This is the ultimate place to get street food in Toronto

Torontonians love their street food, but the reality is that there are few places to eat on actual streets.

This is largely due to strict rules on where food trucks can stop, a failed food cart program and limited opportunities for first-time food entrepreneurs that don’t have million-dollar budgets.

But for just over a decade, Market 707, a strip of shipping containers turned food stalls and storefronts managed by the Scadding Court Community Centre at Dundas Street West and Bathurst Street, has been a shining example of what the city needs more of.

Everyone from hospital workers to students come here to grab an affordable meal not from a chain. Cooks have more freedom to test out new dishes or switch out menus without worrying whether they’ll fill a whole dining room.

This is the ultimate place to get street food in Toronto

“This community centre gives opportunities to people who want to start a business,” said pastry chef Akash Swar of Little Sister Baking, who moved from a rental commercial kitchen nearby to her own booth at the market last year. “My rent is under $1,000 a month, which is a lot more manageable for first-time business owners.”

And, over the years, the market has found its groove as an international food hub where you can have injera with a Montreal smoked meat poutine and wash it down with a Jamaican ginger-pineapple juice.

Be warned that not all the vendors are open every day, but Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are good bets on when to show up.

With patio season in full swing, Market 707 is the place to go. Here’s a look at all of its culinary offerings.

SuLee Dosirak

Su Jin Won, left, and her brother Mike Won of SuLee Dosirak.

Siblings Mike Won and Su Jin Won started SuLee last year first as a small-batch online kimchi company named after their late mother who had a restaurant in Koreatown North.

They then set up shop at the market last winter, expanding the menu to dosirak, a packed meal to-go that includes rice, banchan and a main. The pork-bone jjim option is the bestseller, but there’s a portobello and tofu with bulgogi sauce on the vegan menu.

Diners may be familiar with typical banchan like bean sprouts and pickled daikon available in Toronto, but the Won siblings keep things interesting by rotating in less commonly seen sides such as fried anchovies, mung bean jelly, lily flowers, salted radish and gyeran mari, a rolled omelette.

Gimbap, the other to-go meal, has torched pork belly to incorporate the siblings’ love of Korean barbecue.

Little Sister Baking

Pastry chef Akash Swar describes her baking as a combination of South Asian flavours and French and Japanese pastry technique — a result of growing up in Dubai which, like Toronto, has a mix of multiple culinary influences.

Mini mango rasmalai cakes are one of the specialities at Little Sister Baking.

Think Paris-Brest and choux pastries filled with mango lassi creme, or combining the American bundt cake with the cardamom and pistachio flavours of a rasmalai. (Larger cakes require ordering in advance.)

For a hot summer day, there’s the popular iced masala chai, but also try Swar’s nimbu pani, a sweet and slightly salty limeade that’ll top off your electrolytes.

Marq’s Chicago Beef

Deep dish pizza is Chicago’s most well-known export, but the Italian beef sandwich is a deeper cut few Torontonians know about.

Chef Neola D'Souza prepares an Italian beef sandwich at Marq's Chicago Beef.

So brothers Mark and Ryan Lim brought their favourite Chicago delicacy north of the border with Ryan’s partner and chef Neola D’Souza in the kitchen.

Think thinly shaved roast beef with Italian seasoning, stuffed into crusty bread, then topped with green peppers and another very Chicago thing: giardiniera. The spicy condiment is made of pickled celery, carrots and chilies in oil. (Marq’s uses the same giardiniera supplier as Portillo’s, the quintessential Chicago beef sandwich chain.)

The sandwich is then dipped, or soaked, depending on the eater, in au jus.

Rooftop fries and a six-inch Italian beef sandwich with hot giardiniera and sweet peppers at Marq's Chicago Beef.

“We used to go to Chicago every year to visit family and we’d have the beef sandwich,” said D’Souza. “It’s hard to get people to (understand) dipping a sandwich in au jus, but we’ve had people from the States come to us saying that they’ve been looking for it.”

Flame & Smoke

Chef Skye Prescott puts the finishing touches on the BBQ chicken sandwich at Flame & Smoke.

Flame & Smoke started off as a catering company five years ago. Just before the pandemic, it opened at Market 707 and has since become the quintessential stop for all things barbecue.

The expansive, deliciously messy menu ideal for picnic table dining is built on the premise of American barbecue and comfort classics — the pulled pork sandwich is a major draw, cooked over a lengthy period of time, accented by a crisp slaw and fried onions.

Flame & Smoke's BBQ chicken sandwich.

The sides are excellent here, go for the crispy sprouts, which have a slight sweet and tangy sauce dressed all over, or the macaroni and cheese bites, which are served with a house-made tomato sauce.

Stuff’D Grilled Cheese and Tots

Jey Sivaneswaran prepares grilled cheeses at Stuff'D Grilled Cheese and Tots.

Jey Sivaneswaran opened his comfort food stall just over four years ago, after starting his career as a dishwasher, then a line cook and kitchen supervisor.

There’s no deep reason for serving grilled cheese and tots, he said, other than it’s easy to eat on the go, and a crowd pleaser.

Still, the types of grilled cheeses here are what make people come back.

The Harvest (mushroom) grilled cheese sandwich by Stuff'D Grilled Cheese and Tots.

The mushroom grilled cheese is loaded with thinly sliced cremini mushrooms mixed with Havarti and Swiss in a crispy sourdough, making for a one-two umami punch where the more mild cheeses get added depth from the mushrooms.

While Sivaneswaran is determined that every sandwich achieves the photogenic cheese pull, the more important thing is that the sandwiches themselves are terrific, gooey, hot, and not skimping on the fillings.

Chef Harwash

Houssam Harwash prepares food inside of Chef Harwash, which specializes in kebabs and wraps.

Houssam Harwash knew he wanted to open a restaurant when he arrived in Toronto a few years ago, and he got his chance when he spotted Market 707 while working as a delivery driver.

“Restaurants are in our blood. We have been running butcher shops and restaurants for many decades,” said Harwash, referring to his great-grandfather in Syria.

As a result, the food veers on Damascus cooking.

Kebab sandwich served with fries topped with toum from Chef Harwash.

There are the shawarmas with a side of pomegranate molasses and fries topped with lip-smacking good toum and the kebabs wrapped in hot, crispy saj bread.

And then there is the sujok sandwich, one of the best dishes on the menu. It’s a baguette stuffed with beef mixed with lamb fat and a blend of spices brought over from Syria and then slathered generously with a garlic sauce.

NomNomNom Poutine

What started as a crepe spot in 2011 switched up to a poutine menu when owner Marc Perreault decided to lean into his Montreal roots. And, yes, of course, there’s a poutine topped with smoked meat.

The squeaky curds are from Belleville’s Maple Dale Cheese (the same supplier once used by the lauded, but now gone, Poutini’s on Queen West). Perreault often orders a few extra bags for customers who want to buy them on their own.

As a nod to owner Marc Perreault's Montreal background, there's a smoked meat poutine on the menu at NomNomNom.

Perreault, one of the market’s longest-standing vendors, said 707 has changed drastically over the years.

“The market was a lot smaller and there wasn’t a big foundation for food, but since then there was a big push to get food in and that’s when it got busier,” he said.

Kanto By Tita Flips

Before chef Diona Joyce opened her Junction restaurant of the same name, she was serving out of her original food stall at Market 707 and filling downtown’s cravings for lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) and lechon (Filipino crispy pork).

Dinuguan, a Filipino stew made from offal and pork blood, at Kanto by Tita Flips.

Take advantage of the market’s picnic tables and get something that’s less grab-and-go such as the dinuguan, a savoury stew made from pork blood and offal best eaten with lots of garlic rice.

Other things to try: the tapsilog — the go-to breakfast of garlic fried rice, egg and soy-marinated rib-eye — or the batchoy (noodle soup) with roast pork.

Omusubi Bar Suzume

Rie Arai, owner of Omusubi Bar Suzume, has a staple menu of onigiri and often introduces weekend specials.

One of the most underrated culinary spots in the city is chef Rie Arai’s tiny food stall where on top of her onigiri menu — May’s special is green peas with salted kelp — she usually introduces very limited weekend specials like skewers of savoury dango, a Japanese rice flour dumpling, or bamboo shoot and wakame miso soup.

Her menu also highlights food eaten on holidays less known outside of Japan. For example, earlier in May she had red bean mochi wrapped in oak leaves for Children’s Day.

Kinpira and onigiri at Omusubi Bar Suzume.

While not all the vendors are open when temperatures dip, Omusubi is. Come back in the late fall when Arai serves bowls of oden: vegetables and fish cakes slowly simmered in broth.

“I try to make things people have to come here for. I don’t sell water because you can get that anywhere, but not buckwheat tea,” she said. “I see the ingredients first and I make a menu out of that.”

Ethiopian and Eritrean Cafe

Owner Etse Hiwot, left, and husband Kebede Batt at Ethiopian and Eritrean Cafe.

The newest edition to Market 707 dives heavily into regional Ethiopian and Eritrean comfort foods, with a staunch focus on vegan and vegetarian-friendly platters.

“These are the dishes that most remind me of my family,” said owner Etsehiwot Ejigu.

Injera plays a key role on her menu — the spongy flatbread made with teff flour that is used to create platters dressed with meat and vegetable stews.

Most customers lean toward Ejigu’s preparation of the vegetable sides like the kik wat — chickpeas that are cooked low and slow with a plethora of spices. Also popular is the yemisir wat, where lentils are cooked low and slow in a red pepper sauce.

At the Ethiopian and Eritrean Cafe, the tibbs and the vegan combo platter are the most popular, and served with all-teff injera.

It’s also one of the few stalls at the market that has a breakfast menu. Ejigu serves up firfir, where she breaks up injera into small pieces and cooks it with garlic and red onions.

Also fantastic is her take on foul — a hearty comfort dish made with fava beans and vegetables.

Nantana Thai Food & Desserts

Nantana Salanont of Nantana Thai Food & Desserts also teaches Thai cooking at George Brown College.

“For Thai people, pad Thai is street food,” said owner and chef Nantana Salanont, who also teaches Thai cooking at George Brown College. “It’s best eaten fresh because as it sits, the noodles go bad.”

It’s why she has a disclaimer at her stall that an order of the noodles takes a few extra minutes because they’re made to order, one plate at a time.

“It won’t taste as good if you’re making a lot of it at once,” she said.

Nantana Thai Food & Desserts's speciality is the made-to-order pad Thai. Bottles of pad Thai sauce are also available for purchase.

The noodles have the perfect tamarind tang mellowed out by palm sugar with the aroma of fish sauce and a side of chili flakes to bring the heat.

Since Salanont’s workspace is, if being generous, the size of a cubicle, her menu sticks to items like pad krapow or a green curry — items more likely to be found on the streets of Bangkok rather than a sit-down restaurant.


The Gushi stall at Market 707 is one of the oldest vendors, marking its 10th anniversay this year.

One of the oldest food vendors at the market, Gushi has been frying up karaage, Japanese fried chicken, since 2012. There is now another location in Cabbagetown.

The chicken is marinated in sake and soy sauce before the tiny boneless bites are fried to golden perfection.

The “OG” meal is a good place to start: three pieces of karaage on a bed of purple rice, then topped with spicy mayo, edamame and threads of pickled ginger. The latter is the key to the meal as the vinegary heat cuts through the fried chicken making it taste less heavy.

The OG meal is the go-to option at Gushi, karaage on purple rice with spicy mayo, sesame soy sauce, edamame, hachimi pepper and red ginger.

There’s also a hot maple karaage (not really spicy, but the addition of maple adds a pleasant layer of flavour) and the teriyaki nagoya option containing a very potent garlicky teriyaki sauce that definitely requires a drink to wash it down.

Original Taste

Janet Daly at Jamaican food stall, Original Taste.

Working within the confines of the shipping container kitchen for the past six years has meant owner Janet Daly keeps the menu at the Jamaican food stall to just the classics such as jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtail.

They are meals Daly learned to cook at a very young age.

Homemade pineapple ginger juice and a jerk chicken sandwich at Jamaican food stall, Original Taste.

“From when you’re a child your parents always made you work, everyone had to learn to cook, and if you didn’t know how, your mom or sister would teach you.”

For something more travel-friendly, there’s also the jerk chicken sandwich: boneless pieces of chicken in jerk sauce in a bun. (Daly is also working on a jerk burger.) Pair it with a cup of her pineapple juice that doesn’t hold back on the ginger.

Little Banh Mi Shop

Little Banh Mi's Thuy Bui prepares an order of banh mis.

One of the newest vendors at the market is run by a husband-and-wife team focusing on one of the ultimate Vietnamese street foods: the flavour-packed banh mi.

The banh mi can be ordered two ways — with the cold cuts as you would in cities like Hanoi, or with grilled meats like pork, beef and lemongrass chicken. Vegetarians, don’t sweat, tofu banh mi is also an option.

“The grilled version is where we can play with the marinades and sauces,” said co-owner Thi Thanh Thuy Bui.

Tamarind and pineapple drink, chicken banh mi, and fried tofu banh mi from Little Banh Mi Shop.

With the beef banh mi, sliced beef is marinated overnight, grilled and served in a soft baguette with a thick sauce. Order it with a side of spring or fresh rolls.


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