A city of international flavours, you can taste the world with these Asian restaurants in Mississauga.
This year I plan to spend 8 months in Asia. I don’t know my exact schedule as I like to keep things open but I do know it will be centered around food.
Eight months seems like a long time but Asia as a land mass is 1/3 of the entire world and has 4.75 billion people.
But I have narrowed it down to a few countries that I want to visit for the first time and also return to. In preparation for my trip I visited Mississauga because it’s a city for travelers.
With over 1800 restaurants from over 150 countries in Mississauga I actually don’t need to leave Canada at all.
I could simply spend the next 5 years eating at a different restaurant each night.
But it’s also an excellent city to be inspired by food and culture. So I used this trip as a preview of incredible food to come.
In the last year I’ve been to Mississauga twice and I know I’ll be back again. Because each time I go I pass by new restaurants I’d love to visit but don’t have the time and stomach room to try them.
So this post will be an on-going evergreen piece that I add with each visit.
Asian Restaurants in Mississauga
Lion City Restaurant
Lion City was originally owned by a Singaporean woman who decided to open a restaurant at age 50. She made a name for the spot and today it continues to uphold its reputation with current owners Greg and Elle, former bankers in Singapore who moved to Canada 5 years ago.
To say it is located in a Mississauga strip mall doesn’t give the area justice. It’s a large outdoor space of restaurants, supermarkets, and miscellaneous businesses from karaoke to acupuncture representing food and traditions from all over Asia.
I could spend a month just checking out different places on this block. Perhaps next time.
On a cold and rainy day I was immediately offered hot tea while I looked at the menu. The menu reflects the diversity of Singapore, which is influenced by its surrounding countries Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
In fact, the restaurant is very popular with University of Toronto international students from these countries who are looking for a taste of home.
Lion City is known for their Hainanese chicken rice, which they warned me was a two-person meal and suggested the laksa, which is equally popular.
Thick rice vermicelli, spicy shrimp based coconut broth, tofu puffs, fish cake, chicken, shrimp, cucumber laksa leaves.
It’s light but full of flavour and the owner Elle stopped by to drop off house made sambal, which was just spicy enough.
She also kindly offered to send me recommendations for my trip to Singapore, which I will definitely be taking her up on.
The portion size is so generous I brought half back to my hotel and ate the rest that night.
I realized I shouldn’t have declined cutlery but I made do by using two coffee stir sticks from my hotel as chopsticks.
A bit unorthodox but there was no way I was missing out on these leftovers.
Lion City Restaurant
1177 Central Pkwy W Unit 70, Mississauga, ON L5C 4P3, Canada
This is the year I finally visit Pakistan. It has been on my wish list for years despite never trying Pakistani food.
Thankfully so many people recommended Zauq on Reddit, a platform with such tough critics I knew it had to be good if they all agreed.
I popped in just after the lunch rush. Although it is a fine dining Halal restaurant they also offer an unbeatable lunch special for $12.99.
The focus is Pakistani, Indian and Hakka dishes. I must admit I don’t have enough experience with these cuisines to know the nuances of each.
My server was patient, explaining the menu and answering questions. Not surprisingly I can be a bit high maintenance as I like to know everything about a dish.
Together we settled on the reshmi kebab and they urged me to upgrade to the garlic naan cooked in clay, then brushed with garlic and parsley.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting much. I have had a lot of kebabs in my life. But now I realize I’ve been eating mediocre kebabs all my life!
The reshmi kebab is common in northern India and Pakistan. Boneless chicken is marinated in curd, cream, cashew nut paste, ginger, garlic, spices and then grilled in tandoor.
It was so tender and delicious and now I understand why it is called reshmi, which means silk in Pakistan.
After eating this I immediately started looking at requirements for entering Pakistan because I need more of this food in my life.
Zauq is a great choice for group dinners to share dishes and try new things. The dining room features big tables and I overheard staff taking reservations for groups of 8-16 people.
This spot is very popular with regular customers. It only takes reservations for groups of 5 or more but they do encourage smaller groups to just call ahead and they’ll tell you if they have any available tables.
1325 Eglinton Ave E #12, Mississauga, ON L4W 4L9, Canada
In 1999 I moved to Cebu for an international internship after university. The internet was new-ish and so I had no idea what to expect.
I have so many wonderful memories of incredible landscapes, beaches and the friendliest people. I also laugh at things I ate, because I rarely knew what it was but often discovered later I may not have tried it if I knew what it was.
I was much pickier back then. Now I want all the organs and offal – which is what Filipinos cook so well.
There are so many fantastic Filipino restaurants in Mississauga, with a sizable community I had lots of recommendations. But Bella’s Inasal seemed to be a favourite amongst so many.
And the sizzling pork sisig was calling my name! Minced pork face and belly along with chicken liver, onion, chili and calamansi citrus.
They drizzle a bit of mayo on top. You get an almost nutty flavour from crispy and soft pork. It knocked me off my feet and reminded me how simple but flavourful Filipino food is.
If you order just one dish to try Filipino food this has to be it.
848 Burnhamthorpe Rd W, Mississauga, ON L5C 2S3, Canada
A few months ago I visited Indonesia and immediately fell in love. Over seven weeks I discovered the warm, welcoming people, and the traditional food on Sumatra Island really opened up a whole new world…for my taste buds.
So much so that I booked a return flight before I left. With 17,000 islands I knew I needed to explore more.
But I was shocked to see that there was an Indonesian restaurant in Mississauga. I didn’t think there would be a large population in cold Canada.
Samara Kitchen is a small restaurant with only three tables. It is very popular for take out and I tried to visit three times before I could get a table because so many Indonesians are there at lunch.
You see Canada might be cold, but we also have a reputation for being friendly and offering a good life.
And so I had a late 2pm lunch. I shared the small space with a man from Jakarta who was introducing food from his country to his new girlfriend.
I ordered nasi padang, a common dish on Sumatra, with the iconic rendang. Rendang is one of five national dishes in Indonesia but the most revered as it is beef slow cooked in spices for hours.
I learned how to make it in Padang and it was so complex I knew I would never make it again!
But owners Iwan and Nanik have brought this flavour to Canada. The couple moved here over a decade ago and have traveled from coast to coast.
I had tingles eating the rendang. The familiar flavour took me back to that not so faint food memory.
If you want authentic Indonesian food this is the place. You can order take out as many do but I think it’s work going at 1:30pm so you can talk to them as they are such lovely people.
6033 Shawson Dr Unit 13, Mississauga, ON L5T 1E7, Canada
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Korean Restaurant
Korean food is another cuisine where I have no idea what I am eating most of the time. I only know that I have enjoyed every single dish.
I love spice, fermented flavours and pickled radish. But that’s where my knowledge ends.
So many people recommended I go to Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu that I had to comply. Although this is a franchise, it is independently owned and is known for its high standards.
My server was amazing. I told him my knowledge level (zero) and that I hoped to go to South Korea this year and he walked me through the menu.
This restaurant is known for its 7 options of spicy tofu stew. What I love about food in Asian countries is that unlike the Americas, tofu is not just for vegetarians. Everyone eats tofu and often you can have meat in tofu dishes.
The soon tofu is accompanied by a number of unlimited sides of fermented and pickled items, like that delicious radish.
And I was introduced to a Korean tradition. Although many Asian restaurants will make rice at the beginning of the day to deal with high demands in the kitchen, this spot makes it to order.
It’s cooked in a stone bowl and put into a serving dish water. Then water is poured into the stone bowl with its crispy rice bits on the bottom to make for an after dinner snack.
Korea has after dinner snacks? Count me in!
On my way out my server warned me that when I go to Korea to order one small dish because if I thought this meal had a lot of sides I hadn’t seen anything yet!
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Korean Restaurant
3085 Hurontario St, Mississauga, ON L5A 4E4, Canada
BONUS: Salwaa Shawarma
I originally visited this Indian restaurant while exploring Lakeshore restaurants in Mississauga. It was so good I wanted to share it again here.
I noticed their sign for Hyderabadi biryani in an unremarkable row of stores and thought immediately, why not? Google reviews are great for both the biryani, shawarma and service so I went in with solid expectations for the food.
But what really stole my heart was the family who runs this restaurant. They opened the winter of 2020 in the thick of it all. And despite everything they have such fantastic attitudes.
This isn’t just an all compassing Indian restaurant in Mississauga but specially Hyderabadi.
While his wife Muna was preparing the regional biryani, Ali took the time to explain what makes this biryani special, how it’s prepared, the State of Hyderabadi and a brief relevant history of India as it pertains to the dish.
It was so light and just the right amount of spice. Vibrant pungent flavours that really enticed me to eat more when I was already full.
I can never finish a meal, especially when portion sizes are as healthy as here. So I took the rest with me and ate it for breakfast.
It was absolutely one of my favourite spots. Highly recommended!
If you’re eating at a great Asian restaurant in Mississauga that you think I should know about, post it on Instagram and tag me @Ayngelina so I can share it!
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Tourism Mississauga. They did not request that I visit any specific restaurants in Mississauga, only to share what I discovered. And what a treat it was to have this food preview before my travels.