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Do not bother with Xe Lua on Gerrard. It's really substandard fare and I'm not even convinced the owners really understand Viet food that well. They certainly don't understand Vietnamese. I haven't been to the Spadina Xe Lua though so I can't speak for it.

For the best pho in Chinatown East it's definitely Que Ling.


For beef and chicken pho it's mainly just Asian basil, saw tooth herb (ngo gai in Vietnamese - sometimes also called Vietnamese cilantro), bean sprouts, chiles, lime. Often already has green onions in it. Ngo gai is the one people are describing as Mexican cilantro below (though it's not). I've never had mint in my pho. There are other herbs for other soups.


Pho Linh is truly one of the best. Esp. for bun bo hue and banh cuon.


I've been to Xe Lua a bunch of times cuz some of my friends like to gather there. I must say I'm very unimpressed. It is the most inauthentic of the Gerrard Chinatown. I've tried ordering in Vietnamese and they don't even speak the language.


I don't get it - I wouldn't judge a Vietnamese restaurant by it's pad thai since it's not a Vietnamese dish. In fact I wouldn't order Thai food at a Viet resto.


Hi Zed,
What is the name of the restaurant that has the Hue style cuisine at Bathurst/Dundas? There are plenty of places that do bun bo Hue, but I've never heard of a restaurant in TO that did other Central Vietnamese dishes (Hue is Central not Northern really).


This could have been one of two things: canh chua or bun bo hue. Canh chua made with chicken stock and afterwards they add fish, shrimp or chicken. Doesn't have to have a strong fish flavour - just depends what is added to it. The big giveaway for canh chua is the tamarind sour tang (literally means sour soup), the sweetness from pineapple (or just sugar) and the heat from the chiles. Optional optional things are: slices of taro stem (spongy), celery, sprouts, etc. Bun bo hue has the characteristic red broth and can be very spicy. It's a mix of pork and beef broth and usually has pieces of vietnamese sausage (cha lua), pork blood cubes, pork knuckle, and is served with a pile of herbs.


Mimi's speciality really is its BBQ meats (on bun, rice or rice paper roll-ups) not so much the pho. The canh chua and claypots are good too.

Is Pho Con Bo still around?

I could find no listing or mention (outside of older Chowhounds posts) of Pho Con Bo at Jane & Wilson. Anyone know if it's still around? I liked it the one time I went and was hoping for a repeat visit. But I want to confirm it still exists before I venture over. Also anyone have the address?


Pronunciation depends on which region you are talking about. It would be like FEU in North Vietnam. More like FA in South Vietnam. In both cases there is a tone which I cannot really describe in a post.


I have never found better pho in Toronto than at Que Ling on Bolton St. It's the closest I've found to the kind you'd find in Vietnam. Their bun bo hue is even better. Only open for lunch.


I believe it's called "saw-tooth herb" in English. The Vietnamese name is "ngo gai".

Mimi's, Gerrard and Logan

Indeed. tee-hee.

Mimi's, Gerrard and Logan

Mimi's forte is their bbq meats. These are great - on rice and in bun. Also good bun mam and canh chua ca. If you want pho in the East End you really should be going to Que Ling on Bolton just south of Gerrard, but it's only open for lunch. Their chefs are trained by Hue chefs and you can tell by the kiss-ass bun bo hue they make.

Where can I buy Vietnamese Nep Moi?

Anyone ever seen a Vietnamese rice liquor called Nep Moi in Toronto? It's got a great hazelnutty flavour that I'm told comes from the new rice. I have only 1/2 of the bottle left I brought home with me from Vietnam. Tet is just around the corner so I need some more!
There's a picture at this site:

Vietnamese Sandwiches

Rose's always has chilis. Just ask. I've been going there about 6 years and never had a problem. They probably leave it off unless you ask because some people can't take the spice. I didn't know the mayo was mixed in with the pate. That wasn't my impression. They don't put pate on all the varieties at Rose's, so again just ask. I find Rose's the best banh my in Chinatown East.


I've been to Pho Bo Tay twice now. It's quite competent in the pho department (although next time I will ask for it without the fat on top, even though the "nuoc beo" as they call it is pretty authentic). The bun (vermicelli) is okay too. Everything there so far has been pretty tasty, though nothing to really distinguish itself from the pack. I just wish it had a few dishes beyond the standard pho, bun and com offerings. There are so many Vietnamese restaurants in town and it always boils down to the same couple offerings in most places. Still I think it will do well since it is clean, bright and very friendly, and is close enough that it will start taking the overflow from Mimi. (Que Ling is still easily the best pho I've had almost anywhere in TO.)

Cool places in Hanoi [moved from South Asia board]

I think the coolest atmosphere is the streets of Hanoi - Vietnamese food where it's meant to be eaten. Try Ngo Dong Xuan, an alleyway behind the Dong Xuan market.

Ok, but I get your point. Two suggestion (I'm assuming you want Viet food). One: There are two locations of Highway 4. Here's their website with both addresses: If it's a nice night try the rooftop. The second is called Chim Sao and it's at 65 Ngo Hue. Website: Chim Sao also doubles as an art gallery.

If you want a funky place for eggs benny and a cafe latte, try Puku on Hang Trong.

Where to get Pho with Quay (Fried breadsticks)?

A bit of an obscure question, but...anyone know where you can order quay (fresh fried breadsticks) with your pho in Toronto? It's the way I was used to eating pho in Hanoi. The only place I've seen it served in Vietnamese joints here was at Pho Con Bo (Jane & Wilson). Anyone seen it anywhere else? I crave that half soggy half crunchy texture. (It's easy to find in congee places, but that's different.)


I've never seen oxtail in pho. Are you thinking of tendon (gân in Vietnamese)? My vote for the best pho in Toronto by far is at Que Ling (on Bolton in the Gerrard/Broadview Chinatown). It's a shack and only open for lunch, but it tastes as close to anything I was used to eating in Hanoi as I've had in Toronto.


Well it's only an alternative if it's lunch since Que Ling is not open for dinner. Also depends on what you want to eat. I think the strengths of the two restaurants are different. Mimi's strengths are bbq meats (on rice or on bun) and its canh chua (hot and sour fish/shrimp soup). Que Ling strengths are its pho, bun bo Hue, and banh cuon.


If it's pho specifically you are after though, the best pho I've had in Toronto is actually at Que Ling (248 Bolton St). It's a shack (don't be put off!) in Chinatown East on Bolton just south of Gerard at the side of the school. Bolton is the first residential street east of Broadview. They also make great bun bo Hue, and banh cuon. Aside from the food, the shack experience (and the clientele) makes it the closest thing to authentic pho joint feel to anywhere in Toronto. I feel like I'm back in VN. Problem is it's only open for lunch.

The other MUST is Pho Linh (1156 College West) but that's definitely not east end. It specializes in two dishes: banh cuon and bun bo Hue (same as Que Linh). Also great mia da (sugarcane juice).

Mimi, Rose Cafe or Hanoi 3 Seasons

Mimi is much better than Hanoi 3 Seasons in my estimation. If it's pho specifically you are after though, the best pho in Chinatown is hands down Que Ling. It's a shack (don't be put off!) on Bolton just south of Gerard at the side of the school. Bolton is the first residential street east of Broadview. They also make great bun bo Hue, and banh cuon. Aside from the food, the shack experience (and the clientele) makes it the closest thing to authentic pho joint feel to anywhere in Toronto. I feel like I'm back in VN.

Hanoi Food Blog

[Moderator note: this was posted today on the old International board in response to a four year old thread about chow in Vietnam. We have moved it here as topically it is a tip to a food blog.]

The best bet for anyone looking for food addresses in Hanoi is to look over the food blog called Sticky Rice. The address is Here are some Hanoi specialities to look for (and search for recommendations on in Sticky Rice):

pho bo (beef noodle soup
)bun cha (grilled pork with noodles)
cha ca (grilled fish with noodles)
bun oc (snail noodle soup)
bun rieu (crab noodle soup)
pho cuon (rolled up bbq beef in fresh thick rice noodle sheets)
ca phe trung (coffee with egg - think egg nog but with coffee)
bun ngan (goose with noodles and bamboo shoots)
nom (green papaya salad)
bun ca (fried fish noodle soup)
mien luon (baby eel with glass noodles)
banh cuon (steamed rice sheet rolled up with ground pork and mushrooms)

and for the real (non veggie) food adventurer:
thit cho (dog meat)

These are all very commonly found in Hanoi.

All the addresses of recommendations are in Sticky Rice. No better way to do this.

Aug 28, 2006
Riverdaleto in Food Media & News

Hanoi in March

Actually bun thit nuong is something different, although it works out to a literal translation of the ingredients of bun cha. The difference is in the way it's served and the way they do the meat. Bun cha uses grilled fatty pork together with small grilled pork patties. In bun cha they are served in a small bowl of fish sauce broth (and sliced papaya). The noodles are served separately as are the herbs. Bun thit nuong is a Southern thing and is a one bowl mixture and doesn't include the same patties. I may sound like I'm being nitpicky, but it works out to a very different dish.

Hanoi 3 Seasons

After many months in Hanoi I never ever saw cha ca in soup. Never heard of it. Maybe it's a kind of fusion invention which is fine I guess. Fish in soup, yes, but that's called bun ca and it's totally different.

Other than the seasoning of the cha ca, I've never found that the restaurant delivers much that is authentic Northern. The reviewers take the claim at face value because they don't know any better.

By the way, this is really not the only Northern Viet game in town. I actually found bun cha at a place on Dundas East. Northern joints are very hard to find but there are a few. Check the discussion back in the spring: