For those of you who don’t know what Banh Mi is, it is a Vietnamese sandwich usually filled with some type of meat, pate, carrots, daikon and cilantro. There are different types of these sandwiches, some filled with shredded meat or meat slices, there are even vegetarian banh mi’s. For more information check out the Wikipedia page on Banh Mi’s . I was never a big fan of these sandwiches as a kid, but as I got older, I started to appreciate them a lot more. Welcome to Banh Mi Boys! Check out their website at http://www.banhmiboys.com/ or follow them on Twitter @BanhMiBoys
392 Queen Street West
This is Banh Mi Boys! I’ve been wanting to try this place for a very long time. Located right at the intersection of Spadina and Queen, this place definitely grabs the attention of a variety of customers. There is Chinatown to the north, fashion district down south, and variety of shopping opportunities all around. I remember trying to visit earlier this week, but due to Easter hours, I got there right when they closed. I was so bummed out I had to return 2 days later.
Their menu is on monitors at the ordering counter. Looking at their menu, Banh Mi Boys does a spin off of the traditional Banh Mi Sandwich. The idea of fusion cooking and fusion food is really starting to catch on these days. Banh Mi Boys adds other Asian inspirations like Korean Kalbi, Kimchi, and Chinese 5 spice to their Banh Mi’s. They also add some western influences such as pulled pork and duck confit. For a better look, you can view their menu online.
I like the look of the place, modern with simple designs. There is seating and tables. I was here on a Wednesday afternoon and there was quite a line at the counter. We got it to go which I assume many others did as well. It might be a little difficult to get seats at a busier time but turnovers should be quick.
Here is the open kitchen/ordering area. You can see your food being made to order.
Kimchi Fries – $5.99 CAD – With mayo, pulled pork and green onions
Kimchi Fries! It definitely tastes better when you eat all the components together while its hot. I say this because we ate this last when everything has cooled down. It was a to-go order thus it was in a box and since we ate it last, it was left there to steam which made the fries soggy (not their fault, it was clearly our fault). We also decided to eat this is a car in a parking lot; worst part being we forgot to get forks. We ended up eating half of it with our hands before going back to get forks (don’t judge). Eating this with forks really lets to get all the bits of pulled pork, kimchi and mayo with the fries which makes these fries so much better. A good starter to order (ironic that we ate the starter at the end, but that’s what happens when you eat in a car).
Meatball Banh Mi – $5.49 CAD – With Tomato Hoisin
I know it is kind of hard to see the meatball in this picture, but again, eating in a car will do this. The meatballs were juicy and had great flavor. The combination of the hoisin and tomato sauces worked really well. Put that together with the picked vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, daikon etc.) and you have a mean sandwich. I recommend this one for sure.
Pulled Pork Banh Mi – $5.49 CAD
This was a good sandwich as well. Not my favorite sandwich that day, though. We all agreed we thought the pulled pork could have used a little more sauce. The pulled pork that was in the kimchi fries were better (pretty sure they use the same pulled pork) it just felt like there was more sauce and the bbq flavor came out on the fries more than it did on the sandwich. It might also be some of the flavor was masked under all the other layers of flavors from the vegetables and bread. Nonetheless, a good sandwich, if you like bbq and pulled pork, don’t hesitate to try the pulled pork banh mi.
Kalbi Beef Banh Mi – $5.99 CAD – With short ribs (kalbi), kimchi and Asian bbq sauce
This is the Kalbi (Korean short ribs) beef Banh Mi. I loved the flavor of the beef on this one. The kimchi paired really well with the pickled veggies. The meat was tender and juicy. For Banh Mi’s this Kalbi and the earlier Meatball Banh Mi were my favorites, I had a tough time deciding which one I liked more. I would give a slight edge to the Kalbi. All great sandwiches though.
Chinese Five Spice Steamed Bao – $3.49 CAD – All Steamed Bao’s are the same price
“Bao” in Chinese simply means a bun. They’re a bit smaller than the Banh Mi baguettes, they are also cheaper so that works out. Some of the meats from the Banh Mi menu like grilled chicken, pulled pork, beef cheek etc. can be ordered in a bao as well. We decided to go with the Chinese 5 spice pork belly steamed bao. This Bao is so good! Soft all around, with a little sweetness steamed to perfection! The pork belly was amazing as well, the fat on the pork belly brings an amazing flavor. If you never had pork belly before, you have to! I know the fat turns a lot of people off but trust me, its what makes pork belly so good you have to try it at least once in your lives (I’m talking to you, health nuts). This is also paired with the same vegetables from earlier. This was my favorite item of the day. If you decide to visit Banh Mi Boys, I highly recommend the Chinese 5 Spice Steamed Bao. You should at least try one of the “Bao’s” as the texture and flavor of the bread is different.
Banh Mi Boys is a must try if you are in the downtown core. Great for lunch and dinner. In a great location, there is lots to do around the area, whether its shopping or getting some food before a game at the ACC (Air Canada Center) or the Rogers Center.
I will definitely be returning to try some of the other items on the menu, beef cheek and duck confit should be next on my list. I also need to try some of the tacos – from what I see it will be similar to the bao’s but on a tortilla instead.
The prices are really fair – Its hard to find great food at this price these days. We spent less than $10.00 CAD each – this is for the fries, 3 Banh Mi’s and 2 Bao’s- if we got 1 or 2 more items that would come to around $10.00 per person. Its better if you go with 2 or 3 other people therefore you can always share and try different items
If you live in the GTA or decide to visit Toronto, Banh Mi Boys is a must try, great people, great food, great prices.
Again here is their information:
392 Queen Street West
Monday to Friday 11am to 10pm
Saturday: 11am to 9pm
Sunday: 12pm to 7pm