Just past the old Chinatown gate, there's a small, slightly shabby noodle restaurant. It's tucked in next to a Korean BBQ spot in a building with a strange, pastel unicorn mural on the side. And there, once a week, you can buy Montreal-style bagels from an old, stooped Chinese man named Siu To.
Siu To is 72 years old, but there's no doubting the sparkle in his eye. He's the owner of Noodle Maker, a ramen noodle restaurant that's about a year old. I've never eaten there. But I had the chance to visit Siu while he was baking bagels.
I think this cultural collision can be summed up in this photo:
I’m not going to tell you the story here. Instead I invite you to listen to the story I did on Siu To for CBC radio. You can find the link here. It’s really better when you hear his voice telling it.
But I will let you know that Siu To is once again selling his bagels at Noodle Maker. He only bakes them once a week, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. You can call the restaurant, or follow him on twitter to find out when they’ll be fresh. He’s @Noodlemakeredm.
And no, I didn’t taste one of Siu’s bagels, because of course they’re made with wheat flour. But he gave me two paper bags full to take back to my colleagues. The smell wafting out of those bags was intoxicating, and the brown paper curled at the tops from the steam. My colleagues, one of whom is from Montreal, told me the bagels tasted like the real thing.
Noodle Maker restaurant
9653 102 Ave.
780 428 0021