Snack Culture: Taiwanese Cuisine at Papa Chang’s (Markham) by Steph Chiu
Snack Culture: Taiwanese Cuisine at Papa Chang’s (Markham)
By Steph Chiu
Continuing in my exploration of Asian cuisine in York Region, today’s post will transport you to the world of Taiwanese cuisine. Papa Chang’s is tucked away in a tiny, nondescript plaza in Markham (Main St Markham/16th Ave), but don’t let its location deceive you – it’s an extremely popular destination for Asian fusion and authentic Taiwanese food in the area. Let me share with you why!
Restaurants serving Asian fusion are plentiful in Markham, but Papa Chang’s specialty is its focus on Taiwanese cuisine, which is less commonly found. “Snacking” is a big part of Taiwanese culture; not only is it a great way for you to sample the plethora of food options available, but it is also a very social experience for you to share with friends. Night markets are a popular place for visitors to engage in “snacking”, and in this summer alone there have been plenty of night markets in York Region and Toronto with a focus on Asian cuisine (like the Night It Up! event in Markham that I wrote about in an earlier post).
The menu at Papa Chang’s is divided into a few main sections: drinks, snacks, rice/noodles, and side dishes. I went with a party of 4 people so we ordered a bunch of small dishes to share. Here’s what we tried:
Snacks from left to right: boiled lettuce with mince pork sauce, marinated eggs, popcorn chicken, Taiwanese style rice cake, Taiwanese sausage.
Main dishes from left to right: signature beef noodle soup, mince pork with rice.
I don’t know about you, but I love being able to enjoy a ton of different dishes, so the whole “snack culture” style of dining at Papa Chang’s was great! This is an excellent way to experiment with your tastes and try new things without having to commit to a large portion. Standouts for us were the ever-popular popcorn chicken, the Taiwanese sausage, and the signature beef noodle soup. Portions were reasonable given the price; after all, these are intended as “snacks” meant for sharing.
If you plan on coming to Papa Chang’s, a word of advice: it is VERY small inside the restaurant, with only around 10 tables or so. Due to its popularity, it’s almost always packed, so you can expect to have to wait for a table (unless you come really early!) I am not familiar with their reservations policy, but you could always try that option if you want to try and secure a spot. Otherwise, grab a group of friends, head on over, and enjoy each other’s company while you wait. While they probably won’t let you hang around too long at your table due to the constant line-ups, you are sure to have a fun time “snacking” here together on interesting Asian fusion dishes. Enjoy!