Address: Chinese Cultural Centre, 5183 Sheppard Ave. E, Toronto ON
When I attended: August 10, 2014
It has been an annual tradition for me to attend the Toronto Food Festival at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Scarborough which is in it’s 3rd year.
What attracted me to attend initially was seeing the mouth watering pictures of featured items on their website and knowing that the event will showcase delicious eats from local businesses in Scarborough/Markham, like award winning H.K style milk tea from Marathon Cafe, along side hip vendors like Busker Sea Cove and Hot Bunzz. Another attraction is that the festival has free parking and is relatively close to home.
Last year, the festival was the busiest of the three years. I specifically attended to support the launch of ME.N.U Food Truck, which is owned by my awesome friends Bryan and Allen. Their debut was a success with the longest line-up at the festival.
This year, I thankfully received media passes for my husband and I, which meant that I got a head start chatting with the vendors and got to try delicious eats before it was opened to the public. As we went with the baby, it was important that we were able to beat the crowds. Luckily for us, this year was not as busy which meant the line ups were short. I think there were way too many food festivals in the city this year including Jerk Festival, Pan Am games food festival and Taste of the Danforth which may accounted for the smaller attendance.
TO Food Fest 2014
To Food Fest 2014
The Toronto Foodfest is an awesome event with tons of vendors in one small space with a variety of vendors and the price point is reasonable with most things at $5. There were 40 vendors serving everything from oysters, hot sauce, vegan food, snacks, sandwiches, fries, desserts and drinks (see a full list of vendors here). Starting this year, for admission attendees paid $2 or brought a non-perishable food item for Second Harvest charity. The organizers improved couple of items this year including having more spaces to eat indoors and placed more garbage bins around.
I ran into tons of my food blogger friends and we had a chance to discuss our recommendations. On the most part, I decided to try out places I have not eaten at before at any food festival. Here is what my husband and I ate and drank at the festival…I didn’t realize how much we ate until until I wrote this post.
ME.N.U Food Truck Rice Balls (2 for $6 Including the Porkzilla with Pork Belly, Gangnum Style with bulgogi beef and 1-Up with 4 types of mushrooms). These balls had an amazing crunch and were poppin’ with flavour and were filled with oozin; cheese. If you haven’t tried these yet, get on it!
ME.N.U Food Truck team
Oysters from Island oysters ($5 for the plate). I love oysters! I normally buy and shuck my own oysters at home but was craving it.
Hakka Bao Sandwich Bar’s, Chili Beef Sandwich for $5. Big portions and good flavour. Unfortunately, I let the sandwich sit out for too long so the bun got soggy from the sauce.
Kanto by Tita Flips‘ halo halo for $5. It was my first halo halo dessert! This took the vendor 10 minutes to prepare and it was worth the wait. I was hoping for more coconut flavour but it wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be and a perfect dessert for the beautiful weather.
Deep fried quail eggs with shredded pork ($3 per skewer). These were cute and flavourful.
Pork belly burger from Bricks and Mortar for $5. Great recommendation from my blogger friend Linda (@integrityfilms). It was a juicy burger!
Squid from Utopia Bubble Tea and Café ($8). I think watching the gentlemen make the squid made it even more enjoyable. It could have done with more salt but still tasty.The squid was brushed with a grainy spicy sauce and cooked to perfection.
Bacon crème Brulee from Meat Ventures ($5). This was a great recommendation from my blogger friend Davindra (@1goatroti). I don’t like my desserts overly sweet so this hit the spot. It was creamy and satisfying and came with candied bacon.
Liko’s Hawaiian skewers ($5 for 2 skewers). I have heard great things about the skewers and the have seen long line-ups in previous years. Unfortuntely, our meat was super dry. This was our least favourite at the event.
Chicken skewer from Gushi Japanese Street Food. Wow, this was amazing!! The chicken was ultra moist with a sweet chili sauce on top.
Vietnamese ice coffee from Wonderpho for $2. I love aromatic Vietnamese coffee and at $2, the price is a steal. I finally got to meet my Twitter/Instagram friends Alex (@tsangzillavs) and Hubert (@).
Check out some of the events coming up from pop up markets (popup market website here).
Coconut calamansi drink from Lamesa Filipino Kitchen for $3. The drink was sweet, sour and tarte! My daughter loved this and didn’t want to share. I don’t have a picture of the drink but have a picture of the cute calamansi fruit (Filipino lime).
By far, this was my favourite year at the food festival. The weather happen to be pleasant and the line ups were manageable. Also I got to sample more items over previous years. I miss Casa Manila who was here last year and served amazing Filiplino BBQ skewers and squid at a great price point…I think their whole squid was $5, but it was nice to see many new vendors.
For those who have not been before, it is interesting to know that majority of the attendees are East Asian and I am guessing predominately Chinese, including the volunteers. Perhaps it is the location in the Chinese Cultural Centre or that it is located in Scarborough. Not that it should matter but I thought it may interest some of you.
It was another successful year and I look forward to coming back in the future! Thank you TO Food Festival for the media passes. Check out their website at http://tofoodfest.com/ for updates.
More pics for you….