BANH MI BOYS – YONGE ST

Banh Mi Boys – Yonge St

Banh Mi Boys is another restaurant that’s taken me too long to try. If I was still a student I’d be a regular, but as is, it’s hard to find a situation where I’m close by and looking for a fast meal. Really, I should try harder.

Atmosphere: The Yonge St location of Banh Mi Boys was a 5 minute walk from the Eaton Centre and close to Ryerson campus. The restaurant was quick serve and only seats about 20 people, lots of diners grabbed banh mis to go. Once we got our trays, The Fiance and I shared a table with another couple. The space was clean and well kept.

Service: We placed our order at the counter and picked up our food from the open kitchen to the left. When the cook gets to finishing your order, you’re able to customize the level of spice. Everything else was self serve, napkins and forks were easy to find and plentiful.

Food: Between the two of us, we split a Grilled Pork Banh Mi, Pork Belly Bao and an order of Kimchi Fries. The banh mi lived up to all of my expectations. There was soft bread, flavourful tender meat, crispy pickled carrots and lots of cilantro. All of that at $5.49, this was a no brainer “you have to try it” meal.

With the bao, the steamed wrapper was pillowy soft and had a nice texture. I liked the inclusion of takuan, yellow pickled daikon, that’s sweeter than the julienned pickled daikon. For me, you can’t go wrong with more sweet pickles. The pork belly was rendered perfectly and the five spice was mild. Between the banh mi and the bao, I liked the banh mi more while The Fiance liked the bao. Really though, both were great.

An order of Kimchi fries at $5.99 is on par with any poutine place in Toronto in terms of price and value (it’s a big box). I would argue that Banh Mi Boys is more loved for this box of fries than any of their banh mi. Starting with a layer of crispy fries, skin-on, pulled pork, garlic mayonnaise, chopped green onions and a handful of kimchi is piled on. The kimchi adds the perfect amount of spice and acidity to the fries. My only issue is the $2 charge for extra kimchi. $0.50 or $1 would be reasonable for a second handful. 33% of the price for the whole dish is a little excessive. How much more kimchi am I really going to get? I might have to order it next time just to see.

Banh Mi Boys has earned their reputation as a “must-eat” in Toronto and it’s a well deserved title.

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