Cuisine in Toronto
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The cuisine of Toronto reflects Toronto's size and multicultural diversity. Different ethnic neighbourhoods throughout the city focus on specific cuisines, such as authentic Chinese and Vietnamese found in the city's six Chinatowns, Korean in Koreatown, Greek on The Danforth, Italian cuisine in Little Italy and Corso Italia, and Indian in Little India. Numerous other world cuisines are available throughout the city, including Portuguese, Hungarian, Japanese, and Caribbean. Toronto's large Jewish population has also ensured a variety of Jewish restaurants and delis, with varying adherence to kosher rules. In addition to ethnic cuisines, Toronto is also home to many fine dining establishments and chain restaurants ranging from fast food to casual or upscale dining.
Neighbourhoods with prominent ethnic food
- Eglinton West - Caribbean food
- Roncesvalles - Polish cuisine
- Chinatown - Chinese and Vietnamese food
- Kensington Market - Latin American and others
- Little Italy and Corso Italia - Italian
- Gerrard India Bazaar and Rexdale - Indian, Punjabi, Pakistani
- Agincourt - Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, South Indian, Sri Lankan
- Koreatown - Korean
- Little Portugal/Rua Acores - Portuguese
- The Danforth - Greek
- The Annex - Japanese, Hungarian (historically)
Famous chefs from or based in Toronto:
- Vegetarian Food Festival
- Summerlicious and Winterlicious
- Taste of the Danforth
- Toronto Wing Festival
Breweries and Wineries
Toronto has a long and rich tradition of beer brewing. Eugene O'Keefe, founder of O'Keefe Brewing Company, grew up in Toronto, to which his family had emigrated from Ireland in 1832. He was the first to produce lager beer in Canada along with the traditional ale and porter. See also: Canadian beer.
The Toronto Beer Festival celebrates Canada’s rich brewing history.
There are several breweries in the city, many of which are microbreweries:
- Amsterdam Brewing Company
- Bellwoods Brewery
- Great Lakes Brewery
- Magnotta Brewery Limited
- Mill Street Brewery
- Steam Whistle Brewing
- Cool Beer Brewing Company
- The Granite Brewery
- Indie Alehouse
- Spearhead Brewery
- Kensington Brewing Company
- Black Oak Brewing Company
- Junction Craft Brewing
- Liberty Village Brewing Company
Toronto's surrounding region features many wineries. The Sante Wine Festival is an annual festival which features vintages, famous winemakers and celebrity chefs.
Until 2009, hot dogs and pre-cooked sausages were the only kind of street food allowed by law. These types of hot dogs are often referred to as 'street meat' by locals, and are normally flame-grilled. The law sets extremely high requirements for street food vendors. However, there was an initiative to allow more varied and nutritious street food, which resulted in the introduction of Toronto a la Cart in 2009. However, by 2010 Toronto a la carte was deemed a failure by local politicians and discontinued. There are chip wagons parked in front of Toronto City Hall that sell french fries, and food trucks on the University of Toronto campus that offer Chinese food. In the summer months, ice cream and popsicles are sold from vendors on bicycles while ice cream trucks ply the city streets. Toronto a la Cart allowed vendors to sell Halal foods such as Kebab, Falafel and Shawarma. Frozen yogurt, although not found in street vendors, are popular and increasingly so, with many shops opening recently. The coffee culture in Toronto is also highly developed, with many independent cafes especially in areas like Queen West and Kensington Market.
Peameal Bacon Sandwich
Perhaps one of the most iconic and distinct Toronto offerings, although one that is not widely known, is the peameal bacon sandwich, normally on a Kaiser. The most famous offerings of the sandwich are Paddington's Pump, Sausage King, and Carousel Bakery; coincidentally enough, all are located at St. Lawrence Market. Further east in Leslieville is Rashers, billed as North America's only bacon sandwich shop, recently opened and sells a peameal bacon sandwich that Toronto Life describes as "Toronto's iconic sandwich done right".
East Indian Roti
Another distinct Toronto offering is the "East Indian Roti", a variation on the stuffed Roti from the West Indies. Owing to Toronto's considerable immigrant populations from both South Asia and the Caribbean, a hybrid dish has been developed, using South Asian bread and curries as stuffing, for the otherwise West Indian dish. The best known purveyor of the East Indian Roti is Gandhi Roti on Queen Street West.
- Pablum, a pre-cooked cereal for infants, was developed at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in the 1930s.
- Food Network Canada is a Toronto-based Canadian cable television specialty channel which presents programming about food and cooking.
- Charlie's Burgers is a Toronto-based series of private dining events established in 2009.
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- The Dominion Home Cookbook - A recipe book published in Toronto in 1868. Pages are available in PDF format.
- Toronto's Key Industry Clusters: Food & Beverage
- Taste T.O. - a website covering Toronto's food & drink scene.