Inside Superfresh, the new 4,000 square foot Asian night dining hall inspired by the food court of the Annex
super fresh It aims to bring the atmosphere of the outdoor night market indoors. Located in the space formerly occupied by the Annex Food Hall, this 4,000 square foot dining and beverage offering features each individual booth a business owned or operated by Asia. There are seven street food vendors, a full-service bar with cocktails on tap, and a bodega and spacey sugar offering soju, paiju and sake along with an anjo (drinking snacks) menu.
“Everything here evokes memories of growing up as an Asian immigrant child,” said Trevor Lowe, who partnered with Annex Food Market owners James Lee, Jay Buck, and Dave Choi on the project. “It’s a combination of things from our culture that we didn’t really share while growing up in a Western society because we were ashamed of things that were super Asian. But we got to a point where we are now very proud of them.”
There’s a lot of focus on food, but Superfresh will aim to highlight and celebrate Asian culture as well, with community programs that will include artisan markets, pop-ups, live DJs, and fashion shows. “Our goal is to support and elevate the many talented Asian creators in the city and provide a hub for their work to be showcased,” says Lowe.
The space also brings together Asian businesswomen, tapping into the talents of Evelyn Chick (Ahma) to design bar drinks; Stephanie Lowe Valentim (Coyle) for Creative Directing; Bianca Chamberlain (TRV Studio Creative) for web design and branding; Nicole Cheng and Karen Lam (FuseNeon) for lighting; Elaine Cowan (EQPR) Public Relations. “Asian women generally hold the power in our homes,” Lowe says. But they do not necessarily have a public voice. We have to change the narrative because there are so many great female creators out there. We knew about them and wanted them as part of the project.”
Take a look around and you will find all you can do, see, eat and drink.
Named after Bloor Superfresh, Toronto’s first 24-hour Korean grocery store in the annex, the multi-dimensional space serves Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese dishes. Open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) from noon to late, the complex seats 150 people inside and another 50 people on the patio.
Visitors are greeted with fixtures that reference Asian customs. The practice of removing shoes before entering the house is a rug filled with “outdoor shoes” and a basket of house slippers. (Note: You can and should wear your shoes at Superfresh.)
The entrance hall is decorated with antique menus that are a homage to Asian food in North America, like an alley with colorful plastic strainers, baskets, shoes hanging from wooden beams, and fake telephone lines.
Superfresh is outfitted with whimsical decor that resembles a busy East Asian night market: food stalls, neon lighting, and faux storefronts like the ones below.
Across from the hostess’ stand, Auntie’s Supply presents itself as a Los Angeles-style Asian bodega with shelves full of snacks and spices curated by owner Christina Buck.
Pack’s Store stocks Asian snacks and ingredients including a variety of Pocky and Japanese Kit Kats in seasonal flavors, and instant noodles. There are also additional items in stock by independent Asian makers like FlyByJing’s artisanal Sichuan chili and instant oatmeal flavored with bubble tea.
Auntie’s Supply is also the only place in town where you’ll find Moshi Sparkling Drink. It comes in yuzu, white peach, red shizu, and apple flavors.
Superfresh food court is cashless. Once seated, guests can scan a QR-code menu to order everything from northern Chinese noodles and Indonesian street food to Japanese snacks and Taiwanese fried chicken through Order Up, a digital app that acts as an open tab. Upon completion, guests simply complete the transaction on the app.
No one can walk through the Wall of Wealth, which features lucky cats and the mascot Superfresh Baby PeeQ, without celebrating their visit in an instant.
Hawking has over 40 flavors of “mochins” (mochi pancakes) along with “tea-misu” and Basque cheesecakes, good merchandise Specializing in less sweet, gluten-free baked goods with Asian-Canadian flavours.
Mochins are the delicious love child of mochi butter cakes. Made with sticky and lightly sweetened rice, the mushien has a bouncy texture. They come in a rainbow of rotating flavours. $5.50 each.
The Tea-misu includes matcha tea powder with ladyfingers tiramisu and mascarpone cream ($11). Basque cheesecake has a blistered crust and a caramelized crust ($8).
Inspired by the snacks found in night markets in Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, pawbird The menu features Taiwanese fried chicken, bao sandwiches, and other shareable snacks, such as soy-butter french fries, soy tea eggs, stir-fried shichito, and chili-garlic ginger noodles.
Anyone who’s been to Trevor Lui’s JoyBird Fried Chicken at Stackt Market is familiar with Taiwanese fried chicken, which is dry fried, gluten-free and halal. Served with an 11-ingredient homemade sauce. $14.75 USD.
There are also steamed bao sandwiches stuffed with Asian fillings, such as sweet potato, Taiwanese-style pork belly, homemade beef bulgogi, or twice-fried chicken. Pick two for $15.
Katsuban Sandos katsu, homemade shokuban (Japanese milk bread) comes in tamago (a rolled Japanese omelette made with dashi and green onions), chicken katsu, katsu, pork, and various types of vegetables. It’s non-luxury food carefully crafted by owners Joseph Rodens and Wilson Shane.
Shrimp Katsu Sando features a juicy breaded shrimp pan fried and topped with a spicy red pepper sauce and kyube mayonnaise. It is sandwiched between two thick slices of chocoban. $14.30.
Those chasing an elusive loaf of shokupan (one of many food obsessions in times of pandemic) can easily find one here at OG, sweet matcha flavors, French cocoa, and vanilla flavors ($5.99 each). The ready-to-eat item can be paired with a bowl of Matcha Spread Milk ($4.99).
at jagan, which means “pamper yourself” in Bahasa (one of the Indonesian dialects), you’ll find sweet, savory and spicy Indonesian street foods like rendang, koring, and grilled skewers. Owned and operated by newcomers to the Toronto dining scene, Nico Hanbali, Donnie Digduyo, and Inges Brazzi.
Charcoal grilled ayam satay (chicken skewers) halal and served with peanut sauce. $15.98.
Beef rendang, served with shrimp flakes for scooping.
It’s the kitchen theater in large beef platterOwner and noodle expert Evan Lo whips up handmade Lancho-style noodles alongside classic cold starters and fried dumplings.
Each bowl of pasta is made to order according to the desired thickness (thick, thin) and shape (round, flat). With each quick swipe and pull between his fingers, guests can watch a large lump of dough transform as Low works to turn it into strands of fresh pasta.
Lanzhou Classic Beef bathes hand-pulled noodles, veal and cilantro in house-seasoned beef bone broth, made with a seven-year-old master broth. $14.
This “dry” dish features no soup, hand-pulled noodles with minced pork in a chili sauce. $14.
With an aesthetic inspired by Hong Kong’s ping-pong bar and shelves laden with antiques sourced from the parents of the Superfresh founders, Bar Superfresh specializes in Asian-inspired beverages. The extensive drinks menu, created by bartender Evelyn Chick, features breakable highballs and cocktails (some non-alcoholic) infused with Asian ingredients. The extensive drinks menu includes beer (Godspeed, Henderson, Louis Cifer, and Asahi) as well as a carefully curated list of sake, soju, and baijiu.
Superfresh is one of two places in town that has a Toki Highball machine, which infuses chilled whiskey and citrus for high balls. They are all the rage in Japan now.
Signature cocktails on tap include the Switch Kick (bourbon, amaro aira, cold brew, Thai iced tea, coconut whipped cream); The Rose Collins (Gekkeikan Junmai sake, bramble, lemon, lychee syrup, rose water, soda); and Superfresh Spritz (lemongrass infused vodka, pomelo-ginseng cordial, dry vermouth, Prosecco). $14.50 each.
There is also a secret kitchen that does not have a storefront. Sam Cha (Korean in the third round of social drinking, which traditionally means you’re bound for the rest of the evening), serves a menu of classic anju (Korean bar snacks). You can order Ssam Cha dishes from the secret Korean restaurant which is located through a hidden back door near the stairs leading to the bathroom downstairs. (Note: There is an accessible bathroom on the main floor). Guests who want to access the space need to give the password of the week (You’ll find it on Superfresh’s Instagram). This first-come, first-served Korean bar has a capacity of only 25 and is open from 8pm until late.
Here, chef Jae Hong serves up a menu of traditional Korean snacks, including mini bo ssams, which can be ordered through Ssam Cha’s menu.
The secret anju experience offers soju, baiju and sake, as well as crafted cocktails that differ from those served at the Superfresh Bar. Garnished with banana leaves, Punch Punch Peach is a mai tai dish made with Brugal 1888 dark rum, Chum Churum peach soju, cashew orgeat tahini and lime. $17.
Served with roasted seaweed, Yook Hwae is a sweet and savory beef tartare topped with Asian pear, pea sprouts, American cheese, and creamy egg yolk. $22.
384 Bloor St. W., 647-979-0384, superfresh.toAnd @superfresh.to