Announcing Kanpai Snack Bar an upcoming restaurant in Toronto!

Taiwanese street food is gaining international attention with more travel sites declaring Taipei a food mecca and its street food the thing to try. Luckily for Torontonians, Kanpai Snack Bar is bringing a taste of Taiwan to us and thankfully it’ll be indoors – I don’t care how good something tastes, I won’t be standing outside to eat it during the winter.

Set to open at 252 Carlton Street, Kanpai will serve lunch, dinner and late night eats. It aims to be an approachable place where patrons will be welcomed and can get a satisfying meal without paying a fortune. Dishes will of course follow the street food theme being served in single or double portions allowing tables to customize orders to their tastes. While the menu is still being finalized, Kanpai will have a traditional Taiwanese yakitori grill creating delicious skewers.

Fried rice (1)

Other offerings include cold and hot dishes, wok prepared specialties and nose-to-tail delights (for all you ear, tail and cheek lovers). There will be no official stinky tofu yet. But, Kanpai is experimenting with a recipe that is more approachable to the western palate yet keeping the integrity of having authentically Taiwanese components

Taiwanese tofu (1)

Patrons will also be treated to reasonably priced drinks along with happy hour and beer/spirit promotional specials. There will be multiple craft beers, house wines and pre-mixed artisan cocktails all offered on tap. You heard right – there will be pressurized cocktail on tap. Trevor Lui, one of the owners of Kanpai, notes these cocktails have an interesting flavour profile that changes as it’s kept in the keg.

So, if you’re intrigued about trying Taiwanese food and would rather not travel north to Markham and Richmond Hill, then Kanpai Snack Bar is the place for you. It’ll open this winter and could be as early December 2014. Stay tuned for updates by following Kanpai’s social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram.

Rest assured the partners at Kanpai have experience with the Toronto food scene. They’re also running La Brea Food, which has served Mexican and Asian mash ups for over a year. They’ve frequented food festivals (the latest being a week long gig at the Royal Horse Show) serving fusion creations such as Japanese shoyu pulled pork tacos and Tijuana sushi rolls. I’m intrigued to try their guacamame one day a guacamole made with edamame!

Sadly, La Brea doesn’t have a permanent location yet, but they do offer private catering.  Trevor teases that a restaurant is under consideration should all the stars align.  For now, the attention will be focused on Kanpai Snack Bar, but I say it wouldn’t hurt if a yakitori taco topped with guacamame makes it way on the menu. Secret menu item perhaps?

UPDATE: Kanpai is now opened! Read more about them in my dinner experience review.

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Photo Sources:
  1. All photos are courtesy of Kanpai Snack Bar. From their Instagram account (