We’re scouring the city—neighbourhood by neighbourhood—to find the best budget-friendly, belly-filling foods at independently run kitchens. In this edition, we bring you our top picks from Agincourt, a Scarborough neighbourhood that offers plenty of diverse and delicious fare at affordable prices.
For three decades, chef-owner Jack Tsoi has manned the grill at his Chinese barbecue restaurant, filling takeout containers with all kinds of roasted delights. His all-day specials are the main attraction here and include duck on rice ($8. 50), the half pound of roast pork ($5. 50) and half a free-range chicken ($10).
More budget bites: a pound of bbq spare ribs ($8), a choice of two roasted proteins upon rice ($9. 50)
This lunch counter serves up whopping portions of Malaysian comfort food. The best bangs for your bucks are the char kway teow, stir-fried flat noodles with shrimp ($9. 95); curry laksa along with fish balls, tofu plus shrimp ($9. 95); and fried curry puffs ($6. 90 for six). Pro tip: to avoid the wait, email [email protected] com plus order in advance.
More budget bites: the weekend-only special of nasi lemak with chicken curry ($9. 95)
South Indian vegetarian dishes are the speciality here. Fill up on masala dosas ($8. 50) or the Manchurian platter of fried cauliflower, paneer, mushrooms and baby corn ($10).
A lot more budget attacks: vada pav, delicious potato dumpling sliders ($6. 50)
This family-owned spot boasts a menu over 200 items long, but their Hong Kong–style diner dishes are where it’s at. Fan favourites include the Macau-style poultry ($9. 75) and the deep-fried honey garlic pork chop ($9. 75). Bonus: each comes served with soup and a drink.
More spending budget bites: popcorn squid ($7) and a combo plate of a juicy pork chop plus fries ($8. 40)
Owned and operated by the Chong family since 1981, this Agincourt staple serves up patties ($6. 55 for six) and heartier mains, like platters of curry goat ($8. 75 small) and jerk pig ($7. 05 small). Each comes with a side of rice and peas or white rice.
More budget hits: the Friday escovitch special, fried fish with grain and peas or white rice ($6. 81 small, $9. 42 large)
Filling favourites at this halal Afghan kitchen are the tandoori chicken salad ($10), the beef tikka wrap ($8) and the chaplee (spicy ground meat patties) kabob wrap ($7. 50).
A lot more budget bites: mantu, dumplings stuffed with ground beef plus onion and served along with split peas and yogurt ($8 with regard to five) plus bolanee, grilled naan stuffed with spicy potatoes ($8)
Nina Abacan-Galarde and Elizabeth Buenaventura’s baos have developed the well-deserved cult following. Get your fix with the original crispy chicken ($5. 50), pork adobo ($6) or tofu and eggplant ($5. 50) versions.
More budget attacks: pork spring roll “stix” ($10 regarding 10 pieces)
These strip-mall sister spots serve Indian dishes from the northern and southern regions of the country. Best bets include meat thali, a chicken and goat plate with lentils, rice or flatbread, chutney, raita, pickles, plus pappadum ($7) or the tandoori chicken and naan ($4. 50). The lines are always long, but they move swiftly.
More budget bites: the particular legendary samosas ($1 intended for two), feisty chicken chili curry ($5. 99 small), savoury mutton rolls ($1. 25 each) and heavenly onion pakora ($6 per pound)
Doting diners (including one who braved a blizzard last winter for a taste of the Caribbean) have been visiting this spot for over three decades. The menu’s heavy hitters include the jerk chicken sandwich ($5. 50), jerk pig ($6. 50) and addictive fried dumplings ($1. 20 each).
A lot more budget hits: festivals, sweet dumplings ($1. 19 each), rice plus peas along with gravy ($5. 70), vegetarian stew in a tomato-based gravy ($9. 50), and slices of rum cake ($5. 99)