I was hungry, but torn. I’ve never had good luck finding something tasty at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Canada and I always overspent for whatever I got. But I knew that I was headed to a trans-Atlantic flight, another connection (which turned out to be two extra connections) and if you’re in Econ, there’s no telling what the airplane food would be. I wanted something fresh, something green, as well as a lot of fluids before flying for hours.
I paced in front of Lee Kitchen for quite a bit. Then, I peeked inside the nearby food court options. While the food court was considerably — like, 1/3 — cheaper, the trays I saw come out were less than inspiring. I knew not to get anything starchy or greasy. But I also saw all of the glossy magazine articles lionizing Chef Susur Lee. Food and Wine called this Hong Kong-born chef one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millennium”. I decided to break out the credit card and give it a go.
I glanced at someone ordering the dim sum steamed basket and decided to pass: it just didn’t look that appetizing. I checked online as to the exchange rate and was relieved to see that the USD was about 25% stronger than the CDN that night. I mean, I know that airport restaurants tend to be more expensive (though my home airport BWI thankfully keeps their restaurants at normal prices). But I didn’t want to go through a lot of money right before a grand voyage.
The kitchen was slow, though the restaurant only had a few tables filled.
I decided to go with the shrimp wonton soup ($15 CDN) and with the exchange rate, that was a smart choice. It was a clear broth that had a flavor like toasted onion, which was from fried shallots. It was not a complex or seasoned broth, which very much surprised me from such an acclaimed chef. It was sprinkled with white sesame seeds.
The menu said that the soup had a “soya egg”, which I didn’t know what that would or could be, but it turned out to be a half of a hard-boiled egg poached in soy sauce. The soy permeated the egg white a bit, adding a nice salty flavor.
The soup also had scallions, bok choy (there were my greens!), substantial, fork-ready noodles, plentiful shrimp wontons and super tender beef seasoned with Chinese 5 spice. This was very much a meal in a bowl, hitting all of my requirements.