Best Ramen

Back in 2014, I wrote about my favourite ramen shops in Toronto. Since then, I’ve managed to cross a few more restaurants off my bucket list and more new names have popped up in the city. It’s about time to refresh my list. My rating criteria has remained the same and I’ve only included restaurants that serve only ramen, not including Izakayas who have ramen on the menu or any Chinese noodle shops. I’ve also listed the restaurant’s previous ranking next to their new ranking. In general, many of the new entries rank high and Kinton has improved several spots. This was mainly due to how accessible they are and with the new North York location, The Hubby and I are there often. 

Best Ramen

What I look for in a bowl of ramen are three things:

  1. The noodles – are they chewy? has a good texture? not doughy and not over done?
  2. The broth – is it rich? how much fat is there? is it bland? and even for me, is it too salty?
  3. The toppings – what’s included? is there an egg? how’s the meat cooked? garlic paste? bamboo? seaweed? is there a good portion and balance?

Based on these criteria, here’s my ranking of Toronto Ramen shops (as of Aug. 2016)

1 (1)Sansotei – 5.0 $ @ 179 Dundas St W
2 (-)Ramen Isshin – 4.5 $ @ 421 College St
3 (5)Kinton Ramen – 4.5 $ @ 5165 Yonge St
4 (-)Ryu’s Noodle Bar – 4.0 $ @ 33 Baldwin St
5 (-)Momofuku Noodle Bar – 4.0 $$ @ 190 University Ave
6 (2)Santouka – 4.5 $ @ 91 Dundas St E
7 (3)Niwatei Ramen – 4.5 $ @ 3160 Steeles Ave E
8 (-)Hakata Shoryuken Ramen – 3.5 5321 Yonge St
9 (5)Ramen Raijin – 3.5 $ @ 3 Gerrard St E
10 (6)Touhenboku Ramen – 3.5 $ @ 261 Queen St W
11 (7)Ryoji Ramen – 3.5 $$ @ 690 College St
12 (8)Kenzo – 3.5 $ @ 4860 Yonge St

Still TBE (To Be Eaten)

  • Jinya Toronto
  • Ramen Kyouka

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments. Last Updated: 08/04/2016


Iced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf Tea

I drink tea everyday and as the weather warms up, I like to swap my hot comforting drink for a cool, refreshing one. Drawing inspiration from my favourite summer foods, here are three easy to assemble tea-centric drinks made with Pure Leaf unsweetened teas. With 0 sugar, 0 artificial sweeteners and 0 calories, the Pure Leaf unsweetened teas were a perfect base to start with to #TweakYourTea. I also liked the natural, genuine tea flavour of the drinks themselves. Personally, I am not a fan of iced tea sodas and the Pure Leaf teas tasted nothing like them.

1. Watermelon Mint and Unsweetened Pure Leaf Tea
Ingredients: Cubed Watermelon / Fresh Mint Leaves / Lime Slices / Unsweetened Pure Leaf Tea
In a tall glass (or pitcher), add mint leaves, diced watermelon and lime slices, pour over with tea.
This drink is sweetened naturally from the watermelon and full of summer flavours. For a stronger taste, muddle the mint leaves at the bottom of the glass first, and squeeze in a wedge of lime before adding the tea.
Optional: Add a splash of rum to turn this into a summery cocktail

2. Scotch and Unsweetened Green Pure Leaf Tea
Ingredients: Scotch / Lemon / Green Pure Leaf Tea / Mint to Garnish
In a tumbler glass, add a shot of scotch and fill with Green Pure Leaf Tea. Top with slices of lemon and a sprig of mint.
Optional: Add simple syrup to sweeten this drink

3. Ginger and Unsweetened Lemon Pure Leaf Tea
Ingredients: Simple Syrup with Ginger / Lemon Slices / Unsweetened Lemon Pure Leaf Tea
Make a simple syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar) with slices of ginger added in. In a tall glass, add two tablespoons of the simple syrup and the cooked slices of ginger. Pour in Unsweetened Lemon Pure Leaf Tea and top with fresh slices of lemon.
This is a perfect drink for the evening to stay warm after the sunsets with a touch of spice and heat.
Optional: Add a splash of dark rum for even more spice.

These drinks are perfect for summer BBQs, paired up with dinner or a boozy cocktail hour. The Pure Leaf teas were versatile and easy to work. Also, since I’m still working on shedding my winter insulation (aka 5 lbs), I really liked how the teas were 0 calories and still super flavourful. A great beverage alternative for those who don’t love to drink just plain water.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.

Iced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf TeaIced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf TeaIced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf TeaIced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf TeaIced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf TeaIced Tea Recipes with Pure Leaf Tea


What is it: Coconut Water Drinks

Disclaimer: Products reviewed below were provided complimentary by Buddha Brands Co. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine and not indicative of the opinions or positions held by Buddha Brands Co.

The Basics:
Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water comes in 520ml cans, is all natural and Non-GMO Project certified. Varieties include coconut water with and without pulp, coconut with mango and the newest offering Coconut Water with Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a common addition to drinks in Asia (ie. Bubble Teas), is high in antioxidants and can help with digestion. Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water with Aloe Vera can be found at Whole Foods and London Drugs in Ontario.

Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water with Aloe Review

My Experience:
90% of the time, when I’m thirsty my go-to drink is water. The other 10% belongs to Coke Zero. The only time I’ve drank coconut water was on a beach in Bali from a coconut and enjoyed the mild, salty flavour. I found Thirsty Buddha’s coconut tasted very similar, without any added flavours or colouring. I had chilled my can of Thirsty Buddha to enjoy after a gym workout and it was refreshing. Shaken well, each sip a few chunks of aloe vera, which added a sweetness to the drink.

Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water with Aloe Review

What I liked:
Only 100 calories per can with no added sugar
A good source of electrolytes and I prefered the natural flavour to the artificial taste of sports drink
Comparably priced ($2.50 regular at London Drugs) to other brands
A reliable source of Aloe Vera, I used to drink Aloe Vera drinks from Asian grocery stores regularly, but have stopped due to stories about fake aloe vera being used.

What could use work:
Honestly, I didn’t have any points for this section. The product is solid, honestly labeled and a great drink.

TL;DR: All natural coconut water that’s well-priced, refreshing, and with a hint of sweetness from the added aloe vera.

Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water with Aloe Review


Vacation Break! Paris Italy & Amsterdam

If you follow me Instagram, you would’ve seen all the home made pasta The Hubby and I have been churning out every week. This was all practice for the real thing!

We’re going to Italy!

To be more precise, we’ll be in Paris, Naples, Rome, Venice, Cinq Terres, Florence and Amsterdam.

This will be my third time to Paris, second time to Amsterdam and first time to Italy. So far, we’ve planned to eat plenty of macarons, Nutella crepes, foie gras, gelato, pizza, pasta and seafood. Those are just snacks throughout the day. I was also able to make a lunch reservation at newly 3 Michelin star minted restaurant, Le Cinq in Paris. My dream restaurant for this trip was Osteria Francesca, but unfortunately I missed the reservation window. *Fingers still Crossed* for the wait list.

While on vacation, blog posts have been pre-written and queued to publish.

If you’d like to tag along with my travels, follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat! All under the handle xiaoEats.