Monday, August 16, 2010

Maple Yip

Maple Yip, or "Look Yu" in Cantonese, is a Chinese restaurant located at the southeast corner of Sheppard and Midland (exact address is 4227 Sheppard Avenue East Scarborough, ON M1S 5H5). It is pretty much hidden in the furthest corner of one of the many plazas at the intersection so it maybe a bit difficult to find the restaurant if you don't venture around that area often. Let me assure you though, don't give up trying to find this place if you do decide to go because you may be missing out on one of the best Cantonese style restaurants in Ontario. Although Maple Yip doesn't have a website, here's a thread on chowhound about the restaurant. I know the posts there are a bit dated, but in my opinion, the content still holds true. 

I've been to Maple Yip twice now and both times I've really enjoyed the food (my parents have been there a lot more than me, for lunch and dinner). They offer really delicious Cantonese style dishes that you may not readily find at other Chinese restaurants. If no traffic, Maple Yip is around a 1/2 hour drive from where me and my family lives,  so if we do go it is because of a special occasion.  We went there several weeks ago on a weeknight to celebrate my parents' anniversary. The restaurant was packed solid! Pretty impressive for a weeknight.

Surrounding the restaurant you will find special menu items posted on the wall, written only in Chinese.

No worries though, they have a menu with English as well. However, I can't guarantee, or actually I'm pretty sure, that you will probably not find some of the dishes written on those bright neon papers in the menu pictured below. Life is unfair that way, huh? A lot of restaurants, not just Chinese ones, only posts menu items in their own language, and never include English. I'm sure you can ask what they are if you don't know how to read Chinese, but honestly there is no way they can explain every dish up there to you, and that's only possible if you get a waiter with good enough English! Last option would be to cover your eyes and just pick randomly =D

We brought our own bottle of wine. We weren't asked any questions - once the waiter saw our bottle of wine, he brought over glasses. No corkage fee. Nada. Oh how I love Chinese restaurants!

First up we had the Winter Melon Soup. In order to experience this wonderful soup, you would need to mention to them that you want it when you call to reserve a table (at least a day before). Depending on the number of people in your party, Maple Yip would then choose the appropriate size winter melon.

I had this twice now and it's definitely my favorite soup of all time. Very visually appealing as well.

The Winter Melon Soup is packed with dried scallops, dried dates, mushrooms, shrimp, and Chinese ham.

When all those goodies are done, the insides of the melon are scraped off in pieces and then served with the remaining soup. The pieces of melon are so deliciously fresh, and combined with the broth, it is really refreshing to the palette. It is a great "cleansing" type of soup (i.e. really comforting if you've eaten too much fast food or fried foods).

Next up are some veggies. My family's favorite is the Water Spinach ("tung choy" in Cantonese) with Shrimp Paste (belachan) and red peppers. It's a must-order dish for us whenever water spinach is in season.

Next is the Garlic Sauteed Baby Bok Choy. A common dish at any Chinese restaurant.

Crispy Fried Chicken - tender and juicy pieces of chicken with thin and crispy skin. They can be eaten as is or dipped in flavored salt.

Seafood time! We ordered a bunch of oysters made two ways...

Half are made with minced ginger and garlic, topped with green onions...

The other half with black bean sauce, again topped with green onions. Some oysters were bigger than others, but on the whole, they were all a very decent size. All fat and juicy!

Along with the veggies, this Sliced Chicken with Mushroom dish balances out some of the fried foods we were having. I love these long mushrooms.

Here we have Fried Pigeons, in halves. The pigeons were so well flavored and had really tender meat, and the skin is again so crispy. Like the fried chicken, you can dip it in flavored salt. Holding it in your hand and slowly pulling out the meat in small bites is really the joy in eating these pigeons. This is again one of my favorites for sure.

Another one of my favorites is the Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables. ♥ the fat, ♥ the salty flavor of the preserved veggies.

I realized the definition of "favorite" totally went out the door with this post as I probably have used the word for almost every single dish at Maple Yip, but I simply cannot put it in any other way because those are my favorite Chinese dishes! 

Keep in mind that this dinner is definitely not something you eat regularly - as you can tell, the fried pigeons, fried chicken, the oysters, and the pork belly combined will have your cholesterol levels through the roof if you were to check your levels right after HAHA. But like everything else in life, it's all about balance, and an occasional indulgence in food never hurts, right? =D

Maple Yip Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon