Toronto Underground Market: Oyster Po’ Baos and Lobster Corn Dogs
99 Sudbury, Toronto, ON
Every few months, the Toronto Underground Market pops up somewhere in the city. The Underground Market features new, up and coming chefs and their creative dishes. These may be chefs who have yet to open a storefront, food cart chefs and even bakers using innovative ingredients. I’ve been following the Toronto Underground Market on social media for a few years now and have been dying to attend an event.
This month’s event took place at the 99 Sudbury space, a great open warehouse space with an air-conditioned lounge, a spacious parking lot for vendor set up and multiple rooms. We found this event much less crowded than the Night It Up Markham Night Market, which we loved. We had room to hold our food and wander around comfortably and we relaxed in the roomy lounge in plush booths.
Our tickets stated that the event was scheduled to start at 5 pm but even with the growing lineup outside, the event started 40 minutes behind schedule. Volunteers for the market did come out at the 30 minute mark to hand out cold bottled water though.
My favourite food vendor of the night had to be the food stall called Yolo Toronto. They were serving up lobster corn dogs and oyster po’ baos. Yeah, you read that right, baos. A lightly battered Fanny Bay oyster was deep fried and tucked into a steamed bao. That’s one thing I miss about home: Fanny Bay oysters. I wish the bao was just a bit fluffier but the oyster was just as I remembered from Vancouver – juicy and succulent.
The lobster corn dog was a whole lobster tail. The batter was light and crispy and the delicate lobster inside was still juicy and tender. My husband mentioned that he wished he had some sort of lemon and butter sauce to dip the corn dog in but other than that, the corn dog was perfect.
My husband’s favourite item was a bulgogi slider called the Dirty Pablo, it was a spicy bulgogi burger filled with marinated carrots with kale and lots of sriracha sauce. I wasn’t crazy about the sriracha sauce but my husband loved it. The Dirty Pablo seemed to be one of the more popular items as everyone at the market was ordering it.
Another item I absolutely loved at the market was the deep fried pork belly slider. Sliders seem to be the ‘it’ item on the Toronto food scene and I can’t complain. I adore sliders, and this deep fried one is no exception. I loved the crispy bun and the pork belly was juicy and smokey, there was also a tangy, sweet and spicy sauce in the slider too, totally appetizing and perfect for a hot summer evening.
We spent a lot of time outside in the parking lot of the Toronto Underground Market since most of the vendors grilling and barbecuing set up stalls outside, and it was such a nice night it was hard to stay out of the evening sun.
Inside 99 Sudbury though, there were many other delicious food stalls. One in particular made us miss Hawaii so much, the stall was called Hawaiian Grinds; we chatted with the staff and they told us their relatives hailed from our favourite island, Oahu. One of their popular dishes was the Kona Koffee Chicken. It was spicy and tasty. I admit that I didn’t taste much coffee in the dish but I loved it nonetheless. I also enjoyed the ice cream scoop of rice in the dish, reminiscent of the popular Hawaiian dish, the loco moco.
When we ventured back outside, we found a film crew filming around the M.E.N.U. food truck. That didn’t stop us from lining up for their roti taco. We got the chicken taco and the taco turned out to be so gigantic we shared it. I live for light and crispy roti so this taco was perfect. The chicken also had some kick to it and the refreshing, crunchy veggies on top really finished off the dish.
I have been on the hunt for good bubble waffles since we left Vancouver so I had to try the blueberry cheesecake bubble cake from Penny Lou Lou Sweets and Treats. The ice cream with that cheesecake sauce drizzle was to die for. The texture of the bubble waffles was not what I am used to from back home. The waffles were soft and very cake-like, they were different from the bubble waffles in Vancouver that are crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. But I loved this dessert regardless.
We had so much fun at the Toronto Underground Market, I can’t wait until the next one!