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Best fresh bahn mi in town?

I still miss Co Yen on Spadina and haven't found it's equal yet. You guys want to pipe up with your faves. My main disappointments so far have been blah or tough headcheese and sogginess from pre-preparing. Also, often a paucity of the more "refreshing" side - daikon, cilantro, spice, carrot combo.

Also I read a few articles lately about them in the NY press and it seems customary there to toast (?) them. Anyone tried this? I can't figure out yet if that would be a good thing.

Any and all rec's welcome!

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  1. I'm from Calgary and we have a huge Bahn Mi following in town. Its very popular with downtown office folk. They are always toasted unless specified. And usually that is only because you are going to eat it later and will toast it yourself.

    I'd like some good recs as well. I tried a few bahn mi around Toronto and none of them was edible in my opinion, a completely different beast from what I'm used to. They were all small ones similar to the kind you find premade at T&T.

    1 Reply
    1. re: szw

      Ditto, I used to live in Calgary and that's where I first had Bahn Mi...not sure if you went to same spot I did, but there was always a huge lineup, they had four toaster ovens stacked, and the toasting did miracles for flavour.

      I sometimes take them home, and put them under the broiler for a bit.

    2. Rose Café on Broadview makes the best in the city, IMO.
      Get the deluxe - they're always made fresh...

      -----
      Rose Cafe
      324 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON M4M2G9, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: redearth

        2nd this recommendation, very tasty and some of the best I had in the city, also the spring rolls I have had from here in the past have also been super super tasty.

        I often find in china town all the sandwiches taste the same, and nothing stands out to me, or can compare to Rose's

      2. Curious to hear which is the best on the Spadina strip!

        1 Reply
        1. re: JonasBrand

          I'm also a fan of Rose Cafe, which redearth mentioned. When I'm on Spadina (yesterday, for example), I get the bahn mi at Ngyuen Hong, just a couple of shops away from where Co Yuen used to be, I think. They literally have an assembly line going, they sell so many sandwiches. The one that I had yesterday was very good--lots of carrots especially.
          I also tried for the first time, a 'pate chaud', I think that's what it's called. It's a round pastry containing a pate-like (like pate de campagne) meat mixture. Very tasty.

        2. I used to live in NY and truly miss the Banh Mi there. All of the Banh Mi I liked there came toasted. Saigon, Nicky's, and Sau Voi, where my favorites by far. Trust me, toasted is practically the only way I will eat them.

          That said, the only thing that comes close in Toronto is like others have said, Rose Cafe. It's unfortunate cause Rose Cafe comes about as close to real Banh Mi as Okonomi House comes to real Okonomi but it's good for a fix.

          If you want a really good one I honestly would suggest that you make it at home. It's really easy and will no doubt taste 100x better.

          1. my favourite has always been nguyen huong. i like the simple versions with the cold cuts (no need for bbq pork for me) and much prefer it over the rose cafe one. they sell so many that you can get a fresh one easily as long as it's not the end of the day where they stock pile a few before shutting down for the night. i find their overall balance of ingredients to be best though i do sometimes ask for extra cilantro.

            if i am not intending to eat them immediately i will toast them just before chowing down at home. sometimes i take a couple to work as afternoon snacks and toast them up a bit straight out of the fridge. absolutely wonderful.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              Thanks for all the feedback sub-luvahs! I have been to Nguyen Huong since Co Yen closed and I think they're pretty good. I guess I'll just hafta ask for extra daikon and cilantro next time.

              Did someone here infer that Rose's are toasted? I think the buns are so lovely and fresh that they wouldn't need toasting. Unless that's why they toast them....

              1. re: Sui_Mai

                Rose doesn't toast.

            2. My favorite place is Ba Le 2 on Dundas, a short walk west from the intersection with Spadina (it's next to Chinese Traditional Buns). I always get their BBQ pork sandwiches. They're toasted and they always put a lot of that tasty buttery sauce.