Toko Foods

Restaurant: Toko Foods

Cuisine: Chinese/Asian
Last visited: September 24, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC
223 W7th Ave
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: Ok 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres excellent!!
Food: 3
Service: 2
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3
Additional comments:
  • Vancouver based noodle factory since 1995
  • Distributor for Asian foods/ingredients
  • Majority Chinese dishes
  • Some Shanghai/Szechuan/Curry/Laksa dishes
  • A few Korean/Japanese dishes/appetizers
  • Known for really fresh homemade noodles (made daily)
  • Traditional dishes, that are not fusion, but also not really authentic
  • Closed 6pm Monday Tuesday
  • Open for lunch everyday except Sunday
  • Dinner service Wed-Sat.
  • Closed Sunday

**Recommendations: A noodle dish…my noodle dishes were just ok. I haven’t tried everything but next time I would probably go for a noodle dish that comes with a light or clear broth Eg: Ramen and noodles

I’ve heard of this restaurant through word of mouth, but that’s about it. Even Chinese people don’t really know about this restaurant. Actually you wouldn’t even know it was a restaurant unless you were looking for it or someone told you about it. From the outside this place looks like a giant factory – which it is. The back end of the restaurant is dedicated to the noodle factory and the front end serves as a restaurant.

Walking in I was actually quite surprised and impressed with the restaurant set-up. Knowing it was a noodle factory I thought the restaurant was going to be a couple wooden stools and a couple counter tops, but to my surprise it was an actual restaurant set-up with comfy dark brown leather chairs and contemporary decor. The decor and food actually comes across as “Chinese food for white folk”, but nonetheless it’s still fresh, high in quality and pretty good. I expected the prices to be cheaper since the noodle factory is operated right in the back of the restaurant – but it isn’t. It’s average priced or even a bit more expensive (for average, or even a tad smaller portions) and Chinese standards.

On the table:

  • House Special – Crispy Pan-fried Chow Mien Noodle 3.5/6
  • Just the noodles 5/6
  • A bed of fresh chow mien noodles with chicken, pork, a few shrimp, some squid, carrots, and bok choy.
  • The noodles are really really fresh and you can definitely tell. When you lift up the ingredients you can see how soft and fresh the noodles really are. They almost came across as overcooked because they were so fresh. I imagine the cooking time would be less when you’re dealing with homemade noodles that are made daily.
  • The meat was a bit fatty for me, so I didn’t really like that. The shrimp, on the other hand, was crunchy and perfectly cooked.
  • Tan Tan Noodles 2/6 (on the whole)
  • 5/6 for the noodles
  • Tan tan noodles is a popular Chinese/Szechuan/Shanghai soup and noodle bowl. It’s spicy. The soup base is made of chili oil and Szechuan peppers. It’s also served with minced pork meat on top.
  • I know it doesn’t look that great. Looking at the picture you’re thinking: “Is it creamy?” “Is it supposed to be creamy?” “Is it made poorly? “Do you mix it?” “Has it gone bad?” etc. The reason it looks this way is because Toko made it the “unauthentic” way. They added sesame sauce or peanut butter (I think in this case sesame sauce) to the soup base and that’s why it’s not mixing in. Some restaurants will do this to add more flavour or to make it more mild tasting. It’s quite common to do this. It would be like adding peanut butter to a hot soup base…I know sound weird, but it’s actually pretty good. It’s just that the oil in the sesame sauce won’t mix with the water soup base.
  • The noodles are really the star of the show here. The were really fresh tasting – except because they were so fresh the starch from the noodles were cooked in the soup base and the whole thing tasted starchy. On top of that the added sesame sauce didn’t help the starchy situation. The soup and noodles came off a bit powdery tasting and thick and it lacked flavour too. Sesame sauce by itself has a very dull taste – it’s like eating unsalted peanut butter…so it didn’t do much when it was in this dish.
  • Tan tan noodles also should come with green onions on top…and this one didn’t have any. They did however add ground peanuts on the top – not the authentic way it’s served, but still really good when they put it on. It’s aromatic and I like the texture with noodles and ground pork.I love tan tan noodles, but just not here.
  • This was in a way tan tan noodles for white folk…


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1 Comment

  • Sherman says:

    Ditto. It's not like it's horrible, but it's just not authentic. Depends on what you're looking for.

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