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Not Pho

airsey Jan 8, 2009 10:41 AM

I've been trying to venture outside of the Pho realm in the Vietnamese restaurants near my house. My latest fave is the bun bo hue from Pho Phuong Hoang at Dundas 1 block west of Dufferin. Delicious!

What would you recommend and where could I get it? I'm aware of places in the east end like Hanoi 3 Seasons and Mimis and such but what of good Vietnamese that's NOT Pho in the west end?


  1. a
    airsey Jan 9, 2009 12:30 PM

    Thanks for all the responses. I am going to have to print out this thread next time I go so I remember what to order! I will report back on my findings.... one dish at at time.

    1. scarletsoleil Jan 8, 2009 08:29 PM

      Being Vietnamese myself, I would have to say the last thing I eat at a Vietnamese restaurant is always pho (home made is much much better).

      Soup/broth picks:

      bun moc (vermicelli & processed meatballs in a sense (depends on how they shape the meat)

      bun rieu (vermicelli & tofu & tomato & clumps of imitation crab meat & shrimp paste)

      hu tieu nam vang (assortment of toppings *noticeably the shrimp & batter topping* - you can order this w/ the broth or the broth in a separate bowl)

      canh chua: YUM. this is a favourite (pineapples, okra, fish) it's a bit tart & sour & sweet. it is greatly accompanied by 'ca kho to' - fish stew? sorry, I can't translate it quite eloquently. it's basically fish in a clay pot. so you can have the canh chua & ca kho to with rice.

      these dishes are all pretty good at Bun Saigon (Spadina/Dundas) & anywhere really... you can't really make them wrong.. okay I take that back, the hu tieu nam vang can be made very badly sometimes (I once had pho noodles, basically it was dried pho..it was so WRONG!)

      Back to pho though, I just went to eat (well I didn't order it but I had some) at Pho Bo To at 1634 Lawrence Ave. West #4-5 and the place was nice for a Viet restaurant. As soon as you step in the aroma of the pho pot from the back of the kitchen fills the air..and it's so divine. the milkshakes are too expensive though ($3.50! the jackfruit shake was watered down)

      sorry for ranting for so long!

      1 Reply
      1. re: scarletsoleil
        scarletsoleil Jan 8, 2009 08:36 PM

        I totally forgot one dish that I love! Banh cuon - it's kind of like a crepe in a sense but the batter is very different. you can have it just so or with meat (beef & dried mushrooms) w/ fish sauce dipping - this is the best on St. Clair - I believe the rest. is named Pho Ga St. Clair (keele & st. clair)

      2. t
        Tatai Jan 8, 2009 07:29 PM

        One of my favourite Vietnamese meals is Banh Hoi (at least I think that's what it's called), which consists of assorted varieties of grilled beef (some made from ground beef, some with beef strips, some wrapped in lalot leaf, etc.) accompanied by a platter of fresh and pickled vegetables and vermicelli. You then take some beef along with some of the other ingredients and wrap them up in the moistened rice paper that is served alongside. There is a peanut/hoisin sauce for dipping.

        The best place I've found for this is Anh Dao, on the east side of Spadina just north of Baldwin.

        1. y
          yoyodyne Jan 8, 2009 02:58 PM

          this star article was linked to in another thread but it's worth repeating since it offers a whack of vietnamese options outside of just pho and tells you where to get superior, tasty versions as well:


          5 Replies
          1. re: yoyodyne
            julesrules Jan 9, 2009 06:55 AM

            Thanks for the article. There used to be these rolls that came as part of an app platter at Saigon Sister that I loved, I think they were in la lot leaves as they describe as part of the Bo 7 mon. What do I look for on a menu if I want la lot wraps? I am headed to Anh Dao for a low-budget birthday meal and I want to try some new items.

            1. re: julesrules
              Tatai Jan 9, 2009 08:46 AM

              I think Anh Dao might refer to them as beef wrapped in leaves (I've never seen the word "lalot" on their menu) or something similar. They also offer a platter of a variety of the grilled beef offerings.

              1. re: Tatai
                julesrules Jan 10, 2009 07:02 AM

                Anybody know if Anh Dao is open late Saturday night? I won't be able to make it until after a movie, probably 9:30 or so. Or other suggestions for later evening vietnamese on Spadina?

                1. re: julesrules
                  Tatai Jan 10, 2009 10:11 AM

                  We drove by last Saturday night at around 9:30 (after a movie) and they were definitely open. We ended up at Lobster King. Should have gone to Anh Dao instead.

              2. re: julesrules
                retsnome85 Jan 9, 2009 01:30 PM

                in viet you would look for "bo la lot"

            2. a
              airsey Jan 8, 2009 01:00 PM

              That doesn't sound too appetizing!

              I have tried Banh Xeo once at PHO PHUONG on Dundas but I wasn't a fan of the shelled shrimp. I know that's the way they do it but I still find it gross picking the shrimp out of the shell.

              I will try it again though because I also didn't like bun bo hue the first time I tried.

              4 Replies
              1. re: airsey
                Pigurd Jan 8, 2009 07:36 PM

                i dont remember having any shelled shrimp in it.. it was nice and crunchy.. hmm how come my previous reply was missing? too many spelling mistakes? haha...

                1. re: airsey
                  pinstripeprincess Jan 9, 2009 06:37 AM

                  the shelled shrimp in the actual crepe or in the cupcake type things they give you?? i'm pretty sure it's only got shell on for the cake things.

                  just eat it with the shell on! more calcium and great crunch. it's deep fried anyway and breaks up into pieces relatively easily.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess
                    airsey Jan 9, 2009 12:22 PM

                    oh. i didn't know you could eat the shell! ha. i will try it again. it was IN the actual crepe.

                    1. re: airsey
                      pinstripeprincess Jan 12, 2009 06:41 AM

                      interesting...i'm not entirely the sure the shell on the shrimp in the crepe then would be as nicely cooked as with the cup cake type item because they deep fry those.

                      but on that note, i just eat the whole crepe with no attention to shell or no shell and haven't had any issues. it might take a little getting used to but i quite like it.

                2. a
                  Arcadiaseeker Jan 8, 2009 11:29 AM

                  Has anyone tried that pho place on St. Clair just west of Christie? I went in there for lunch one day but could find no one working there so I left after 10 minutes of standing around (it was a bit weird!). Have not been there since but have heard it is good and want to know if I should give it another try!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Arcadiaseeker
                    Tatai Jan 8, 2009 06:23 PM

                    I had dinner there once a number of months ago. It was okay, but nothing special.

                  2. l
                    LTL Jan 8, 2009 11:18 AM

                    Have you tried Pho Phuong just east of the corner of Dundas and Brock? They have some great "broken rice" dishes with various grilled meats, chicken being my favourite. They also have various noodle soup dishes that aren't pho including bun bo hue, hu thieu my tho (seafood with flat rice noodles in broth) and more.

                    Pho Phuong
                    1603 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K1T9, CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: LTL
                      Dimbulb Jan 8, 2009 11:24 AM

                      Read the OP again.

                      1. re: Dimbulb
                        yoyodyne Jan 8, 2009 11:36 AM

                        They're actually two different places.

                        1. re: yoyodyne
                          yoyodyne Jan 8, 2009 11:39 AM

                          here's the link for the resto mentioned in the OP.

                          Pho Phuong Hoang
                          1153 College St, Toronto, ON M6H1B5, CA

                          1. re: yoyodyne
                            Dimbulb Jan 8, 2009 11:42 AM

                            My mistake. The OP mentions Pho Phuong on Dundas.

                            1. re: Dimbulb
                              airsey Jan 8, 2009 12:58 PM

                              Oh my. I've gone and screwed things up!

                              What I MEANT was Pho Phuong Hoang on COLLEGE at SHERIDAN. Sorry for the confusion because YES there is also Pho PHUONG on Dundas. Sorry!

                    2. y
                      yoyodyne Jan 8, 2009 11:08 AM

                      Just last week I had the Bun Oc at Bun Saigon and if you're okay with snails it's a fantastic dish!

                      Bun Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant
                      252 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2C2, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: yoyodyne
                        Tatai Jan 8, 2009 07:09 PM

                        One of my favourite Vietnamese meals is Banh Hoi (I think that's what it's called), which is an assortment of different varieties of grilled beef (some of which is sliced, some ground, some wrapped in leaves, etc.) that one wraps up with the accompanying vermicelli and pickled and raw vegetables in rice paper.

                        The best place I've found for this is Anh Dao, a tiny place on the east side of Spadina just north of Baldwin.

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