Let's start with the kimchi fries. Kimchi and fries may not sound like a good combo, but somehow it works. The crispy fries topped with pulled pork, mayo, chopped green onions and a good helping of kimchi were amazing. Every bite had so many textures and complementing flavours—very addictive.
The banh mi here are a higher end version of the classic mystery meat banh mi sold on Spadina (which are also tasty in their own way). The lemongrass pork banh mi comes stuffed with juicy grilled pork, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber and cilantro. It's topped with their Asian bbq sauce and the bun is slightly toasted so it has a nice, crisp exterior.
The kalbi beef taco layers Korean grilled short ribs with Asian slaw, kimchi, pickled carrot and daikon, and cilantro all in an Indian paratha-like shell. This bad boy is pretty messy, but equally satisfying. I like the chewiness of the bread and the meat is perfectly sweet and savoury.
When I first pictured the steamed bao, I thought they would be small two-bite buns, but they're not. The braised beef cheek bao is filled with a good helping of tender beef cheek topped with a sweet and tangy onion chutney and more of the obligatory pickled carrot, daikon, cucumber and cilantro. The bao itself is pillowy soft and hefty enough to hold all that filling.
The restaurant space is pretty small and there's no table service here: you need to order and wait for your food. I suggest going with a friend who can snag a table while you grab the eats. Line-ups are common, but the service is fast and efficient. So glad that Banh Mi Boys is a short walk from my house.
Banh Mi Boys
392 Queen St. W.