Strip mall gourmet
From Markham to Mississauga, these two plaza picks made the Post City 100
Dayali Beijing Roast Duck
DAYALI BEIJING ROAST DUCK
Despite the name, and the very fine duck dish, there is so much more to love here: big steaming bowls of spicy chicken, shrimp, duck gizzard, chicken feet, pork liver and brisket, plus barbecued bullfrogs on a stick. There are also some lighter dishes, like corn with pine nuts and spinach with peanuts. My favourite dish from the long menu is the duck bones. The kitchen whacks up the leftover duck carcass, fries the bones and tosses them in salt, pepper and cumin. The end product is a plate of savoury bones with bits of meat stuck on. The menu has separate prices for members and non-members. They take reservations for groups over five. But if they don’t know you, you’ve got to be aggressive at the door to get a seat.
20 Gibson Dr., Markham
There’s a lot on the menu at this suburban strip mall restaurant. Owner Ali Fallaha, a geologist back in Syria, wants to have something for everyone. So he serves shawarma (a purist, he fills the pita with meat and pickles only), falafel (forming each doughnut-shaped ball in a little brass hand press), horrak osba’ao (lentils with fried bread) and so on. But the showstopper is fattet hummus. The dish starts with a base of hummus thinned to a saucy consistency with lemon juice and chickpea water. Each serving is then layered with pita chips, chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, paprika, parsley and sumac. Part stew, part salad, the symphony of sweet and savoury, creamy and crispy is finished with a splash of hot ghee, erupting in a crackle as it hits the bowl.
75 Dundas St. W., Mississauga