Updated: Banh Mi Boys Toronto
I had serious cravings for steamed bao from Banh Mi Boys during our four month road trip across America and Canada.
Four months is an awfully long time to crave food. Particularly when you have days of eating the same meal. Or days where your only options are from fast food venues, because that’s the only place with parking suitable for a 30 foot RV.
So I was pretty darn excited to get back to Toronto. Banh Mi Boys was one of the first places I visited when we got back.
If you live in Toronto and haven’t heard of Banh Mi Boys, you may have been in a coma for the past couple of years. It’s a popular pan Asian joint on Queen Street West, near Spadina. It’s famous for its modern twist on Vietnamese banh mi, with some really cool fillings and fusions with other cuisines, like Mexican.
On our last visit to Banh Mi Boys, I ordered the steamed bao, with crispy panko tofu, without kimchi (because it’s made with animal stock here) or mayonnaise.
I was really looking forward to eating the steamed bao again, but when I was discussed my order with my server on this visit, she told me that the steamed bao wasn’t actually vegan friendly.
On our first visit, I’d been told that the steamed bao itself was vegan, as long as it was ordered without the kimchi and mayo. This time, I was told the bao was not vegan friendly even without the kimchi and mayo. Not worth getting upset over; these things happen, vegan mistakes as I call them!
Back in August I emailed Banh Mi Boys to get a confirmation on which of their items were vegan and or/could be made vegan friendly, but I never received a reply. I’m planning on emailing them again, and if I receive an answer I’ll update this post with the information.
Just to be safe, I went with the tofu taco, and the tofu fries, both of which I was assured were okay for vegans without the kimchi and mayo. And though I may have been longing for the steamed bao, the tacos, like the bao, are a thing of culinary beauty.
I previously said I could eat the baos every day of my life. The same holds true of the thin, crepe-like taco. On this occasion I had lemongrass tofu taco, which, though tasty, made me wish I’d asked for the panko tofu. It comes in an easy second to the panko though, and the flavours are so fresh and vibrant.
The fries are a reliable favourite. Whoever thought of adding long, thin planks of tofu to them is a genius. And I love the chilli and green onions on top.
If you’re a meat-eater like North Nomad, there’s a complete bounty of pan Asian foods for you to try at Banh mi. The prime offerings are the crispy baguettes common to Vietnamese and French cooking. There’s a diverse range available: grilled pork, grilled chicken, lemongrass tofu, braised beef cheek, five spice pork belly, meatball, pulled pork, kalbi beef, squid and duck confit.
Do you have a favourite restaurant you pine for when you go away? Or maybe it’s a meal you’re always hankering for?
Location: 392 Queen St West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.