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Banh Mi Boys

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  • ggom1 Dec 13, 2011 11:16 AM

Back from lunch! Figured it's worth starting a new thread for this place since they have Korean tacos.

Five spice pork belly banh mi and a kalbi beef taco, split between me and a friend. We both definitely preferred the Korean taco - I think it was $3.99 for one decent-sized taco. Loved that they don't use a normal taco, it's more like one of those Chinese pancakes? The banh mi was $5.99 - it was good, but not as exciting (seems a bit bigger than a Chinatown bahn mi?). I'm definitely going back to try more of the menu. I feel it's slightly pricey but the food is interesting and we liked what we had. I'm not sure how often I'd get banh mi from them since there's a lot of options for banh mi, but I am for sure going back for tacos! From what I remember, the beef taco had kalbi, red bean paste, cabbage, jalapeno and another type of sauce on it.

They were at the downtown T&T night market a couple months ago, so people may have tried their food already. They also sell steamed buns (those little sandwich ones).

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  1. And a photo of the grilled pork banh mi! They are bigger than the Chinatown offerings and more generous, I find. And, no mystery meat.
    Look forward to trying the rest of the stuff!

     
    2 Replies
    1. re: jlunar

      No mystery meat?? What good is that??

      DT

      1. re: Davwud

        +1

    2. Location please?

      2 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate

        392 Queen Street West. West of Spadina, North side.

        1. re: peppermint pate

          Shopfront!

           
        2. Is there seating in the restaurant?

          2 Replies
          1. re: jennjen18

            Yep, but not a lot. Maybe 12-15 people?

            1. re: jlunar

              Thanks for the reply, but we went before seeing it.. ! I actually appreciated the fact that they didnt crowd their tables.. cuz they could easily fit a table right in the middle too.

          2. Went last night! Snagged the last 5-spice pork belly banh mi and was I ever glad! Out of the three that I tried (banh mi's), the pork belly was BEST! The chunks were a good size -- meaty, flavourful, and fatty.. The bun was super good. As everyone's been saying, they have a good crunch from the crust on top, but the bread itself is quite soft. I love that they toast it to make it warm.

            Also had the spicy beef .. though I'd say it's not spicy at all. However, I like the meat itself -- reminds me of the cooked beef in pho (as opposed to the tough rare beef). It's very brisket-y. I told my chow-partner that I keep on thinking that there'll be cheese, 'coz it totally looks like a philly cheese steak, but the pickled daikon and carrots bring me back to reality.

            We ended it off with a grilled (spicy) pork. This one had its own sauce, and to be honest, is least favourite. I think its 'coz the sauce was overbearing and too drowning.. tho if that's your thing, I think you'll like it. The drip-factor was most on this one due to the sauce, so eat-in for this one too.

            And the toppings were quite good. They put lots of pickled carrots and daikon in (there's the japanese kind too .. the yellow ones, but didnt try), and that gave it the balance it needed. Also good was the mayo and sriracha. Love cilantro, but couldnt really taste it for some reason.

            All in all -- YUM. Please go try it soon if you can!

            1. Went to grab a lunch there with a friend and had the kalbi taco, pork belly banh mi and the grilled pork banh mi. Though not traditional, they were awesome! Taco had a chinese onion pancake type shell and the banh mi's were crunchy, chewy, tasty and spicy wrapped into one. So worth going! ALSO, they have fob drinks like soy milk. So happy there (:

              3 Replies
              1. re: superawesomepossum

                Agreed! Went yesterday with a friend for lunch and we split the kalbi taco, pork belly steamed bao and the tofu banh mi. Favourite for both of us was the kalbi taco. Tempted to return again this week to sample more before they close this weekend for renovations. They said the renos should be done by Feb. Here's hoping they'll add more seating and reconfigure the space a bit so it's easier to weave through the lineups to get out afterwards.

                1. re: fickle

                  I loved the pork belly banh mi but I have to disagree on the korean tacos, the flavour of hoisin sauce overpowered everything and there wasn't a fresh component to the tacos.

                  1. re: Bobby Wham

                    Isn't coriander fresh?

              2. Walked by on Saturday night, they had closed early because they sold out. I can see why they want to do renos eventually as the place didn't look so great physically from the outside. Looking forward to trying the food at some point though!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ylsf

                  It's very tasty and well priced!

                2. had the beef kalbi korean taco and pork belly bao yesterday for lunch. both were great! the pork belly bao reminded me of peking duck in those wraps you get at restaurants.

                  agree with what others say about the design and layout of the place. everyone get's squished against the wall and front door when there's a big lineup. service could be a little faster but then again, everything is prepared fresh to order. i didn't see any meat sitting in warming trays or anything!

                  1. Pretty much echo what others have said. I dropped in at 2pm this week, and even then, there was a 6-person line-up. Had the pork belly banh mi- pretty tasty. My sandwich was huge, and only cost $6.

                    The way they have structured the ordering and paying process is not great. Almost every person ahead of me in line had to remind various staff people what they were having. It was obvious that several people's orders had been missed or forgotten. I'll chalk it up to growing pains.

                    Their menu is more expensive than the older Viet places up on Dundas, but a little edgier and quite good.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Marumari

                      I'm pretty sure the guys who run Banh Mi Boys also own at least one of the Vietnamese banh mi shops in Chinatown.

                      1. re: baabaablacksheep

                        i think they tweeted last week that they'll be closing as of the 15th for renovations...if you guys enjoy the food, make sure you get more before they close!

                        1. re: baabaablacksheep

                          It appears to be owned by the same family that owns Nguyen Huong, the banh mi place on Spadina north of Dundas. (It's the one with the yellow sign.) Their lemongrass tofu banh mi has long been a favourite of mine, and at just a toonie each, tax included, one of the best deals in the city IMO. I haven't tried the Banh Mi Boys version yet. I'm willing to give it a try, but at triple the price it's going to have to be pretty awesome.

                          1. re: 5secondrule

                            i had the tofu one the other day. it was good but not worth 100% markup.. for that, it has to be DAMN GOOD. what made it good was that it was hot.. but i like to heat my $2.50 (for the large) chinatown banh mi in the oven at home anyway and get that hot and slightly crispy thing going on for half the price. as for the carrots, cilantro, etc./ fillings.. same as any regular cheap banh mi shop. the difference between their lemongrass tofu and the nguyen huong one is that banh mi boys' has bigger chunks of soft fried tofu but less flavourful than nguyen huong.

                            i won't fork over that much again when i can go down to their family's shop on spadina a few blocks away and get one for way cheaper. i will try some of their other items though (the bao and tacos.. the kimchi fries sound unappealing to me) because they are at least different.

                            and to all those raving about the bread.. it's the same bread their family's shop (nguyen huong) also has cuz they make it in house at the family bakery or whatever.

                        2. re: Marumari

                          Their whole set up will change after their reno, from what I understand. They're moving the cooking to the back of the store!

                        3. Back in business. WOW!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: justsayn

                            Yeah, I walked by it the other day, it wasn't open yet but looking through the front door I was impressed by what they had going on. Looked night and day from what it was like before (I only saw it from the window last time as well).

                            Going to try to hit it up soon.

                          2. Their website does not have a menu. Does anyone know if they have any sandwiches and/or tacos with chicken fillings?

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: kwass

                              Banh MI sandwiches, Tacos and Steamed Bao sandwiches.

                              Many fillings - everything is covered including veggie.

                              1. re: justsayn

                                Oh that's awesome!

                                1. re: kwass

                                  http://www.foodwithlegs.com/banh-mi-b...

                                  here's a link to a blog post with a pic of their menu and prices!

                                  1. re: c_snapper

                                    Duck Confit banh mi? I'll be there...

                                    1. re: Teep

                                      OK had the duck, a good portion of meat, however too salty for me and on the dry side. As for the squid taco, was disappointed by only about 4 squid rings in it but the squid taste comes through.

                                      The one thing I really don't like is the lack of ventilation. It's so smoky in there. Hopefully in the summer they'll open the door.

                                      1. re: Teep

                                        So, I went one day to Banh mi, and would agree, the ventilation was definitely lacking. I was standing there hacking, and wondering how the guys working there were tolerating it. So, I go in the other day, and the difference is like night and day. The air was cool, and fresh, and a thousand times better. I asked them about it, and they said they had been having issues with their exhaust from the start, but they shut the whole place down for a day and fixed it.

                                        I was relieved!

                            2. The reno is nice - even when it gets super busy at lunch, the flow of people is a lot better than the previous setup. I think there's a few new menu items from before? I don't remember the squid, duck confit or kimchi fries.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ggom1

                                there's been several additions to the menu yeah. i ate there twice this week and i'm not ashamed. tried the squid and beef cheek banh mi, before i had only had the pork belly. not 100% sold on the squid, but i had let it sit for 30+ mins in my bag before i got to eat it. probably good fresh and hot. the beef cheek on the other hand was GREAT. i also can't rave enough about the kalbi beef taco. i wish i was paying 2.99 instead of 3.99 but even that's a small quibble for something that is so incredibly delicious.

                                this place kills

                              2. Tried it out today ..went at around 11 to avoid the crowd....ordered the Beef Cheek Bao and pork Belly Bao....They were nice but did not blow me away.....the pork belly infact lacked salt completely...
                                Will I order them again?...not sure....
                                Next time I'm going to try the tacos and the kimchi fries.....

                                 
                                2 Replies
                                1. re: warlock

                                  I also went today (for the first time).

                                  Got the meatball banh mi and beef cheek bao.

                                  The meatball banh mi was absolutely delicious. Wow.

                                  Beef cheek bao was totally delicious too, but I think I might dream about the meatball banh mi.

                                  It was busy as $hit today but I lucked out and got a seat. Def doing back.

                                  They accept debit/credit too!

                                  1. re: magic

                                    My gf and I popped in there today before a hot doc for lunch. There were maybe 6-7 people in line ahead of us. We ordered a pulled pork taco, a pulled pork steamed bun and we had just come from the gym so I threw beef cheek steamed bun on the order as well. In addition she got fries and a pop. Came to 16 bucks which was a good value considering the quality. The beef cheek bun was awesome. I'm a huge fan of beef cheeks and it was cooked well and the buns a perfect little pillowy delight. The pulled pork was also fantastic with a noticeable smoke flavour and seasoning that went well with the toppings. Overall, really, really tasty at a good price. We're headed out to another doc tonight and my gf is trying to talk me into going back there for dinner.

                                2. Just wanted to update:

                                  - Kimchi fries (smoked pulled pork, kimchi, some mayo, on fries. TASTY)
                                  - Jicama salad (lightly pickled carrots, fresh-tasting, with hoisin/peanut sauce)

                                  Banh Mi still good. Need to try their squid taco.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: jlunar

                                    My lunch was so good I almost wept when finished. It's all been said in previous posts.
                                    P.S. Thanks, Chowhounders for the tip. We're moving back to the USA next month. I love your city. Toronto, keep on keeping on.. your city is gold.

                                     
                                    1. re: letrell

                                      where in the US are you moving? banh mi is pretty readily available these days.

                                    2. re: jlunar

                                      Squid taco - a little chewy, but tasty!

                                      1. re: jlunar

                                        Those Kimchi fries are one of my current favourite guilty pleaasres in the entire city. It's sort of a spin on poutine.

                                        The fried chicken bun is also particularly awesome.

                                        1. re: abigllama

                                          I'm going tomorrow for the 1st time. Could you tell me about the Kimchi fries.

                                          1. re: kwass

                                            OMG, I *love* the kimchi fries. French fries with pulled pork, scallions, kimchi and some sort of creamy sauce (can't recall what it is -- mayo? sour cream? crema?). It sounds weird, but there is just something perfect about the combination of textures and flavours.

                                            1. re: kwass

                                              from: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2012/09/05/ki... (there's a photo for reference

                                              )

                                              Kimchi fries at Banh Mi Boys have become a bit of a habit. At first mention you may protest at the combination, but smoky pulled pork combined with the distinctive vinegary tang of mild kimchi will win you over. Topped with a creamy mayo (kewpie?) and scallions.

                                              Note: their containers have since changed to the black/clear plastic take-away kind. It felt smaller when I was eating. Mostly because I finished it (and a papaya salad!), but I was also very hungry that day.

                                              My faves are: kimchi fries, jicama papaya salad, and the squid taco.

                                              ---
                                              http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                                              1. re: jlunar

                                                just polished off a container of the kimchi fries based on recs from this board, was not disappointed. mine were served in the black container and i thought it to be a pretty decent portion for the price. they didn't skimp on the toppings either. strange part is i didn't particularly care for the kimchi on it's own but in combination with the other toppings it made for a surprisingly good lunch

                                                1. re: jlunar

                                                  Well, I finally made it to Banh Mi Boys today, and I was really impressed. It was so yummy! I had the grilled chicken taco and the fried chicken steamed bao. The fried chicken steamed bao wasn't bad, but the grilled chicken taco was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I was too full to try the kimchi fries, so I will get them next week when I go back.

                                              2. re: abigllama

                                                i saw that they now have a vegetarian version of kimchi fries so i am excited to try that!

                                                1. re: helenhelen

                                                  That's actually what I want to try too. Going back on Monday, so I'll let everyone know how they are.

                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                    It's really good, I like the tofu they use in the veggie version. Totally worth ordering.

                                            2. Bahn Mi Boys opening up a spot in the Eaton Centre according to Chris Nuttall-Smith. Hey, Eaton Centre management, if you're reading this: I'll be there more often!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: childofthestorm

                                                Wow, that is great news. Wonder if the pricing will stay the same?

                                                I saw Bahn Mi Boy's tweet looking for more staff. That is probably related to this because it was kind of a cryptic message.

                                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                                  Damn...they are going to kill it there. Good idea Eaton Centre, more of this, less of KFC.

                                                  1. re: themiguel

                                                    i don't know about that...BMB could learn something from KFC. just think about a Pork Belly/Beef Cheek Double Down...

                                                    1. re: downtownfoodie

                                                      lol

                                                  2. re: childofthestorm

                                                    So Bahn mi Boys have posted on twitter that no deal has been signed yet with Eaton Center...but it looks like they are looking at the Yonge and Dundas area....This is their tweet
                                                    "We want to inform everyone that we have been looking for locations at Yonge and Dundas but no deal has been made to be in the Urban Eatery "

                                                  3. Man, I love this place. I've been working my way through the menu - tried the fried chicken bao the other day. Delish. I think I've now tried most of the banh mi and bao - no tacos yet. Love the kimchi fries (a dish to be shared with at least one other, IMO) and the jicama/papaya salad is pretty good too. I like the portion sizes, the fresh flavours and they are a well-oiled operation - even when the line is halfway to the door, it's never that long a wait. Excited to hear they're adding another location - would selfishly love them to move a bit uptown, though they're definitely drive-worthy.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: peppermint pate

                                                      I had the fried chicken bao on Monday, but wasn't crazy about it. I found it to be just meh. But, the tacos...OMG...you have to try them. I had the grilled chicken taco, and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten!!

                                                      1. re: peppermint pate

                                                        Be warned the tacos are almost double the size of the bao. Super good and agree with Kwass the grilled chicken taco is killer.

                                                      2. The kimchi fries remind me somewhat of the Spanish fires at Origin. Neither are completely original ideas but with the improvements in quality of fast food, fine dining is going to have to step up their game to justify charging twice the price.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: dubchild

                                                          AGREE!

                                                          1. re: dubchild

                                                            Finally tried the kimchi fries, the veggie version, and OMG, they were absolutely delicious!!

                                                            1. re: kwass

                                                              tried them as well. the tofu was not necessary as it added nothing to the dish, but everything else on it was great (including the brown sauce the tofu is bathed in). yum!

                                                              1. re: helenhelen

                                                                And I thought the tofu was one of the best parts of the dish.

                                                          2. Hoping to hit this place for lunch today.

                                                            Kimchi Fries and Pork Belly Bahn Mi I think.

                                                            DT

                                                            24 Replies
                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                              Squid taco and fried chicken taco, too!

                                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                My suggestion is the grilled chicken taco! You'll be glad you did! Can't wait to hear about your experience!

                                                                1. re: kwass

                                                                  I checked out the (grilled - no fried option) chicken taco on the weekend. I liked the taco itself and the flavour was very good BUT for me, it was a bit saucy/wet. The fried chicken bao still has a bit more textural contrast and interest for me - you need to add the spicy sauce to kick up the flavour but it's still the one I crave more. Still need to try the squid taco. So Davwud, your order is good but my rec would be to throw in a spicy fried chicken bao for dessert!

                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                    Duely noted. I do love sauce so the chicken taco may play right into my wheelhouse.

                                                                    DT

                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                      Then get the grilled chicken taco as well! C'mon, if jlunar can try a burger with blue goop on it for the sake of a good CH report, the least you can do is sample the full range of Banh Mi's delectable offerings.

                                                                      1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                        blue goop!!

                                                                        1. re: jlunar

                                                                          I mistakenly read that, blue poop.

                                                                          DT

                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            Well, it's not *that* bad.

                                                                      2. re: Davwud

                                                                        I tried both the grilled chicken taco and pulled pork taco this past weekend.

                                                                        The grilled chicken was certainly good, but to me at least the pulled pork was the clear winner. It seemed smoked! Do they have a smoker?? Pulled pork taco was excellent. Veggie kim chi fries were great. Tofu rocked. Fries were killer. Great sauces and flavours.

                                                                        For me though, my go-to is still the meatball banh mi. Heaven.

                                                                        1. re: magic

                                                                          Weren't the fries fantastic! The tofu, in my opinion was the best part. But I also loved that the sauce and the kimchi didn't make the fries soggy. The fries remained crispy underneath all of the toppings.

                                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                                            Personally, I love soggy fries, but yeah the fries did hold a nice texture. They were delish.

                                                                          2. re: magic

                                                                            They sure do have a smoker. I inspected a piece of pulled pork from my fries the other day and there was no question. Today I asked if they were doing the smoking themselves and they showed me the smoker. It's right beside the entry to the BOH.

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              Yeah I was totally surprised. There's no mention that it's house-smoked. Seems that I'd want to promote that! But maybe that's just me.

                                                                              Not only was it smoked, it was beautifully done. Some of the best I've had.

                                                                              Really took me by surprise.

                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                Whole heartedly agree.

                                                                                DT

                                                                        2. re: peppermint pate

                                                                          And in reply to pp, That's what I loved most about the grilled chicken taco...how saucy it was.

                                                                      3. re: TorontoJo

                                                                        Each and every time I'm at that intersection I have to stop myself from getting a squid taco. If I ate them as often as I would like, I'd be 400lbs for sure!

                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                          fried chicken bao rules all! it amazes me how consistently moist and crisp it is and that places who do fried chicken as a mean feature can't even get that right. nom nom nom.

                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                            Can you tell me which places offer fried chicken as a "mean" feature??

                                                                            ;~{)

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              main

                                                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                              Sigh...so yummy. So far away...

                                                                              And yes Davwud, you will have to try at least one bao next trip so that you can decide which of the carb wraps you like the best.

                                                                              To give yourself a break from all the carby and meaty deliciousness, also try the papaya and jicama salad. Really bright and refreshing.

                                                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                I was thinking of that today. I may go with that and the Fried Chicken Bao. I'd still have to figure out how to stuff the squid taco down my throat as well.

                                                                                DT

                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  Jicama salad so good.

                                                                              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                Yes - fried chicken bao (with hot sauce) for the win! Fried chicken bao + kimchi fries + papaya/jicama salad - oh yeah...

                                                                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                                  that triple combo is my order if i'm very hungry or sharing.

                                                                          2. Okay, so I went with Kimchi Fries, Pork Belly Banh Mi and Grilled Chicken Taco.

                                                                            The Coles Notes version of this is, "Oh dear god that was awesome." I just flat out loved it.

                                                                            In detail, here goes.
                                                                            The Kimchi Fries were great but I have 2 small complaints. First off, the kim chi was cold. By the time I got half way through it had warmed to room temp and I much preferred it. So if I were them, I'd leave it out on the counter to be room temp. Perhaps they do that and since I was there right after they opened it hadn't warmed up yet. Also, I'd like to have seen a touch more pulled pork on them. Not a whole lot more would be needed but it was so good that a bit more would bolster the whole dish I think. Broken down I found that pulled pork to be along with the best I've had anywhere. Certainly smoked. I could tell by the taste profile and the smoke ring on samples I inspected. Also, the fries on their own are some of the best I've had in the city. Home run.
                                                                            Incidentally, a buddy married a Korean girl and her family makes kim chi. Tasted exactly the same.

                                                                            The banh mi was nicely packed with all the requisite goodies. (perhaps someone could enlighten me as to what the orange slices on it were. I forgot to ask) I told the girl to make it (spice level) like she'd have it. She gave me "Hot" and it was perfect. I could handle hotter but this was the right heat level. Enough to light up the taste buds without drowning anything out. The pig tummy was fabulous. I ordered a lot of food so the second half of the sandwich I just ate the meat. Tender, tasty and not overwhelmed with the 5 Spice. Complimented and allowed the porky goodness to shine. 2 run Homer.

                                                                            The chicken taco was the best part of my lunch. I think the tortilla was tasty enough but nicely grilled. The meat was saucy which, as I said above, is right in my wheelhouse. The vegetation on it was a good compliment of taste, temps and textures. Grand Slam.

                                                                            I'm gonna try and get back on Friday for a couple more samples and then will blog about it over the weekend.

                                                                            All y'all nailed it. This is a diamond.

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              I believe the orange slices are pickled daikon in the Japanese style. My guess is they don't make these themselves because of that colouring - they look and taste like ones you get in Sushi joints around town or down the street at Sanko. That said, they go perfectly with the pork belly.

                                                                              We're big fans of this place at my house, especially as this is one of the few places around town that serve vegan friendly food as well as crazy awesome meaty goodness.

                                                                              My one beef with them is that it's difficult to find room to try all the options. I've figured out a good way to take a banh mi home and eat later -

                                                                              When you get home, dissemble the sandwich, taking all the salad components out and store in a container in fridge.

                                                                              Keep the meat in the bun and wrap in tinfoil.

                                                                              When you want to eat it (within 24 hours), throw bun in oven to reheat gently

                                                                              The bun should crisp up again and the interior be warm

                                                                              Add the salad back and you have the contrasting textures and flavours almost as good as when fresh. This method works best with the less messy sandwiches, like the pork belly, as opposed to the beef cheeks or pulled pork, which can be a little mushy due to sauce soaking into bread.

                                                                            2. I went the past Friday for dinner with a few (6) friends. We got a good sampling of what they have. I'll definitely be back as everything was really good and I have yet to try the squid taco (how is it prepared? Grilled/fried?) and the veggie kimchi fries.

                                                                              We got a variety of each of these: (pork) kimchi fries, papaya/jicama salad, pulled pork banh mi, pork belly banh mi, and one more other sandwich; pulled pork bao, fried chicken bao, pulled pork taco, beef cheek taco, maybe a pork belly bao.

                                                                              Anyhow, everything was really good. A few things I noticed. Salad was good, but had very little discernible papaya flavor. Fried chicken bao was my favourite.

                                                                              The wait was definitely not ridiculously long and the whole operation runs smoothly. With seating/tables to boot!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: msprnt

                                                                                The squid taco is deep fried -- very much like calamari. But someone in that kitchen has a deft touch with the fryer, as the fried chicken is also perfect.

                                                                                And agreed, the papaya salad seems to have more jicama than papaya, but it's fresh and crisp and nice light foil to the rest of the deliciousness.

                                                                              2. And today's hits were.

                                                                                Jicima/papaya salad. Very good but nothing all the mind blowing for me. I actually think it would be amazing as a sandwich condiment. It has a lot more going on than do chua.

                                                                                The Fried Chicken Bao was awesome. And that was with me not being all that impressed with Bao. I'd never had it before but wasn't all that fussy about it. I liked it okay, I mean, it's bread, how bad could it be?? The piece of chicken inside was just flat out amazing. Great taste, tenderness and, even though it was breast meat, quite juicy.

                                                                                The Squid Taco was fabulous as well. Jo is right, they have the fryolated arts down.

                                                                                So I'd say that clearly the bread of choice for me is tortilla. Simply the best. Not that I'd turn my nose up at any of the others.

                                                                                DT

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  Glad I'm not the only one who gets sucked into the BMB vortex twice a week.

                                                                                  Glad you enjoyed the fried chicken bao. I agree that the jicama papaya salad isn't wow-ish but I like the way it breaks up the carb experience - sort of like the condiment idea you suggest, only on the side. If you ever see the papaya salad on Khao San Road's menu, try it - so great.

                                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                                    Anyone know if Banh Mi Boys is open on Monday? I tried to call but nobody picked up.

                                                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                                                      Yeah, they are open 7 days a week now. For a while they were closed on Sundays but started doing Sunday hours now.

                                                                                      Hours are up on the website:

                                                                                      http://www.banhmiboys.com/

                                                                                      By chance they may be closed for some other reason but likely just busy when you called.
                                                                                      If they closed for any reason early/etc they are pretty good at updating their twitter with that type of info.

                                                                                      1. re: ylsf

                                                                                        The reason that I was asking was it's a holiday on Monday. A lot of places that are normally open will be closed.

                                                                                2. Finally made it. Verdict: awesome grub. Loved the squid taco. Pulled pork is truly smokey. Kimchi fries a riot of flavor, temp & texture. My least fave was the pork bao which I found simply too sweet, plus the meat seemed almost processed. I ended up regretting my chrysanthemum tea because I'd the sweet flavours in all the food. Plain water next time. But overall - great spot. Toronto needs more unpretentious place with fast service, reasonable prices and great, creative food like this

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                    Sounds great

                                                                                  2. Just saw a couple of blurbs - Banh Mi Boys will be opening their second location at Yonge and Gerard - closer to home for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (happy dance)!

                                                                                    http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story....

                                                                                    http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                                      Great news! Glad they have a confirmed spot now. I don't recall that space being all that big so wonder if they will even have as much seating as their current location.

                                                                                    2. really late to the party, but finally made it to bmb. . .had the pork belly banh mi, the fried chicken bao, and the grilled chicken taco--read all of the previous posts and put together an order that seemed to be a consensus greatest hits. asked the cashier if this was a lot of food, and was told that it was about twice what most people order. . .perhaps if you have a light lunch or aren't really hungry, i'd agree with her, but after i finished, i felt comfortably full.

                                                                                      ok, so the best was the fried chicken bao, hands down. the texture of the chicken was superb, and i think it actually is superior to chang's bao in overall composition and flavour profile. the crunch, the juiciness of the chicken, and the complete package was just right. the bao was thicker than i expected but added substance to the whole bun.

                                                                                      next would be the pork belly banh mi. . .the spicing was just right with the 5 spice, and while i prefer my pork belly to be a little heavier on the belly, less on the pork, it had enough lusciousness to make the sandwich come together. where it stood out was the pickled vegetables, cilantro and salad combination--it was probably the best i've ever had in a banh mi. for a warm meat banh mi, overall it was one of the best, but not better than the crispy pork i had in manhattan. the bread had good crumb and crunch, and matched the best banh mi i've ever had. the meat was probably the weakest link.

                                                                                      the grilled chicken taco was solid, but not specacular. i think i expected more explosive flavour out of the sauce, which i found thin and not particularly impressive. the tortilla--not sure if it was made in house or not--was not any better than what i could buy down the street at la tortilleria in bulk.

                                                                                      overall, a strong meal, and will return to trawl through some other items the next time. as for spicing, maybe i have damaged taste buds, but when the cooks asked for my spiciness, i said 'give it to me as hot as you've got', and i think i walked out of there with only a faint warm feeling in my mouth. . .perhaps that was for the best, so that i could appreciate the flavours better, but i think there was still a lot of room left to amp up the spice before the heat would cause flavour loss. . .

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: afong56

                                                                                        Did you get jalapeno on them? That usually bumps them up.

                                                                                        1. re: MissBingBing

                                                                                          i don't think so. i put myself in their hands, and don't remember tasting them--i would have noticed. i have eaten a lot hotter than jalapeno, but will ask for it next time rather than leaving it up to them. . .

                                                                                          1. re: afong56

                                                                                            They have Thai bird chilies. Ask for those.

                                                                                            1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                              they have 3 levels, mild, medium, hot (jalapeno, sriracha or thai chillies) - my fav is jalapeno + sriracha, good heat and excellent flavour...

                                                                                              1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                                on second blush, had the kimchee fries and beef cheek banh mi yesterday. . .

                                                                                                . . .asked for spicy and got noticeably more heat this time, but still not as potent as i hoped for.

                                                                                                the kimchee fries are like an asian pulled pork poutine--cabbage instead of curds, mayo instead of gravy, and it just works. . .like poutine, i don't think i could eat this regularly--just too heavy. drop the mayo, and maybe, just maybe it could be eaten every other week. but then again, i feel that the mayo kinda makes it.

                                                                                                the beef cheek is nicely braised, with all of the connective tissue dissolved into a delicious mouth feel. actually better than the pork belly, imho, which is a bit on the lean side. i'm also starting to feel that pork belly is played out.

                                                                                              2. re: afong56

                                                                                                Hmm.. Maybe you do have damaged taste buds... I usually just ask for them to put Jalapenos on them because while I like Sriracha sauce I don't like taking away from the other flavours when I am at Banh Mi Boys... I think if you ask it for "Hot" they load up on jalapenos and the sauce and maybe something else too.

                                                                                                The fried chicken bao is still my favourite too. Glad you enjoyed your meal.

                                                                                                BTW, they confirmed on their twitter the other day that they will be opening up there new location on Yonge (as mentioned above) in February.

                                                                                                1. re: ylsf

                                                                                                  I don't find the jalapenos hot at all. I think to get heat you really have to go with the thai/habanero chilies if you're a bit of a hot food person.

                                                                                          2. Yes? Hi! We do the eating at the Banh Mi boys and they used to have the thai chili as the hot one. Now they are using the fresh habanero and they are the nice and spicy!

                                                                                            1. I'm really coming to the discussion late. I finally had an opportunity to try Banh Mi Boys. The place was packed. We had a grilled chicken taco, a grilled pork banh mi, and kimchi fries.

                                                                                              I like them in principal, but in practice found that the food was so overly salty, particularly the taco. The saltiness was coating my mouth, so much so that I really couldn't taste anything else in the taco. The banh mi was much better, perhaps because the bread helped to absorb the saltiness

                                                                                              I'll give them another shot to try other things.

                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: daeira

                                                                                                Sorry to hear about your experience, because I've never found the food to be salty.

                                                                                                1. re: daeira

                                                                                                  Hmn. Maybe a bad day? I've eaten there many, many, times and not had this issue.

                                                                                                  1. re: daeira

                                                                                                    I visited BMB for the first time last Saturday and had the Grilled Pork Banh Mi, hot with jalapenos. Crisp fresh bun (although a little too 'bready'), crunchy fresh veggies, tasty 5spice/hoisin pork, and some wicked heat. Very very good. No over salty issue at all.

                                                                                                    Prefer the more traditional Banh Mi with pâté like the ones at Bahn Mi Que Huong, but BMBs serve up a very good lunch.

                                                                                                    PS LOVE Kimchi, but can't get my head around Kimchi Fries.

                                                                                                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                      You must try the Kimchi Fries...they're unbelievable! I personally like the veggie Kimchi Fries...but either way you have to give them a try!!

                                                                                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                        Kimchi fries soooo good. Next time, do eeeet!! XD

                                                                                                        1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                          I cannot concur enough. They're fabulous.

                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                            I make my own kimchi (it is WAAAAY better than bought) and eat it alot. Even do the David Chang Kimchi and Brussel Sprouts combo which is out of this world (http://www.chow.com/recipes/29507-bru...

                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                            Based on the reqs, I will give those fries a try, but, in your best Captain Kirk voice : It..Just..Seems..So..Weeeird...

                                                                                                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                              The wife doesn't care for kimchi so we don't much have it. I had been getting it from my buddy who married a Korean.

                                                                                                              Anyway, one thing I loved to do was put some pork loin (or chicken) in a slow cooker with kimchi and some liquid (often orange juice) and then serve it over rice. It was excellent.
                                                                                                              At least, I thought so. Mrs. Sippi not so much.

                                                                                                              DT

                                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                Ha ha,

                                                                                                                The first meeting of the TO Kimchi Club will come to order... ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                                  Opening with Kimchi fried rice!? *excited stare*

                                                                                                              2. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                                weird but oh so good... :)

                                                                                                                1. re: helenhelen

                                                                                                                  Yum! Where can you find kimchi fried rice?

                                                                                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                    Not all korean places have it, but many should. I love the rice sticking to the hot stone bowl...

                                                                                                                    1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                                      Good to know. That sounds so yummy. Definitely going to have to try it!

                                                                                                          2. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                                            I don't care much for kimchi but LOVE the kimchi fries. Sounds odd but just try it you'll be addicted. If you like fries with mayo then you'll love this.

                                                                                                            Have noticed in some of the not so thrilling reviews one of the commonalities is the grilled chicken taco. After about a half dozen visits over the last few months, it's probably the weakest of the menu.It wasn't bad but doesn't have much wow factor like the other food does.

                                                                                                            The fried chicken bao is my favourite thing on the menu next to the kimchi fries. Like both the pork kimchi fries and the veggie version and alternate based on what else I'm ordering.

                                                                                                            1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                              Agreed. Grilled chicken taco certainly good but not wow like the other items. Weakest one for me as well.

                                                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                                                That's funny. I liked it best. Of course, I love sauces and a lot of people complained it was too saucy. Which makes it perfect for me.

                                                                                                                DT

                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                  There you go. We're all different :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                    Sorry magic...but I'm with you Davwud!

                                                                                                                2. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                  Also dislike kimchi, also like those fries... it's weird.

                                                                                                                  Or maybe it's just mayo.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mnajji

                                                                                                                    Am I the only one who gets the kimchee fries without the mayo? Try as I might, I'm just not a fan of mayo. So, I can't speak to what they're like with mayo, but I must say that they're fantastic without!

                                                                                                            2. In the battle of the Pork Belly, I found the sandwich by Come And Get It 416 around the corner waaay superior to BMB's offering. With the hot sauce, crispy skin, pickled red onions -- it's a perfect balanced combination.

                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                                I've only just heard about Come and Get it. Is there a menu online?

                                                                                                                1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                  Yes! There's a menu on their website.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                                    http://www.comeandgetit.ca/home.html

                                                                                                                    1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                                      It's weird because Post City featured a fried chicken thigh sandwich from there, but it's not on the menu.

                                                                                                                      Here's the link:

                                                                                                                      http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/E...

                                                                                                                      1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                        That article features a sandwich from a place called "This End Up" - not Come And Get It.

                                                                                                                        :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: magic

                                                                                                                          OMG!! I'm a total idiot! Thanks magic :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                            But hey, menu mystery solved, right?!!

                                                                                                                            ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: magic

                                                                                                                              Just seeing this...2 days later...yes!! Thanks magic :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                Haha, no worries!

                                                                                                              2. Anyone have an update on the second location? I would kill for a squid taco in my work hood!! Not really kill but fully elbow someone out of the way for the last one.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                                                                                  I was told "three weeks" a couple of weeks ago... so "soon" I think! I hope soon, anyway...!

                                                                                                                  1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                                    I too will offer "Soon".

                                                                                                                    DT

                                                                                                                2. Newbie question: I've never had a banh mi sub from anywhere. Is mayo considered a default topping? They don't butter on them, do they?

                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Brain of J

                                                                                                                    mayo is default. keep in mind that dairy isn't a very asian thing so their fat is typically lard/vegetable based.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Brain of J

                                                                                                                      butter yes, mayo, I don't think so. The butter might be a mix of something though. Not entirely sure there.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                                        Mayo is not default on a BM. As J said, butter is.

                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                          i feel like i've been blind then, i don't see butter at the banh mi stations ever. i always see mayo.

                                                                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                            It's been a while however I'm positive at Rose's there's butter on them and I absolutely remember them buttering the bun at DN Vietnamese Sandwiches.

                                                                                                                            DT

                                                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                              Rose's definitely has butter.

                                                                                                                              I always hold on the butter.

                                                                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                Same, the butter is a bit too much for me. I also ask to go easy on the soy sauce that Rose squirts on the veggie tofu banh mi.

                                                                                                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                              ???? Only seen butter at traditional joints.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                                I order veggie banh mi over the mystery meat and I'm always asked if butter is OK.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MissBingBing

                                                                                                                                  Me too! Butter is tasty, but a good veggie bang mi is still yummy without.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Brain of J

                                                                                                                            im with psp on this one.

                                                                                                                            the mayo i think has a higher egg yolk content so it appears yellow like butter. but ive never seen butter. are you guys sure?

                                                                                                                            even the banh mi boys site lists "house mayo" not butter.

                                                                                                                            - khao san road

                                                                                                                            1. re: Brain of J

                                                                                                                              Mayo, not butter.

                                                                                                                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A1...

                                                                                                                              http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

                                                                                                                              http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/del...

                                                                                                                            2. have been a bit frustrated with the food lately. fried chicken bao edges black and the last kimchi fries were more bits than whole pieces and definitely burnt.

                                                                                                                              they were busy, but it's incredibly disappointing.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                                I tried it for the first time last Saturday. I had high expectations. I also had the fried chicken bao and although the edges weren't black it was definitely overcooked and on the dry side. The kimchi fries were good but were also more bits than whole pieces and also some burnt. The place was hopping and I was amazed at their efficiency but maybe it affected the execution of the food.

                                                                                                                              2. New location now open:

                                                                                                                                http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish...

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                  Saw that. Got excited.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mnajji

                                                                                                                                    I went to the new location yesterday with my boyfriend. We ordered Kalbi beef bahn mi, beef cheek steamed bao, and kimchi fries (of course!). We both enjoyed our dinner very much, but felt that the Queen location was better at the cooking of kalbi beef and beef cheek. My beef cheek was a little bit dry (disappointed). Kimchi fries are comparable. The new location is not crowded, considering it was dinner time. All in all, I think they need a little more time to train staffs and what not.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Yq214

                                                                                                                                      I am with you on this one. I went there yesterday as well and ordered the kalbi beef taco but one could tell that the staff need more training; mine was very skimpy in terms of toppings and the taste overall was disappointing compared to the Queen location. I'll give it more time and try it again later.

                                                                                                                                      Btw, this location is a little more spacious and they have two cash registers, but I'm not exactly sure how that will speed things up, since the orders go in much faster than the menu items can be produced. I can see the line up to order move more quickly but being transferred over into the waiting line as the cooking space is still about the same size as the one on Queen.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Yq214

                                                                                                                                        I've been to the Gerrard location a few times now. I had the beef cheek a few months ago and concurred with Yq214 about it not being as magical as at the Queen location, but I had the squid and fried chicken yesterday and was totally blown away. I hadn't tried those at the Queen site previously, but I couldn't imagine them being any better - wow!!
                                                                                                                                        I also had the kalbi and thought it was well done, if super-saucy/messy, just not quite as much of a peak experience.

                                                                                                                                        Has anyone else compared the beef cheeks at the two locations?

                                                                                                                                  2. Does anyone know about a secret menu? They tweeted something with the hash tag "secret menu" and there was a picture of a fried chicken Bao with what looked like pork belly. They call it their "club bao"

                                                                                                                                    Here is a copy of the post with a link to the pic:

                                                                                                                                    Still thinking about it even after we has it #secretmenu #clubbao #bmbyonge #bmbqueen http://instagram.com/p/Ygu6WejVR7/

                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                      I've ordered from the secret menu before. I think it's available online somewhere, but I just went up to the cashier and asked what items were actually on it. He was happy to tell me (but he's also my neighbour, so...). The Club Bao is the only thing I can remember off the top of my head as being on it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ramenramen

                                                                                                                                        Wow! I had no idea that they had a secret menu.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                          Yeah, seriously.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                            I find secret menus highly annoying, but what do I know.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                              They are, but that doesn't stop me from being curious about what's on it :)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                                Fair enough, kwass :)

                                                                                                                                              2. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                If I were a restaurant I probably would just get annoyed with people asking "what is on the secret menu" and just post up the secret menu anyway. Like, I think Burger Priest has it featured on their FB page no?

                                                                                                                                                I think I will order the club Bao next time I am there, I saw that tweet too and was thinking it looks tasty. Wonder if the pricing is basically like a fried chicken bao + pork belly bao less a few cents?

                                                                                                                                          2. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                            I don't know if it is more off-menu than secret menu but I routinely upgrade their kimchi poutine to use the sweet potato fries (so good!) and I add the lemongrass tofu to the jicama salad as a veg-friendly main.

                                                                                                                                            __
                                                                                                                                            http://tastespace.wordpress.com

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kwass

                                                                                                                                              Had the club bao last time I was there. It was pretty good....I would order it again.

                                                                                                                                            2. Enjoyed the pork belly Bao, very good. The "Jicama Papaya" salad, however,is at best a misnomer. No papaya and no taste.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: felix the hound

                                                                                                                                                I agree on the salad. I ordered it the first time I ever went there and never again and I don't recommend it to people.

                                                                                                                                                It is the one "fail" on their menu for me.