Date 16: Dayali with Aiwen, Tom, Connie, and Lisa

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Dayali, at 20 Gibson Drive, Markham; call (905) 604-8680

Aiwen was able to snag her parent’s VIP card, so we decided to hoof on over to Dayali in Markham. Dayali is a burgeoning chain from Beijing specializing in Peking Duck. This was my first time trekking out to Markham for Chinese food, something I have been hoping to do for a good while now. In fact, when moving to Toronto almost two years ago, I expected this would be a regular occurrence. Back in Vancouver, we had Richmond, a suburb known for its variety and quality of Chinese food. My friends and I used to make it out there regularly, largely because its accessible via the Skytrain. No such luck with Markham. Fortunately, Connie generously donated his wheels, driving us all up to Dayali and then back to our respective homes.

As you can probably tell, I’m sorting through a bunch of old dinner dates so I can get to the more recent stuff. That also means that my memory for the dinner isn’t great.

Lotus root at Dayali

That said, I do remember the feelings associated with this meal – and they are overwhelmingly positive. Some of the dishes leading up to the duck were not quite up to par, especially the fried yams, which were one note, and the fry work in general slipped into the egregiously greasy.

One standout was the cumin roasted skewered frog legs. Meaty, juicy, and robust with cumin, these legs would not be confused with chicken.

Frog legs at Dayali

Of course, the main event was the reason we came. And it was truly beyond reproach. Crispy skin, fatty meat, and all of the accoutrements one would expect with a proper Peking duck meal. In my excitement, I forgot to take photos.

It was a fun evening with colleagues and one I hope will soon repeat.

Perpend: The only beer choices are Budweiser and Coors Light.