Mother's Dumplings (79 Huron, at Dundas, 416-217-2008) Complete meals for $6 per person, including all taxes, tip and a pop. Average main $4. Open Monday to Friday 11 am to midnight, Saturday 11:30 am to midnight, Sunday noon to 11:30 pm. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: 10 steep steps at door, washroom on same floor. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Down a very steep stairway and through a beaded curtain waits Mother's Dumplings, Chinatown's newest cheap-eats champ. The rather small and austere blinding-white basement storefront is equipped with a few plastic-covered tables and not much else for those who want to eat on site, but most of Mother's regulars do takeout.
Dumplings - in a number of varieties, including delicate chicken, coriander and mushroom, pork shiu mai and pickled cabbage in whole-wheat wontons - are $2.99/dozen, frozen or boiled to order. Four large wrappers stuffed with Chinese chives, runny egg and mystery seafood ($3.99), arrive pan-fried and paired with a hellaceously hot chili sauce thick with roasted peanuts, rice vinegar and Sriracha hot sauce.
Cold house-made Korean noodles ($4.99) in an aromatic broth that borders on medicinal come topped with kimchee, soft-boiled egg and cured Asian pork shoulder, while an equally large bowl of slurp-worthy wheat linguine gets sauced with ground beef in salty black bean sauce ($3.99), both garnished with chopped cucumber and fresh coriander.
Is there a more filling inexpensive nosh in town?