If I’m not mistaken – and I often am – I first met Lisa Ng, co-founder of HipUrbanGirl.com, at oyster Tuesdays on the patio at the Windsor Arms. Or maybe it was at an event somewhere? Whatever, it was a couple summers ago. In any case, this sprite of a social butterfly has a personality that would soften even the hardest of curmudgeons. (I’m proof of that.) She is indeed hip and urban, and has, alongside her partner Wendy Kam, cultivated an audience of equally savvy chiquitas across Toronto. She also has a pretty slick love of food and is consistently in-the-know of the city’s food and restaurant scene. Thus, she’s this Friday’s Foodie, and here are her 10 answers to our 10 questions…
When and why did you start writing about food?
I am always on the quest for the best, I love details, and I love trying new things. These three things combined really drove my passion for food and to discover great places to eat. I started my blog, The Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide with by blogging partner, Wendy. It was our way of sharing great finds with other people. We write daily about food, travel, events, style and life in an accessible way that we hope will inspire people to try something new.
What do you love most about food?
I love the experience of sharing a meal with others and everyone gathering around and enjoying time together. My preferred way to eat is family-style, where everyone gets a little taste of everything.
What do you do when you aren’t writing about or eating food?
I’m working out with my trainer. It’s a vicious cycle, you see. Ok kidding. I do try to do a variety of activities to keep in shape. My other passion is travel, so I’m either planning a trip or exploring food in other places around the world.
Do you cook? If so, what’s your specialty? If not, why?
I really do try to cook healthy when I’m at home. But we’re out so many nights of the week that it’s impossible sometimes. All the groceries end up going bad and I feel really guilty about it.
What’s your favourite type of food(s) and where do you go to get it?
Dim Sum! I was practically raised on it. I come from a family with 20 aunts and uncles total from both sides of my family. Weekends always meant seeing my aunts, uncles and my cousins and going to ‘yum cha’ with everyone. I like going to Dynasty in Yorkville or Pearl Harbourfront by the water.
What’s your favourite hidden gem?
Milagro Cantina Mexican Restaurant on Queen West. They do $5 margaritas on Tuesdays, the ceviches are absolutely refreshing and the shrimp taco wins every time in my books. It’s also close to home, so I often meet friends there.
What’s your go-to restaurant?
I rotate between a few: Fresh for healthy eats, Enoteca Sociale or Terroni when I’m in the mood for pasta, Pizzeria Libretto for pizza, and HoSu for sushi or my bibimbap fix.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
The 10-course Tasting Menu at Colborne Lane. It’s all molecular goodness and kept us fascinated the entire night.
What’s one restaurant you have to try before you die?
Not one in particular. I just need to go to Japan and eat as much ramen as possible.
What’s your biggest restaurant pet peeve? (Play nice.)
Rude staff, who act like they are doing you a favour. However, 95% of the time I get really great service in Toronto.