It really wasn’t that long ago since my first visit to Station Asia at Market Village, but looking back, it feels like a lifetime ago. I had just started grad school, I had a short haircut that would get shorter over the months ahead, and a whole new chapter of my life had started with new friends, new people in my life, and a new outlook on what I wanted out of life. I remember coming here for the first time during my second month of grad school in October 2008 with my best friend and I remember the chill in the air, how beautiful the fall season was, and how DELICIOUS my lunch was!
What I really like about Station Asia is how they touch on and incorporate so many different kinds of Asian and Chinese cuisine. It’s a Chinese style diner with a lot of ethnic diversity and variety, and sometimes these differences in cuisine are so subtle you’d only know it if you had the knowledge about the different countries and regions and if you ate enough of the differerent cuisines to know. I know I can’t speak for all Canadian-born Asians, but growing up, I went through the trials and tribulations of being born into and raised in a Western and Asian culture simaltaneously. Sometimes one overshadowed the other and other times one or the other felt completely foreign. I grew up eating the EXACT same food you’d find in Station Asia, especially when I lived with my grandparents when I was first born. My great-grandmother would make me “baby congees”, Chinese bakery buns and cakes were staples in our home, dim sum was lovingly ingrained in my tastebuds and in my heart, and I would make homemade wontons and dumplings with my grandma in her kitchen.
Food isn’t just food; it’s a part of our upbringing, our ethnic identity, and so many other facets of life. It sounds weird, but when I eat at Station Asia, it comforts me and makes me feel like I’m outside of the box at the same time. In other words, I can eat here and be completely familiar with much of what I eat and see, but I am also reminded of how much there is for me to know and keep learning. I want to know more about the subtle differences in regional cuisine and I want to know more about the food I grew up on but was too young at the time to appreciate.
Station Asia is great if you want a bit of everything. If you feel like the HK style diner dishes, they have baked rice dishes, baked fish fillets with sauce, black pepper chicken steak with rice, and a host of cold drinks including ices, slushes, and bubble teas. They touch on Korean style bibimbap, Chinese Portuguese curry, the incredibly popular Chinese and Singaporean Hainan chicken and rice (hoi nam guy fan), spicy Malaysian style noodles, and plenty of tradtional Cantonese food including congee (or as I like to call it, rice porridge), vermicelli, stir-fried noodles, and steamed rice with lots of fish, mushrooms, preserved vegetables, chicken, beef, oysters, pork, dried scallops, black bean, and many others. They serve breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, and they have different menus during different mealtimes over the course of the day.
The lunch and dinner meals will run you an average of $5-$11 and they offer many of their menu items as a part of a combo which includes a soup (ba wong fa soup!), an appetizer (which could be pickled vegetables, sliced chicken, salad, or a number of other things), and a hot or cold HK style drink of your choice with an additional charge for the fancier slushes or ices. Breakfast at Station Asia is their strong suit. Not only do I love the menu, but I love the prices even more! Their breakfast, if you can believe it, is around $3.50-$5! They have a whole menu full of breakfast items for $3.80, $4.50, and $4.99 and they are fantastic because the portions are BIG for a lot of them. Think noodles and rice and sandwiches!
Ordering food here is also a bit different from other places because everything is written down on an order form on a piece of paper where you specify the menu item number, the quantity you want (for example, if two or three people want the same dish or drink), and specific notes such as your choice between rice, ramen, noodles, that kind of thing. There’s a section for food and a section for drink, so all you really have to do is just note the item number because the dish and drink you want. Easy peasy!
I’ve been to Station Asia a handful of times and my favourites have to be their baked rice dishes, their rice with seafood and sauce, their breakfasts, and their ramen noodles! I absolutely LOVED the first dish I ever had here which was a hot stone pot of rice and seafood (prawns, scallops) with snap peas and Thousand Island dressing. It was delicious and I would order it again in a heartbeat. Which reminds me that I should really take note the next time I’m there and make sure they still have this item!
I am also a huge fan of their ramen noodles and their different kinds. Yes, they have different flavours of ramen noodles! I’ve had their regular, the spinach, and the tomato and hands down, my favourite is the tomato one. The regular is delicious too and although I enjoyed the spinach, the spinach flavour was a little lost on me and I much preferred the tomato one for its flavour. But I have to say, ordering the spinach ramen is really fun because you get to eat green noodles, ha! I’ve had their ramen noodle breakfast with their breaded crispy fried fish fillet and their shrimp and scrambled egg sauce. If I was to translate that it would be “wat daan ha yun mein”. I know, I know, my spelling is probably completely off but it’s the best I can do!
I always look forward to coming here (Pacific Mall, Market Village, Splendid China Tower, I love them all), especially for the breakfast and the tea time menus, and it’s a comfort to me knowing there’s always something new to try and old favourites to come back to.
Station Asia has two locations. One is located inside Market Village closest to the north entrace (4394 Steeles Ave. East by Kennedy Rd.) and the other is located inside Splendid China Tower, closest to the north entrance (4675 Steeles Ave. East just east of Pacific Mall and Market Village on the north side of Steeles Ave.). They serve breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner.