Smoke billowed from gangs of barbeques lined up as far as the eye could see. Bunches of Hello Kitty balloons neatly tied together gently waved in the afternoon breeze. Tourists clicked their cameras incessantly and nearly tripped over each other with excitement. Traditional arts and costumes from the eight Chinese provinces were featured on stage and performers under intricately embroidered red-silked dragons danced through the streets at the Toronto Chinatown Festival.
My nose led me to open-air street vendors selling skewers of pork and beef, fried rice, lotus paste sandwiches and steamed breads; at times smelling putrid, rotten, rancid and sour and at other times sweet, aromatic, and occasionally perfumed like a newly-planted taro bush on the Hawaiian coast. Fused together, their fragrant flavours transported me to the Orient with a single inhale.
I sauntered through the colourful displays and couldn’t help but bite into Takoyaki and curried fish balls, while double fisting a strawberry bubble tea and a fresh coconut sliced open specifically for my consumption. I sipped the last bit of coconut water, and spied both boiled white radishes and chocolate wasabi ice cream. Something told me I was required to make a detour, as the streets of Chinatown invited me to indulge, again.
P.S. Take a gander at the rest of my too-good-to-be-true Chinatown Festival photos here. 😉