I'm a little tardy blogging about this restaurant as I went two days ago, but I've been so tired and continue to be. So, I'll be quick-ish. I LOVED this place. It has been reviewed many times in various Toronto press outlets like NOW magazine, Street Eats TV show, and Cheap Thrills Toronto (best Toronto restaurant guide, I think) and I finally went for lunch on Sunday in between Doors Open stops.
Chinese Traditional Bun(s) (it's hard to tell if it's Bun or Buns because it's different on different signs -- part of the charm) is a simple, inexpensive Chinese place. The tables have layers of plastic tablecloths that can be stripped away after each visitor for quick, easy cleanup. I know this is horrifying if you're environmentally sensitive, but it does lend a veneer of authenticity. I remember seeing busboys in Hong Kong grab the ends of these kinds of tablecloths and scoop everything up, dirty dishes and all, to clear the table in 2 seconds.
We ordered a funny combination of dishes: Xian cured pork within bread, vegetable and pork buns, pan-fried vegetable and pork dumplings, and eggplant with mashed garlic sauce. Everything was absolutely delicious.
The Xian cured pork within bread had juicy, shredded pork, cilantro, and green onions sandwiched in English muffin-type bread. It was perfect. The pork was so tasty and the cilantro and green onions added a fresh touch. The bread was really bland so it let the taste of the filling come through. I could eat this every day.
The vegetable and pork buns were also flawless. They reminded me exactly of the ones that my mom made for my dad, my sister, and me before she went to Japan on a month-long trip when I was about 16. I remember she made a tonne of them and froze them in the deep freeze. I think I ate them almost every day for the whole month. The dough is shiny on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They were screaming hot right to the centre and the pork/veg filling was nice and moist.
The pan fried dumplings had the same filling as the buns, I think, and they were also hot and well cooked. The dumpling skin was nicely crisped from pan-frying.
Lastly came the eggplant, which was an eggplant lovers dream. I think there were at least three or four of those long, Japanese eggplants in it. Darcy isn't that crazy about eggplant so I ate the lion's share of it. I think the actual vegetable itself was steamed because it wasn't greasy at all. On top was a huge portion of mashed garlic and underneath was a pool of very spicy, chili oil-type sauce. I ate as much as I could and mourned the leftovers I had to leave because I was going to be walking around for another few hours and couldn't take it with me.
The entire bill came to $17.07. Crazy cheap. And the man who served us and made most of the food was so sweet. I think he was the owner. I can't recommend this place enough. The entire menu was on a sandwich board outside and I took pictures of it, so if you want to look at it in advance, it's all there. Click on the images to see them enlarged.
Chinese Traditional Bun(s)
536 Dundas Street West
Open daily 9:30 am to 10:30 pm