The 4th Annual T&T Night Market

22 Jul

I was born into a food-obsessed family. My maternal grandmother taught culinary arts in the city, my paternal grandmother made everything from scratch in the country, and both my parents are excellent self-taught cooks. I was also born into a family that newly immigrated from Taiwan. Forget the Brothers Grimm, I grew up listening to wistfully told tales of sorely missed  street food vendors ‘back home’.  I credit (and curse) my family for my constant craving for all that is savoury, spicy and full of “wok hay”.

Grilling Fresh Squid

Grilling Fresh Squid

It took four years, but I finally made it out to a T&T Night Market, an annual free admission festival hosted at T&T Supermarket parking lots that features traditional Asian street food. I love ALL sorts of food but if I had to pick one kind I crave the most, it would have to be Chinese food – specifically, Chinese street food.  Now, this is funny because I still have yet to backpack through Asia so I imagine when I try it from the source, my mind will be blown and my brother will become beneficiary of my pitiful life insurance.

I convinced L & S to take a nice stroll from the St. Lawrence neighbourhood down to the Cherry Street T&T Market parking lot on Sunday evening, the last day for the festival.  Good thing we did because parking in the area was a(n expensive) nightmare and there aren’t many places to safely lock up bicycles.

We arrived to find an incredibly busy and crowded parking lot that had something going on in every corner.  Some people had brought their adorable dogs, there were some carnival rides for kids, there was a guitarist crooning on a makeshift stage and a neat public spray paint art project that encouraged everyone to leave their a mark.  Together with promises of deep fried foods, this was really a miniature lovechild of Woofstock, Buskerfest and the CNE.

Paint me!

Paint me!

L, S and I are well versed gluttons and didn’t waste time.  We headed straight for what we came here for: food.  We strategically lined up and amassed:

– $5 for 6 octopus balls (overrated fried dough balls the size of a golf ball with octopus pieces)

-$4 Korean beef ribs on a steamed bao (beef could’ve used more garlic but they were grilled to perfection)

-$6 skewered grilled squid (a tad chewy but at $6 for a giant skewer it was hard to complain)

-$5 deep fried soft shell crab (deliciousness that would normally cost $12 at a sushi restaurant!)

-$5 Taiwanese style popcorn chicken (I blissfully re-lived my childhood with this crispy peppery favourite)

-fresh pineapple and watermelon juices

Korean Beef Rib in a Steamed Bao

Korean Beef Rib in a Steamed Bao

I really liked that the vendors were serious about their offerings.  Despite the long lines, and the constant yelling (inherent to many Asian languages…), and the heat of their grills or woks or deep fryers, the creators of the dishes made sure everything was done properly.  There was no rushing the grilling, there was no skimping on a step, everything was plated as quickly as possible, but as exactly as it were meant to be.

We left satisfied (okay, we were holding our full bellies and groaning) and I was impressed at what was offered at a free festival.  The food was all extremely reasonably priced, there was a huge variety of food including vegetarian options (so much more I would’ve loved to have tried!), and there was no admission fee!  A great event that was fairly accessible to everyone.



2 Responses to “The 4th Annual T&T Night Market”

  1. Lucy July 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    The T&T market started after I left Toronto for Montréal and I’ve been longing to visit this as well. I must visit next time I am back in Canada, err, Ontario! Thanks for the post.

    • aliceyyz August 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it! Hope you’re in town the next time it’s on!

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