These are just some quick observations from my first trip to Canada’s most populous city.
I was amazed at how many different cultural groups call Toronto home. As I visited the city I was frequently reminded of places I lived in Europe and Asia.
My first night in Toronto, I went to a place called WVRST near the corner of King Street West and Portland Street in the fashion district.
Based on the name, I assumed I might be able to score a German-style sausage and maybe even a German beer. I was not disappointed. They had German beer on tap and lots of different sausages to choose from.
The beer was a real-deal, imported German wheat beer (Weiss bier or Hefeweizen) that I often drank when I lived in Germany.
The sausage, on the other hand, wasn’t really true to my experience with sausage in Germany, but it was still pretty tasty. They had lots of different kinds of sausages to choose from, including wild game and exotic meats.
I was with my family, so we sampled three different sausages. We tried the Oktoberfest sausage, the duck sausage and the rabbit sausage. My favorite was the rabbit. We also tried their pretzels (not half bad, but not really shaped like pretzels) and their French fries cooked in duck fat (pretty darn good).
The restaurant had communal bench seating like lots of causal eateries in Germany, which was fun. I did notice that I was a couple of decades older, with less facial hair and fewer tattoos, than the average patron or staff member.
The second night in Toronto, I found a Japanese ramen shop with probably the best ramen I have had outside of Japan.
I tried the tonkotsu ramen, which has a broth made by simmering pork bones for hours. I produced a video about ramen when I lived in Japan (about 10 years ago) that gives a glimpse into the process of making tonkotsu ramen (skip to 5 minutes and 10 seconds if you just want to see the tonkotsu ramen part). The ramen at Sansotei was pretty close to what I remember from Japan.
I also got a chance to visit Toronto’s Chinatown.
I visited a shopping center, Chinatown Centre, that housed almost exclusively Chinese-speaking businesses with imported products. Walking through the building, I had to keep reminding myself I was in North America and not somewhere in Asia. There was a food court in the basement with an incredible variety of East and Southeast Asian food options, but I held out for dim sum at the Sky Dragon restaurant on the third floor. I have eaten dim sum in mainland China and Taiwan and these were pretty legit.
There weren’t enough meals in the day to sample all of the different food options available. In addition to Chinese/Taiwanese and Japanese businesses, I noticed lots of Vietnamese and Korean restaurants and stores. I didn’t even get a chance to visit the parts of town known for Indian cuisine and culture, so I guess I’ll need to take another trip to Toronto soon.
Speaking of street art…
Toronto has some of the best street art I have seen. They even have an entire alley dedicated to it:
Here’s a gallery with some of the great street art I saw in Graffiti Alley and throughout the city:
Toronto is an amazing city with an amazing mix of culture. It is worth a visit.