Have you ever had times where you feel like you’re just bored of going to the same places over and over, week after week? You visit the same malls, the same cafes and restaurants because you just can’t think of anywhere else to go. Worst thing is, you don’t really have any other choices. It’s either you stay home and be bored, or you go out to the same shops you’ve been to the week before, the only thing different is the location of the mall. Truth is, I feel the same all the time!
Here’s an idea: play tourist and join a local tour! It’s actually surprisingly fun! You may think that just because you’ve lived in this city for such a long time, that you probably know all the places! Chances are, you probably don’t! This never even crossed my mind until last week, when I had the pleasure of accompanying Grace from Foodinthecitytoronto in joining Tasty Tour‘s Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour.
To my fellow Torontoians, we all know that Kensington Market has some of the best diversity of foods: from sweet to savoury, from Asian to Mexican to everything else in between! You name it, they probably have it! There are some really well known restaurants that everyone knows about like Seven Lives and Dirty Bird, where there’s always crazy line-ups. People are always focusing on the super popular restaurants, myself included, and end up overlooking some of the other amazing places within Kensington Market. These hidden gems are the main focus of Tasty Tour’s Kensington Market Sweet and Savoury Food Tour. Audrey, the founder of Tasty Tours and also our amazing tour guide, brought us to all the other amazing places within Kensington Market and gave us a chance to sample the food from these restaurants.
First Stop (Pictures above): Dingdong Pastries & Cafe | Located at: 321 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2E9
We got to sample their spring rolls! This bakery has been here forevers! Well, not forever but a really long time. Audrey (our tour guide), also gave us an in-depth history of how spring rolls came to be! Seriously, it was super interesting. If you are interested, and you are in Toronto, join one of Audrey’s tasty tours and she can tell you the story.
Second Stop: Ten Ren’s Tea | Location: 454 Dundas Street West, Toronto M5T 1G9
Not only did we get to try some cold red bean lotus seed milk black tea and cookies, we got to learn about the traditional way of making tea and had a live demonstration of it.
Third Stop: Moo Frites | Location: 178 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 1L8
They are known for their amazing, moist Belgian fries and lots and lots of different dipping sauces. What we got to sample that day was their CLASSIC POUTINE! Who doesn’t love poutine!? The owner also gave us some background of how he came up with the idea of bringing Belgian fries here and the whole science behind making the perfect fries.
Fourth Stop: Toronto Popcorn Company | Location: 147 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T
Their popcorn flavors are endless…
Fifth Stop: El Arepazo | Location: 181 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L4
El Arepazo specializes in arepa: a round, gluten-free cornbread sandwich that is stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies, and salsas. I’ve never had anything like this before. I didn’t even know what an arepa was until Tasty Tours. From the above picture, you can see that one arepa is different from the other ones. That is because it was a vegetarian arepa. Another thing that makes Tasty Tours so good is their attention to people’s dietary needs. They do try and accommodate and pay special attention to everyone’s dietary restrictions to the best of their abilities.
Sixth Stop: Pancho’s Bakery | Location: 214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L4
If you live in Toronto, you must have heard about the infamous churrocone from Pancho’s Bakery. During the tour, we got to try their churros with our choice of strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce or condensed milk.
Seventh Stop: Wanda’s Pie in the Sky | Location: 287 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M2
MINI MINT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES! YUM!
Eighth Stop: Blue Banana Market | Location: 250 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L7
It’s a quirky shop that sells everything from fun gifts to tasty chocolates and candies.
Overall, I had a super fun time! I can tell that Audrey put a lot of thoughts and efforts into the tour. She provided us with lots of fun facts and history about the places we’ve visited. It’s too bad that it was raining that day, otherwise it would’ve been perfect! This was a total new experience for me. I’ve never thought about joining a local tour and pretend to be tourists. I learned a lot, got to meet new people, and tried places that I normally would’ve never tried. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new- and it’s about time that I did because I would’ve been missing out on so much!
Join one of the Tasty tours and try it out! Enter “Wendieats” as the promotional code when you sign up and get 20% off adult tickets booked until september 30, 2016 (tour can take place after this date. Just needs to be purchased before September 30th.)