Charcoal Kebab House, Traditional Uyghur Food from Northwest China

Charcoal Kebab HouseCharcoal Kebab House offers a unique style of cuisine from a region in China called Xinjiang. The region lies on the borders of ex-Soviet Central Asia, India and Pakistan. People of this region, the predominantly Muslim people of Uyghur (pronounced: wee-gur), are known for their specialty of traditional hand pulled noodles (Langman) and charcoal grilled kebab skewers.

I get giddy when I find this sort of place, a perfect balance of  taste, service and ambiance — void of commercialism, fad or hype. It’s not just food it’s a people and a history rich in culture.

As soon as I enter I met Avi, Charcoal Kebab House owner. He is also the front end manager who makes sure his patrons are comfortable, engages in conversation and welcomes everyone who walks in.

Avi hands me a menu, while Charcoal Kebab House server, dressed in traditional Uyghur attire, pours water and offers hot tea. I’m pleased to see it’s a very small menu — another bonus in my book. I know what I want but take the Avi’s recommendation as well and decide on Manta, Spicy Fried Noodles and Lamb Skewers with naan.

Charcoal Kebab House

Uyghur Manta is known as Mantu in Afghanistan. Since these regions are close together, there are a lot of similarities. Avi jokes however, that their Manta is the real deal and points out that their dumpling shell is much sturdier and a neater package to eat overall.

Charcoal Kebab House

The Spicy Fried Noodle comes out and before it hits the table, my mouth is watering. This seriously rivals any Asian noodle dish we’ve had before. The flavour is intense but not overwhelming — and the spices, textures and taste keep each bite interesting. You can clean the plate feeling satisfied and full. I’ll be back for more!

Charcoal Kebab House

The lamb skewers were also great — I’m big on meat and like the taste of lamb personally. I can see chicken being a better option though for people who aren’t lamb fans. Uyghur naan is pretty interesting as well. Order a couple extra because they’re smaller than Pakistani naan.

Cumin is a staple spice — and is what is used in most dishes, grilled skewers especially. So you’ll find this to be a common fragrance of most dishes and the “it factor” when it comes to Charcoal Kebab House.

With a completely halal menu, no pork or alcohol being served, a prayer area downstairs and deliciously unique cuisine, Charcoal Kebab House is a must try for anyone who lives or visits Toronto.

I highly recommend their Spicy Fried Noodle – and if you’re not a lamb fan, go for their chicken skewers. And my Afghan friends — give their manta a try, you can tell us which version is better!

For a look inside their cozy little spot, check out their YouTube video!

Meat Source: Beef and chicken are  from Bombay Bazaar (hand slaughtered sources). Lamb is from Mr. Greek Meat Market’s Supplier Department (HMA certified ).

Charcoal Kebab House
3256 Lawrence Ave East, Scarborough
(647) 352-4550

Charcoal Kebab House on Urbanspoon


By: January 30, 2014


  • Portions are small and it’s overly priced. Manto was a big disappointment it doesn’t come with any garnishes no sauce.

  • We visited this restaurant today. My wife & I liked the food but contrary to HalalFoodie’s review, the ambience and service leaves much to desire.

    We ordered lamb soup and Spicy Fried noodles. The soup took roughly 40 minutes to arrive and was lukewarm. Noodles were delicious though.

    I would like to go back to this place. But with just average service, long wait times and cramped spacing, I would take-out rather than dine in.

  • Obnoxious servers that don’t know how to treat customers.
    The restaurant staff told me to come in between 8 and 8:30 as their restaurant was full when I called around 6, so I said fine as we had a large group for my wife’s birthday. The greeter was obnoxious though, and the server in charge no better, as they first wanted to know if we had a reservation – we didn’t as I was told they did not make reservations on the phone – and then told to wait outside the restaurant in the cold, while they cleaned a table, even though there was ample space inside to stand. I told the head server, who preferred to look through me as she walked away, that she could shove her stupid beeper, and I put it on top of their cooler as we walked out. They clearly didn’t want my business, as they were already full with Chinese clientele, and I could not care less either. We happily went to another restaurant instead that Halalfoodie and others had recently recognized as one of the top in Toronto. And we enjoyed ourselves instead.

  • Horrible service. Went there on February 20, 2016. Server took the order but never put it through. Waited over 45 mins and when 3 other customers who came after us started getting food, I inquired and the server realized she forgot our order…reordered and told that it will be 15 mins. Waited another 25 mins and watched other people eat their food and finally decided we had enough and took my 2 little hungry kids and walked out. Will never go to them again.

  • I just can’t believe the experience we had at this place!!! We went in to try something new. As we entered the waitress greeted us and gave us the menu. We looked through and waited for the waitress to take our order. While we waited other customers slowly came in. She also greeted them and gave them menu to look over. She walked back and forth in the kitchen. We were ready to order but she went to take orders from the tables with customer who came later than us. 15 minutes passed and she still did not acknowledge the fact that we were ready to order even though at one point I looked and smiled. We even closed the menu and put it to the side of the table for her to get the hint to come by and take our order. She decided to take everyone else’s order and even have a drink and some dumplings behind the counter while we waited for her. I just couldn’t believe this waitress priorities. I have never experienced such bad customer service in my life. This place definitely needs better and more experienced waiters. We walked out after wasting 20 minutes as she continued to drink and eat her dumplings behind the counter. I bet they were good, but I guess we will never find out.

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