Archive

Meals

IMG_2242

This is the second of a series of eating east Asian cuisine in Toronto by flashbracket.

Banh Mi Boys
Location Reviewed:
399 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M5B 1S9
(416) 977-0303
www.banhmiboys.com

During the past few visits to Toronto I would make my way to Banh Mi Boys. Their Yonge street location, south of College, is just around the corner from where I often stay and I first stepped foot into the busy eatery when I met up with a friend for lunch. I had been hearing about this place for a while now but hadn’t thought much of it. I love banh mi, the Vietnamese sandwich on a French baguette, and the thought of leaving Chinatown and paying more than four dollars for this half-foot sandwich seemed ridiculous to me. I would had never guessed that my dreams of eating dirty fast food would somehow become fulfilled from eating non-greasy Asian fusion grub in a sleek and trendy setting.

SAM_1662

The Yonge street location store front. Top Photo: Clockwise from top left – Five Spice Pork Belly Banh Mi, Tofu Fries, Tofu Taco, Panko Tofu Steamed Bao.

Read More

Advertisements

SAM_2163

This is the first of a series of eating east Asian cuisine in Toronto by flashbracket.

Kingyo Toronto
51B Winchester Street
Toronto, ON M4X 1R7
(647) 748-2121
www.kingyotoronto.ca

Where do I start with Kingyo? In a market full of excellent east Asian cuisine — Toronto that is, and definitely not Montréal — I often feel a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the great restaurants serving Chinese dim sum, Korean barbecue, and Japanese ramen. I travel back to my hometown of Toronto whenever I can, and each time I’m back in town my family and friends are holding a list of places that we need to try, or restaurants they really want to go back to and know that I would be down for some good eats. Kingyo, a Vancouver inception, opened their Toronto outpost at the end of 2012 but I only made my way over to its Cabbagetown location earlier this year. So I am about a year late in the game. But I am glad that, since my first visit, I kept coming back to this restaurant serving Japanese bar food just about every time I was back in Hogtown. And every time I’m back on the train headed to Montréal I still think about my favourite meals and Kingyo is always one of them.

SAM_2160

Read More

SAM_1519

Happy Lunar New Year! The new year according to the lunar calendar is also known as “Chinese New Year” for those of us in English-speaking countries. Koreans, just like the Chinese, traditionally followed the lunar calendar before adopting the Gregorian calendar of the west, so we Koreans refer to the same horoscopes as the Chinese. For 2014, we celebrate the Year of the Horse, and apparently it is the year of the “Blue Horse” for this cycle. According to the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the Blue Horse, unlike a regular horse horoscope character, comes around every 60 years. This is just as unique as the two other “special” horoscopes that I am aware of — The Golden Pig, which happens to be my dad, and the White Horse, which happens to be my sister.

The Lunar New Year is a very big event in Korea; it is considered the most important holiday of all, besides Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving in the fall. And holidays in Korea mean family and food, not unlike the celebratory traditions of many other cultures. So what does my family do? We make a feast. But what do Korean people make at home to feed a crowd? I am the kind of person who asks my friends from non-Anglo-Saxon backgrounds what their families make at home, so I thought others may be interested in what the dinner table looks like for Korean-Canadian families. So here it is.

SAM_1526

“Kalbi” or barbecue short ribs

Read More

SAM_1326

La Maison Kam Fung
1111 rue Saint-Urbain
Montréal, Québec H2Z 1Y6
(514) 878-2888
www.restaurantlamaisonkamfung.com

It’s been a bit of an ethnic food extravaganza here in Montréal as after stopping by Bombay Mahal, I went for a Sunday dim sum brunch in Chinatown. My friend and acquaintances included those who were new to the arena of dim sum and also not very big eaters of Asian food in general. So bringing an older European couple to a Sunday brunch nary of waffles and eggs was a gamble, but I think the meal went over well and we found new fans of Chinese breakfast.

Dim sum isn’t a big weekend brunch go-to here in Montréal as it was as I was growing up in Toronto. As a child my family, like many other Asian families, would arrange these Sunday meals with other family friends at our favourite spots, first hitting downtown restaurants but later heading out to the suburbs. (As it happens, with time the Hong Kong immigrants settled in places like Markham, leaving much of downtown Toronto Chinatown in the hands of mainland Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.) Our party would number about twelve in total — three families of four — and like a hoard of Asian bus tour bangers, we would convene on the chosen spot and feed on a very heavy breakfast.

SAM_1323

Read More

IMG_1145

Bombay Mahal
1001 rue Jean Talon Ouest
Montréal, Québec H3N 1T2
(514) 273-3331
www.restaurantbombaymahal.ca

I complain too much about the mediocrity of ethnic food here in Montréal. But I shouldn’t complain about this when most of the food offered in the city is so good, right? I mean, we have so much good bread, amazing French food, an abundance of maple syrup, and all the cheese that you can only wish for outside of Europe.

So when I start complaining about food in Montréal I know my friends back home in Toronto are just rolling their eyes. I get it, I do. You yearn for what you don’t have. The grass is greener on the other side. Yada yada. But when you grow up with good Indian food everywhere, and for mere pennies really, then you move almost 600 kilometres away and keep running into crappy Indian food…it’s disconcerting. It’s sad.

SAM_1301

Read More

IMG_0891

Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins
4807 St Laurent Blvd.
Montréal, Québec H2T 1R6
(514) 844-8467
www.comptoircharcuteriesetvins.ca

Montréal does food well. There is a reason Anthony Bourdain has a love affair with this city and its chefs, and poutine is the fast food darling du jour. My American relatives wax on about flying in to eat foie gras, nevermind dropping by Toronto to see my dad. And yes, I agree that the gourmet experience is excellent here despite my common complaints that Asian food in Montréal generally sucks and how difficult it can be to find vegetarian food.

But of course, I get to eat the best baguettes my heart desires, and am spoiled with various boulangeries (bakeries) and patisseries (pastry shops) in my francophone neighbourhood. All I have to do is walk around the corner to get to the neighbourhood fromagerie (cheese shop), and a charcuterie (preserved meat shop) is just on the other side of the street. Not to mention a poutine spot at my disposal that features the aptly named poutine, Le Vladmir (after the Russian President Vladimi Putin — get it?).

IMG_0893

Read More

SAM_0729

Olive+Gourmando
351 Rue Saint Paul Ouest (at rue St-Pierre)
Montréal, QC H2Y 2A7
(514) 350-1083
www.oliveetgourmando.com

Long before I moved to Montréal, one of my earliest memories of visiting the city was when my family I rode on one of the horse-drawn carriages in the Old Port (Vieux-Port or Vieux-Montréal in French). I was about seven years, had my hair fashioned up in pigtails, and clutched my favourite stuffed animals along the cobblestone streets, making for a bumpy and rugged carriage ride. I also remember thinking the buildings looked funny because they were unlike anything I had seen in Toronto with their grey stones and lofty windows that lined the narrow roads. And after my first encounter with baguettes, I fell in love with the assortment of these heavenly carbs at my disposal in this strange French-speaking land.

SAM_0726

Two decades later, I relocated from Anglophone Canada to the French Canadian province of Québec, and I found myself feel a natural pull to the Old Port from my downtown apartment. I rediscovered this historic neighbourhood and became hooked on the bakery and café called Olive+Gourmando (“Olive et Gourmando”), a sister business to the very successful restaurant Toqué! I had done some online sleuthing and figured out that Olive+Gourmando was a place to visit for breakfast fare, sandwiches, and baked goods. Well I love breakfast, sandwiches, and baked goods so I made a beeline to this café, only to be met with long lineups at all hours of operation.

Read More