Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Toronto Underground Market (TUM), a unique social food market that provides a space for home cooks and budding entrepreneurs to sell their delicious and homemade food. In honour of the milestone, TUM added an all day portion to their monthly, all night food event at the Evergreen Brickworks. To date, an astonishing 20,000+ guests have been served and 400 unique dishes have been sampled by TUM-enthusiasts.
As a practiced TUM-goer, here are my highlights from the evening portion of the event: The first line I always make a beeline for upon entry is Rock Lobster Food Co. because their queue is always enormously (yet understandably) lengthy. Rock Lobster Food Co’s owner and chef Matt Dean Pettit serves deliciously creamy lobster salad on a bun that is toasted and glazed with butter. In hopes of bringing the coveted lobster roll to the everyday citizen, he sells them for $4 a pop, though their size tantalizes the taste buds and always leaves you wanting more.
*TUM Tip: Divide and conquer – split up into groups of two and wait in line at vendors in order to maximize your time and eating experience.
Next on my food-quest were the delicious offerings from Hot Bunzz, new to the TUM scene. Hot Bunzz did not disappoint, offering creative takes on the classic Chinese bun, like tiger shrimp and diver scallops (my personal favourite), Thai basil beef, and St. Lucia Jerk wild boar ($3/each). Warm, fresh dough filled with flavourful seafood or meat, these bunzz are going to revolutionize finger-food as we know it!
I also sampled FeasT.O.’s crab and miso mazemen, which is brothless ramen. The noodles were topped with seaweed, and combined with the saltiness from the miso and coupled with the crab; it was the perfect combination. At $7/each, the dish was a tad too pricey, but I was happy to support a vendor that serves consistently great food.
Other wonderful dishes I tasted include a hearty and gluten-free chicken, squid, shrimp and mussel paella from Pimenton ($6), the wonderfully tender braised pork belly on a Chinese bun with sambal mayo from Babi&Co. ($5), and the salty and sweet peanut butter pulled pork and bacon jam sandwich from Fidel Gastros ($5).
Leaving room for dessert was a challenge, but I managed to split a peanut butter cheesecake ice cream sandwich ($4) from SmashCake, and bring home an apple fritter donut from Dough by Rachelle along with a s’mores cake-in-a-jar from Sullivan & Bleeker.
For news about TUM events visit yumtum.ca