112 - Chinese Food Bonanza
Scattered throughout the GTA are not one but three amazing Asian food supermarkets that sell virtually everything your exotic culinary inspirations could require. T&T Supermarkets started in British Columbia over 10 years ago, slowly making their way to Ontario. These monolithic supermarkets carry an eye-popping array of fresh produce, imported dry goods of every kind and huge holding tanks brimming with fresh seafood.
We featured T&T in our North China episode, given that it makes several North Chinese foods, including the breakfast staple, mantou. Meaning "barbarian's head" in Mandarin, these dense, steamed wheat buns are consumed with tea and rice porridge in the morning by just about anyone looking for the comforting warmth.
A tremendous variety is on hand, including multi-grain and flaxseed. The supermarket's snack shop also carries daily-made goodies including the ever-popular jiaozi -- meat and/or veggie filled dumplings that are dipped in a black vinegar and ginger sauce. Considered a typical New Year's food in North China, families often gather to make hundreds of these tasty parcels while catching up on gossip.
The dumplings resemble ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, and so it follows that they symbolize wealth. Some families even hide a coin in one dumpling -- the lucky person to find it is said to have good luck on their side in the upcoming year. From fresh lotus roots and persimmons to several sizes of bok choy and savoury bottled sauces, T&T offers a whole new culinary world to explore. And when you get tired of roaming the numerous aisles, I suggest stopping off at the snack bar for a delicious and auspicious jiaozi or two!
Visit www.tnt-supermarket.com for a complete listing of all locations.