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There's a new restaurant specializing in Northern Chinese cuisine in Spadina's Chinatown. Tianjin Auntie's Steamed Bun (天津阿姨包子铺) opened their doors just last week in Huron Square. This family-run business is brought to life by chefs and owners Yu Huiping and her husband, Xwang Xuezhi.
Chefs and owners Yu Huiping (right) and her husband, Xwang Xuezhi (left).
Huiping used to run a catering service for years, mainly delivering to University of Toronto students. Since COVID-19 resulted in school moving online and campuses being left empty, Huiping was forced to adapt after losing her clientele. As a result, she decided to start from scratch again, choosing to open her own restaurant.
The restaurant is named after Huiping and the city she grew up in. Tianjin is a municipality rich in history that is the largest port city in Northern China due to its location along the coast of the Bohai Sea. Besides being known for serving as a vital gateway for its neighbouring city Beijing, Tianjin is also recognized as an area thriving in street-food culture.
Huiping brings many of her favourite dishes to the menu, most notably jianbing and a variety of handmade baos and dumplings. Huiping reminisces about how these dishes, in particular, were popular amongst the students she served.
Jianbing is a traditional folded savoury dish often known as "Chinese crepes" for its thinly spread egg and grain base. At Tianjin Auntie's Steamed Buns, you can find jianbing with layers of sweet and savoury sauces and pieces of crispy deep-fried crackers sandwiched between them.
Jianbing, a traditional Chinese street food is made similar to a crepe, consisting of wheat and grain flour, eggs and sauce.
There's a large selection of steamed buns and dumplings, both fried and boiled to choose from. The most popular of them all is the steamed Tianjin Style Pork Buns. Tianjin Auntie's Steamed Buns also makes tasty handmade noodles, which are available in dry and soup-based dishes like the Tianjin Style Wonton Soup.
Tianjin Auntie's Steamed Buns is located at 77 Huron Street and is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. If you don't stop in for pick-up, you can also find them on Uber Eats for takeout.