A new chain is trying its luck in the Quebec market: this time, it’s noodles, courtesy of China-based Dagu Rice Noodle.
Dagu has been open for a matter of days on Montreal’s Chinatown pedestrian strip — the chain has been in Canada for just under a year, having opened four locations in the Toronto area since September 2017. Montreal is its first location outside the GTA, with a Calgary location also in the works for the near future.
As the name implies, Dagu’s specialty is rice noodle dishes: noodles and broth make up the key menu items, with bone-in beef and pork options as menu staples. Also prominent on the menu are Yunnan-style Crossing the Bridge noodles; in a similar process to hot pot, “toppings” for the dish (meat and vegetables) are cooked à la minute in the broth.
Some internet literature has billed Dagu as “China’s most popular noodle brand”: a nebulous, hard-to-measure claim, but it has certainly found itself more than a niche in Toronto, with locations often drawing substantial line-ups.
It’s a pretty cheap eat: most soups clock in at $11 to $13 before tax; a small selection of appetizers — fried chicken, pumpkin pancakes — round out the food selection. Dagu also offers cheese tea, sweet drinks made with a sort of whipped cream cheese — a menu item that has proliferated rapidly around North America within the last year, arguably courtesy of the oddly photogenic nature of the drink luring Instagram “photographers” to seek it out.
The location of choice for Dagu is an interesting one for what appears to be a franchised chain: Chinatown is more or less a chain restaurant-free zone, so Dagu could be seen as a rather big fish inserting itself amidst . Other recently imported chains — such as Japanese grill Gyu-Kaku and cheesecake shop Uncle Tetsu — opted to set up shop right in the heart of downtown, in areas where chains and their attendant glossiness might blend a little more with the surroundings. Obviously, it’s too early to say whether or not that will make any difference whatsoever.
STATUS — Dagu Rice Noodle is open at 68 de la Gauchetière West, hours TBD.
- Dagu Rice Noodle [Official]
- Chinese chain Dagu Rice Noodles opening 2 Toronto restaurants [DailyHive]
- Inside Dagu Rice Noodle, a popular Chinese noodle joint [NOW Toronto]