Culinary Treasures and Chinese Cuisine Map

Discover Markham’s Culinary Treasures and Chinese Cuisine

Markham, Ontario, is a vibrant and multicultural city that boasts a diverse population, with a significant presence of Chinese residents. As a result, Markham has become a culinary haven for those seeking an authentic taste of Chinese cuisine. The city’s culinary landscape is adorned with a plethora of remarkable restaurants, offering an array of mouthwatering dishes that cater to every palate. From the comforting warmth of steaming dim sum to the bold and aromatic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, Markham embraces the rich heritage and culinary traditions of the Chinese community, making it a destination of choice for food enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike. Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure that celebrates the amazing Chinese food and the vibrant population that contribute to the cultural tapestry of Markham.

Dim Sum

Dim sum, a beloved culinary tradition, originated in the teahouses of ancient China. The history of dim sum can be traced back over 2,000 years to the Southern Song Dynasty. Initially, it began as a simple snack to accompany tea, evolving into a full-fledged dining experience over time. Dim sum, meaning “touch the heart” in Cantonese, refers to a variety of bite-sized dishes traditionally served in bamboo steamers or small plates. Today it has spread beyond teahouses and became an integral part of Chinese culture, symbolizing hospitality and togetherness. Today, dim sum is enjoyed worldwide making it a cherished and timeless culinary tradition.

Our Markham Recommendation:Chef 88 Elite

“Dim sum is an integral part of Cantonese cuisine and is enjoyed as a leisurely brunch or lunch. Chef 88 Elite is the only spot in the GTA where you can enjoy dim sum on the patio.”

Peking Duck

One fascinating fun fact about peking duck is that it has a long-standing history dating back to the imperial era of China. The dish originated in Beijing (formerly known as peking), and its roots can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). However, it wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that peking duck gained popularity as a royal delicacy. The dish was highly regarded by emperors and their courts, and it was often served during grand banquets and special occasions. Today, peking duck remains a symbol of Chinese culinary heritage and is cherished for its crispy skin, tender meat, and the artistry involved in its preparation.

Our Markham Recommendation:QJD Peking Duck Restaurant

“QJD holds the distinction of being the first peking duck specialty restaurant in Canada to be certified by the China Beijing Roast Duck Association. This prestigious certification recognizes QJD’s commitment to upholding the traditional art of Peking duck preparation and its dedication to delivering an authentic dining experience to its customers.”

Hot Pot

When some think of hot pot they think of Korea when in fact hot pot has roots in ancient China cuisine. hot pot is the best if you are just starting on your journey through amazing Chinese cuisine because of its endlessly customizable nature and has a wide variety of ingredients.

Broth: Chinese hot pot commonly offers a wide range of broth options, including spicy Sichuan, mild clear, or herbal varieties. The broths often have a strong flavor profile with various spices, chili peppers, and aromatics.

Ingredients: Chinese hot pot typically features a diverse selection of thinly sliced meats (such as beef, lamb, and pork), seafood (shrimp, fish balls, and squid), vegetables (leafy greens, mushrooms, and tofu), and various types of dumplings and noodles.

Dipping Sauces: Chinese hot pot is known for its extensive array of dipping sauces, allowing diners to customize flavors. These sauces often include soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, chili oil, vinegar, and other condiments.

Our Markham Recommendation: Liuyishou Hotpot

“Or if you want to stay away from chains and want something very unique try SIDE BY SIDE to receive all your hot pot ingredients on a conveyer belt”

Noodle Pulling

Noodle pulling, also known as “La Mian,” is an awe-inspiring technique in Chinese cuisine that involves stretching and pulling dough to create long, thin noodles. What makes noodle pulling so cool is the incredible skill and precision required to achieve the perfect texture and thickness of the noodles. The noodle master uses their hands to stretch, fold, and pull the dough in a mesmerizing display of dexterity and artistry. The visual spectacle of watching the dough transform into delicate strands is captivating, making noodle pulling a captivating performance as well as a culinary technique. The resulting hand-pulled noodles have a unique texture and ability to absorb flavors, elevating dishes new heights. Noodle pulling showcases the rich heritage of Chinese culinary traditions and serves as a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the noodle masters who have perfected this remarkable art form.

Our Markham Recommendation: Sun’s Kitchen in Pacific Mall

“Pacific Mall in Markham, Ontario, is a bustling and vibrant shopping destination that stands as one of North America’s largest indoor Asian malls. One of the highlights of Pacific Mall is its extensive food court, which showcases a diverse range of Asian cuisine.”

Chinese Crispy Burger

A fun fact about Chinese crispy burgers, also known as “Rou Jia Mo,” is that they are often considered one of the oldest forms of sandwiches in the world. Originating from the Shaanxi province in China, these flavorful street food delights date back over 2,000 years to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The main ingredient of a Chinese crispy burger is slow-cooked and marinated pork. The pork is then stuffed into a freshly baked or pan-fried flatbread called “mo,” which has a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. The combination of tender, savory pork and the contrasting texture of the crispy bread creates a delightful culinary experience. It has a rich history and cultural significance, representing the ingenuity and resourcefulness of early Chinese street food vendors. Today, these crispy burgers can be found in various regions of China and the world, offering a delectable taste of ancient Chinese street food traditions.

Our Markham Recommendation: Bingz

“DYK Markham was the first ever Bingz location outside of China – the culture in Markham was recognized as the perfect place to locate their first restaurant in North America”


Here in Markham, we have some amazing examples of culinary fusion! Culinary fusion occurs when elements, ingredients, and cooking techniques from different culinary traditions are combined to create innovative and unique dishes that showcase a blend of flavors and culinary styles. For example traditionally an Izakaya is a type of Japanese gastropub or casual dining establishment that serves a variety of small, flavorful dishes meant to accompany alcoholic beverages. The term “izakaya” can be roughly translated to “stay sake shop,” indicating its historical association with sake (Japanese rice wine). In an izakaya, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, making it a popular spot for friends, colleagues, or even solo diners to gather and socialize over drinks and shared plates of food. Although we know this form of dining is traditional in Japan here in Markham this restaurant has adopted the same dining experience but with traditionally Chinese cuisine. To discover a perfect example of culinary fusion visit Chat Bar.

Our Markham Recommendation: Chat Bar

“Chat Bar is located in the beautiful Historic Unionville – a charming and picturesque neighborhood nestled in the heart of Markham, Ontario, filled with galleries, boutique shops, and restaurants.”

Shanghai Style

Shanghai style refers to the culinary traditions and flavors associated with the city of Shanghai, one of the major cultural and economic centers of China. Shanghai cuisine, also known as Hu cuisine, has its unique characteristics and influences that distinguish it from other regional Chinese cuisines. Shanghai style cuisine is often described as rich, flavorful, and slightly sweeter compared to other Chinese regional cuisines. It incorporates a combination of traditional Chinese cooking techniques with influences from neighboring regions such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Key elements of Shanghai style cuisine include the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients, emphasis on the natural flavors of the ingredients, and precise cooking techniques. Common cooking methods used in Shanghai style cuisine include stir-frying, braising, steaming, and quick boiling.

Our Markham Recommendation: Ding Tai Fung

Note: This recommendation has a special experience included. While you eat you can view the chefs making dumplings through a window into the kitchen!

If you are interested in learning more about the lives of Chinese Canadians in Markham, please visit the incredibly touching exhibit Standing in the Doorway: Lived Histories & Experiences of the Chinese Community

We want to tell the story of resilience and perseverance of an important community in Markham and York Region. The Chinese community is underrepresented in our exhibition schedule and our museum collections,” says Janet Reid, Curator, Markham Museum. “This community-driven exhibit will celebrate our Chinese residents, and also engage and educate the wider community through a multi-part virtual and touring exhibition program.

The in-person exhibition launches on September 28th 2023 at the Markham Museum

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