RJ’s Taste of Asia co-owner shares story behind the restaurant 

April 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Even people who have never been to Asia nor have plans to go, want to try the Asian meals served at RJ’s Taste of Asia restaurant at 19 Mill Street, here in Orangeville.

“We’ve been seven years on Mill Street,” said Regie Mercurio co-owner and manager of the restaurant. “I’m so glad that I have loyal customers. During this time, people still mostly order take out. People are still not comfortable to eat in but we are happy for them to come regardless. It’s nice for people sitting down, good to chat with them.”

Immigrants from the Philippines themselves now many years ago, Ms. Mercurio’s husband and co-owner Judymar came to Canada as a trained chef. They worked for some years in another local Asian restaurant before setting out on their own. To achieve that, they had worked and saved very hard.

Ms. Mercurio’s mother arrived to Canada in 2014 to help with their two children and in the restaurant too. She commented that her mother lives with them and helps with making spring rolls. Her mother still has family, siblings back in Philippines, we were told but “they talk on FaceTime all the time.”

Everything on the menu is made in house. What they do early in the morning is to prepare everything. By the time of opening the restaurant at 11:00 a.m., everything is ready. Understanding how much to prepare comes with having served customers in the same location for seven years. During the week as Ms. Mercurio outlined, it is slower but “during the weekend we’re busier. We already know,” she said. “It’s very easy for us to [anticipate].”

For that knowledge both of them worked in the restaurant business for 10 years. They added some typical Filipino dishes, having a wide experience with their “own food.” She told the Citizen, “People like to try to the food.”

Many new customers come during the summer, many travellers come and one excellent reason for this is the restaurant’s very high rating on Google from 4.6 and up.

She said, “New customer people come and go; sometimes they tell other people coming here. People coming into the country [from the city] like Asian food and so they find us.”

After school the two children come to the restaurant to help inside.

The restaurant is a cozy place. Wooden tables line the walls. Seating is built-in benches against the walls and chairs on the other sides. Green chopsticks, forks and spoons are set as a welcome to everyone. Nice little baskets are filled with sauces one might like to add.

To one side of the restaurant is a single long and raised bench table, with tall stools on either side. It stands ready to invite a crowd of people to enjoy an opportunity to pass the bowls and plates amongst themselves and taste all the flavours.

The menu is a walk through Asia with every dish just as you would remember it from a tour or just as you can imagine a meal in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos or the Philippines would taste. It carries many choices but there are specials on the chalk board and a couple of standards to recommend here. A great many of their dishes are, in their very nature, gluten free and some of them can be created as vegan.

There is pho, the well-known Vietnamese soup with noodles and meat, tiger shrimp or vegetables and tofu. This is a large (even medium is lots to eat) serving of soup that is an inexpensive meal in a bowl. Fragrant, delicious, feel good food. 

Ms. Mercurio is very proud of their “exotic Pad Thai that is RJ’s special.”

She wanted us to be specific to say that they make this dish only when people order it. “That’s why we say our food is very fresh,” she promised.

A dear friend of the family works in a restaurant in Toronto. With her, they shared each other’s recipe and then changed it to the way they like it.

People come the first time to RJ’s Taste of Asia to discover why the Google rating for RJ’s is so high and to know if that is real, after which they become her regulars.

 “You’re here again!”

“Yes we love your food.”

Everything can be take away and the spring rolls are great for snacking or a picnic. All kinds of noodles are likewise really good to take away.

Regie Mercurio wanted to make the point: “We also try to help the environment. Now we start using recycle take away packages. They cost a little more but it’s better for the environment.”

And to say, “We thank the whole community for the whole support they give. I’m so glad we’re still here.”

The Mercurio family are happy with their restaurant.

“We love cooking and serving people as long you’re happy – that’s what matters. People love our food.”

For details and the menu go to

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