Website: No website
Address: 20 Gibson Dr, Markham, ON
When I visited: February 2014, 8 people, dinner
Cuisine: Northern Chinese
Rating: $$, 3.5
I have tried been several Peking duck restaurants in Beijing so when I heard that Markham opened a popular roast duck chain from Beijing, I was eager to try it. Dayali is located in a plaza just north of the T & T supermarket at Warden Ave and Steeles Ave. The decor was bright with comfy chairs and the menu was fancy with tons of captivating pictures.
Since the restaurant is best known for their roast duck, we ordered the most expensive option ($38.88) called the “Gold medal roast duck” which came with double portions of garnishes including spring onions, hoisin sauce, salt, cucumber and grapes. The grapes were a bit odd but everything else was pretty standard.
The duck was consistent with the Beijing style duck where the fat is rendered off the skin, so the skin is extra crispy. The duck is better than many Chinese restaurants I have visited for this reason. I was hoping that the restaurant would make their own duck sauce. In Beijing, many restaurants served a sauce they cooked for hours in replace of hoisin sauce.
I would highly recommend the steamed Vancouver crab and steamed buns with meat filling. Order the crab if you can handle your spice because it is not for the faint of heart. The crab had a combination of garlic, black bean and hot spices, which had a sambal oelek hot sauce flare to it. I enjoyed the sweet crab meat and cleaning the sauce from the shells because it was so addictive.
The description for their ‘steamed buns with meat fillings’ does not do the dish justice. It was a delicious pork belly mixed in a savoury Chinese style BBQ sauce served with steamed buns. The meat was slowly braised to make it soft and flavourful. Many families have their version of this peasant dish and Dayali brought me home with this one. The steamed buns helped to cut down the richness of the meat.
As for most of the other dishes we ordered, they did a great job with the dish presentation, the flavours were enjoyable and were comparable to Asian Legend and Chili Secrets (which unfortunately closed it’s Richmond Hill location) for their Northern Chinese style dishes.
Referring to the picture, the other dishes we ordered were pork dumplings, pot stickers, sticky rice balls, stir fried rice with soy sauce, cold soy dish with intestines, three vegetables with onion oil, barbequed beef tenderloin with bamboo taste and scallion pancakes.
The one dish that my friends enjoyed but I thought was below par compared to similar restaurants was their signature dish, “Gold medal sliced boiled fish in chili oil.” This is a common Northern Chinese dish with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppers and chili oil. The longer the fish sits in the oil, the spicier it gets. Aside from tasting the chili oil, I thought the fish was bland.
The crab and pork belly dish makes the restaurant worth the visit. As for the remaining dishes, it was tasty but comparable to other restaurants serving similar dishes. We paid about $35 a person which is very good for the variety of dishes that we got. We got attentive service on a weeknight.
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