Hong Shing Restaurant, a staple in Toronto’s Chinatown for the past several decades, has opened a new Baijiu Bar at its Dundas Street West location. Baijiu is China’s national liqueur and is renown for its high alcohol content. It dates back over 1,000 years and is produced by fermenting grains such as rice, sorghum or wheat, which gives it a gorgeous aroma. Baijiu is commonly enjoyed in China at special gatherings or banquets.
The evening was all about introducing the Chinese liqueur to guests while showcasing the new bar and cocktails made with Baijiu. Hong Shing’s Baijiu cocktails include:
- Shiitake Happens – Shiitake Mushroom Infused Jiang Xiao Bai, Brown Butter,
Junmai Sake, $18
- Pina Co Baijiu – Luzhou Laojiao Baijiu, Coconut Rum, Coconut Cream,
- Rose Lemon Tea – Rose Baijiu, Tromba Blanco Infused Orange Pekoe Tea,
Ceylon Tea, Limoncello, Lemon, $16
My guest tried the Rose Lemon Tea and loved it! She found the cocktail refreshing without being too sweet!
We also got to sample some of Hong Shing’s popular food items including:
- Garlic Beef Tenderloin (Ontario beef tenderloin, asparagus, Spanish onions, Maggi)
- Spicy Shrimp Skewers (House Sambal, bell pepper, garlic),
- Crystal Dumplings (Black truffle, shiitake, carrot, celery, water chestnuts).
The Garlic Beef Tenderloin was superb! The garlic, onion and seasoned sauce really elevated the flavour of this superior cut of beef. This is a must-order dish is you visit Hong Shing!
Spicy Shrimp Skewers are addictive little morsels. The spiciness level generated by the Sambal sauce is not for those with timid taste buds, but since I love medium-spicy foods, it was perfect for me.
The filling for the Crystal Dumplings was exquisite – Black Truffle and Shiitake really add a nutty, rich flavour – however, I did find the outer wrap too thick for my liking.
Colin Li advised that his family has owned Hong Shing for the last 26 years and he has recently taken over the helm. One of the first things the younger Li did was reduce the food menu down to a more manageable size. Li gave me a quick history lesson on the area. The strip on Dundas Street West between Bay Street and University where Hong Shing is located was Toronto’s original Chinatown. A second Chinatown sprung up on Gerrard Street East near Broadview Avenue. Then, a robust Chinatown sprouted on Spadina Avenue. Colin advised that the majority of his customers are surprisingly non-Asian. This is most likely due to the fact that Hong Shing is located just west of the tourist-heavy Toronto Eaton Centre and is in walking distance within many Toronto hotels including DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Downtown, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Sheraton Centre Toronto.
I ran into fellow media rep and arts and food blogger Sonya Davidson while at the event.
Thank you for inviting me! I had a great time learning about Baijiu!
Baijiu Bar at Hong Shing Restaurant, 195 Dundas Street West, 416-977-3338
Follow Hong Shing on Instagram @hongshingto
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