Montreal has had a Chinatown for as long as other Canadian cities, and it’s very nice. But if your appreciation for Asian culture partly centers around your belly, you definitely need to head on down to our other, non-official but very delicious Chinatown—which is more a collection of very authentic hole-in-the wall eateries from all over Asia. The area is also known as “Concordia Chinatown” or “Concordia ghetto” because of its proximity to Concordia University, as well as several language schools, which might explain the excess of delicious and genuine dishes from all over Asia at the following restos.
Kazu: Chef/owner Kazuo Akutsu’s tiny izakaya (japanese pub/resto) on Saint-Catherine is the first of its kind in Montreal. You’ll be lucky to get a table at either lunch (when he serves up homemade Ramen) OR dinner, when the delectable, bite-sized pub specials are posted on the wooden walls of his tiny shop. Favourites include his Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and the 24-hour pork bowl, as well as the shrimp pancake and homemade icecream. Plus, Kazuo is very handsome.
Shuang Xiang BBQ: Most people think of Chinese BBQ as pink pork sides and shellacked ducks hanging in the windows of Chinese groceries, but this ambrosial Northern Chinese BBQ joint is the antithesis of that. This stripped-down family-style joint serves lamb barbecue on long metal skewers, accompanied by sauce and rice. They are also famous for their beef salad: Shredded cabbage folded into salty beef, with glass noodles, mint, coriander and vinegar dressing. Yum. Also recommended: Scallion pancakes and pork buns.
Maison du Nord: Another Northern Chinese place famous for their hand-pulled noodles and also for their pork sandwich, which is a version of Vietnamese Banh Mi. Marinated pork slices with coriander and crunchy radish and carrot pickles. They are also rumoured to have the best ma-po tofu in town.
Qing Hua: While most dumpling aficionados are used to one kind of soup dumpling, the mighty Xiao Long Bao, Qing Hua makes the lesser-known Jiongzi, which are tinier, but no less explosive, dumpling action. The extensive menu of dumplings ranges from the exotic (lamb and coriander) to the everyday but no less delicious, such as pork and chive, or shrimp. They also serve a mean coleslaw salad and the marinated duck wings are a rare treat. Dumplings served steamed, boiled or fried.
(Bonus) Harmonie Bakery: When you’re peckish downtown, the smart money knows that this Chinese bakery sells pork and other meaty buns for mere pennies, and also has a dizzying array of sugar treats and sweets like Hong Kong-style iced coffee.
Guest Blogger: Melora Koepke
Kazu, 1862 Sainte-Catherine Street West, (514) 937-2333
Shuang Xiang Bbq, 1439 Saint-Mathieu, (514) 935-7779
Maison du Nord, 2130 Saint-Mathieu, (514) 989-8818
Qing Hua, 1676 Avenue Lincoln, (438) 288-5366
Harmonie Bakery, 85 de la Gauchetière West, (514) 875-1328