it. I know a lot of you may think, ewwww chicken feet? But this is probably very usual for us Chinese.
Why is it red? This is because they use maltose, so don't let the color throw you off.

The Puff Pastry is just another must get. Its super flaky with a sweet pork interior. Can almost treat this as dessert! (If you've never tried Chinese BBQ Pork, then you're missing out!)

Note they also charge $1/person for "tea setup". I don't remember this in the past, it might be new but its a mandatory charge. In the end it came to $20(tips in) for 2 people.

TIPS from Jess: How many items to order?
Usually my rule of thumb for dimsum is 2 items/person
I find that 2 items/person is usually the perfect amount of make you full, but we do have a small appetite.(I usually get one more item just in case, that's why we always end up leaving super full and having leftovers.)
& of course items are meant to be shared, so you can try out many dishes!

Rol San on Urbanspoon

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