There’s a longstanding holiday tradition embraced every year by thousands of Torontonians: ordering Chinese when everything else is closed. (Delicious and easy!) So make like the chosen people and dial one of these restaurants for takeout or delivery on Christmas Day.
1. Asian Legend
Eat these ultra-messy Moo Shu Pork pancake wraps ($15.95) in the privacy of your own home, where there’s an endless supply of napkins. The takeout container is heavy on the filling (shredded pork, green onions, carrots, egg, and shiitake mushrooms), but not so much on the pancakes—get extra. Also, be sure to order the Shanghai-style fried noodles ($12.95), which come piled with shrimp, pork, and shredded vegetables fried to a golden brown.
418 Dundas St. W., 416-977-3909, and other locations.
Delivery zone: East of the DVP (to Markham), it’s the 401 to Lake Ontario; west of the DVP (to Dufferin), it’s Eglinton to Lake Shore.
This small restaurant doesn’t get as much love as some of its Chinatown neighbours, but the food is tops. The stir-fried beef ($10.95), with chunks of green and red peppers and onion in a savoury black-bean sauce, is a safe bet if you’re working with picky palettes; it can survive sitting in Styrofoam, as well. Balance out the beef with some stir-fried broccoli ($11.95). Worry not, veggie-phobes—it comes topped with crabmeat.
369 Spadina Ave., 416-260-9988.
Delivery zone: Bloor to Lake Shore, Bayview to Lansdowne.
3. Si Chuan House Cuisine
An icy winter’s night calls for a hearty meal with a jolt of spice. Ma Po Tofu ($8.99) originates from the Szechuan province of China—its soft tofu cubes are cooked in a bright-red chili-and-black-bean sauce—and packs a wallop of fiery heat that will keep you toasty. Order a side of plain steamed rice ($1.25) to soak it all up, and a side of steamed buns ($3.99), which are more like dumplings than bready rolls.
394 Spadina Ave., 416-597-9333.
Delivery zone: St. Clair to Lake Shore, Bayview to Dufferin.
4. Yummy Yummy Dumplings
Easy to share and always comforting, dumplings make for cheap and tidy finger food. The steamed pork and pickled cabbage ($5.50) and the pan-fried shrimp and cabbage dumplings ($5.99) are terrific and come 12 to an order. But since Yummy Yummy is a northern Chinese restaurant, its specialty, pan-fried mutton dumplings ($6.99), is a must. Tender with strong, earthy mutton (retirement-aged sheep) and crunchy carrots, these little devils can be embarrassingly addictive in a group setting.
75 Huron St., 647-859-8998.
Delivery zone: St. Clair to Lake Shore, Church to Dufferin.
5. Simon’s Wok Vegetarian Kitchen
Our veggie option: a heaping helping of pineapple and mock-chicken fried rice—the “chicken” is made from wheat gluten and tastes like tofu ($6.75). For an appetizer, try the cryptically named “assorted wheat gluten” ($4 for a medium-sized portion), which are actually strips of seitan marinated in various sweet-and-sour sauces. Similar to tofu skins in texture, some pieces are doused in a curry sauce and others are bright red with a tangy sweet-and-sour flavour. Sounds weird, but they’re delicious.
797 Gerrard St. E., 416-778-9836.
Delivery zone: O’Connor to Lake Shore, Victoria Park to Jarvis.
How to order:
For Si Chuan House Cuisine, Yummy Yummy Dumplings, Simon’s Wok Vegetarian Kitchen, and E-Pan, order through just-eat.ca. For Asian Legend, use orderit.ca.