In addition to the few existing establishments that serve Asian food, restaurants that feature new-wave food trends from Asia such as dessert bars, snack joints and tea houses have been popping up left and right in Hamilton in recent years.
These spots may be newly-minted in our Steel City, but have been rife in Asian metropolitan hubs such as Taiwan and Hong Kong for years.
It’s nice to see that there are more places for international and Asian-Canadian students to go for their version of comfort food, and for people of other cultures to have opportunities to experience different types of cuisine.
Here is a list of Asian spots, both old and new, for you to visit, whether to satisfy your cravings or to expand your horizons:
1. Crystal Dynasty Chinese Restaurant
Crystal Dynasty has been a long-time staple for authentic, delicious, affordable Chinese food in Hamilton. This is one of the few spots in the city where I can find the tastes that truly remind me of home, a sentiment that many of my Chinese peers have shared. (Trust me, that’s a big deal.)
Although they have a variety of stir-fry plates and other Chinese dishes, their main draw is their specialty dim sum. The dim sum is made fresh daily and so true to tradition that it has kept locals returning for years. Regardless what you choose off the menu, you’ll be in for some scrumptiously authentic Chinese family fare at a great price.
2. Sugar Marmalade
Sugar Marmalade is the newest and most notable addition to Hamilton’s dessert offerings.
Although its primary draw is authentic Taiwanese desserts, Sugar Marmalade boasts an extensive menu that will satisfy more than just your sweet tooth.
There are shareable appetizers for guests to munch on (Taiwanese style popcorn chicken and spicy curry fish/beef balls are a must) and entrée options for those who are stopping by for more than just a quick bite.
Of course, no Taiwanese joint is complete without specialty drinks, of which there is a grand variety, from fresh juices, to Italian sodas and bubble teas galore.
They offer traditional Taiwanese/Chinese desserts, including many flavours of Taiwanese shaved ice, specialty thick toasts and fusion desserts such as crepes, puddings and cheesecakes. The endless choices on the menu may be overwhelming, but it’s reassuring to know that any choice you make will be a tasty one.
Also be sure to check out 8090 Tea House (149 King Street East) and Hazel Tea and Dessert House (1686 Main Street West) for similar delicacies.
3. Porcelain Hot Pot & Lounge and Liu Liu Hot Pot
To clarify, hot pot is a type of cuisine in China, Taiwan and other East Asian countries that consists of cooking a variety of ingredients in a simmering metal pot of stock at the centre of the dining table.
Typical ingredients include thinly sliced meat, vegetables, dumplings and seafood. Once cooked, the food is dipped into a variety of sauces to add different flavours.
Hot pot reminds many people of Asian descent of home, myself included. This is a meal that would typically be eaten on cold, winter nights at supper time, with an entire family sitting around the table cooking food for one another.
In Hamilton, Liu Liu Hot Pot has been around for years, but remains as one of the city’s best spots for a fresh, affordable and authentic hot pot meal. Its patrons adore the cozy interior and the great selection of ingredients, especially for their all-you-can-eat hot pot option.
They also have delicious broth bases and make their dipping sauce using a secret family recipe.
Porcelain Hot Pot is a newer addition, but also features an authentic hot pot experience closer to campus. Customers often commend the quality of their broth and ingredients, two essential aspects to a high-quality and tasty hot pot meal.