Clockwise from top left:
Haggis fritters at The Caledonian
These rich, crispy fritters are the perfect introduction to Scotland’s oft-disparaged national dish. Small balls of haggis, consisting of ground beef, liver, kidney, and heart, are doused in an Innis & Gunn beer batter, then dropped in the fryer before hitting the plate on a bed of au jus. They’re topped with pea shoots and slivers of parsnips—deep fried, of course.
$9. 856 College St., 647-547-9827.
Duck-heart skewers at Bellwoods Brewery
Though the brewery’s small menu changes regularly, these dense, spicy morsels of offal always manage to stay put. Skewered duck hearts are marinated in a light rub of cumin and caraway, then grilled in a cast-iron pan. The dish is finished off with a fiery oil, which is made from jalapeno and green peppers that are charred, pureed, dehydrated, blended, and rehydrated over a three-day period.
$4. 124 Ossington Ave., 416-535-4586.
Devilled eggs at Origin
In this trendy take on the quintessential ’80s hors d’ouevre, whole soft-boiled eggs are filled with a mixture of yolk and homemade mayo. They’re served upright with a crispy spear of double-smoked bacon, tiny, crunchy balls of souffletine (puffed cereal rice), and a drizzle of gremolata (olive oil with parsley and the zests of orange, lemon, and lime). It’s all so tasty you won’t mind that they’re incredibly awkward to eat.
$6. 107-109 King St. E., 416-603-8009.
Deep-fried cheese curds with bacon jam at SpiritHouse
A few times a month—and if in-the-know customers ask—SpiritHouse serves up these salty little gluttonous snacks. Small hunks of cheese curds are surrounded by a light tempura batter and fried till puffy. One bite and the ball deflates, giving way to a gooey, melted-cheese centre, perfectly matched with the sweet and salty homemade bacon jam.
$7. 487 Adelaide St. W., 647-277-1187.
Midye dolma istanbulu at 416 Snack Bar
This tart, spicy seafood treat brings a bit of Istanbul to the streets of Queen West. Served on a bed of chilled salt, four mussel shells are loaded with small mounds of Arborio rice, flavored with a mixture of dry spices and fresh herbs, then each topped with a paprika-dusted steamed mussel. The requisite lemon slice accompanies the dish.
$5. 181 Bathurst St., 416-364-9320.