Showing posts with label bahn dap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bahn dap. Show all posts

Bong Lua Vietnamese Restaurant 禾花 (Toronto)

If you had to eat one type of dish for the rest of your life, what would it be? Popular choices tend to be pizza, pasta, or tacos. For me, it’s a bowl of soupy noodles. And if I had to stick to one type, then pho would likely feed me to eternity.

Yet, pho wasn’t what I was craving when visiting Bong Lau Vietnamese Restaurant. Instead, it was their famous bún riêu ($13.95) that drew me in. Traditionally, it’s a fragrant seafood, pork, and tomato soup. Bong Lau’s recipe skips the meat and uses tomato, crab, and egg drops (?), which when soaked in broth provides a crumbly texture that almost seems like it could be minced meat.

For a dish that looks so vibrant, the taste was surprisingly timid. There wasn’t that salty umami hit of shrimp paste that I expected. In fact, it wasn’t very salty at all. The most prominent flavours were the tomato, basil, and shallots topping the dish.

Perhaps if the bún riêu was hotter, it’d be more enjoyable. As it stood, the lukewarm texture combined with lacklustre soup and the frozen tasting blue crab really didn’t seem rave worthy.

In retrospect, selection of “light bites” would be more impressive. The bahn dap ($11.95), a steamed rice roll stuffed with a choice of lemongrass pork, beef, chicken, or Vietnamese meat balls, makes for a refreshing but hearty meal. Unlike a salad roll, which uses a rehydrated rice paper wrapper, the steamed roll was thicker and softer, while still having an elasticity that allowed it to be held and dipped.

We opted for the recommended lemongrass pork, which was well seasoned and thinly sliced so the meat layer adds a saltiness throughout the roll. Incorporating tender lettuce leaves, hits of herbs, and bits of crunchy peanuts, the bahn dap had a host of textures and flavours that kept me satisfied.

Bong Lau’s extensive menu does offer a selection of soup-based noodles rarely found elsewhere. Consequently, if I had to subsist on soupy noodles forever, you’d find me at Bong Lau’s all the time. 

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: bahn dap (rice rolls)
  • Just skip: bun rieu (crab noodles)

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2572 Birchmount Road

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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