My thoughts on Asian Food in Montreal (at least the type that is not so common). But really why are you coming to a film-related blog for food opinions? You should probably read This is Why We’re Fat or Food at First Sight or Shut up and Eat which all do some very good food and restaurant reviews. Other sites of note are Braised and Confused, Food Guy Montreal, Fou de Food MTL and BoulouBoulou.
And finally here I list some notable restaurants that serve other Asian dishes and street food which isn’t commonly offered at enough places to merit their own pages.
General Tao poutine is offered at La Betise (6015 St-Hubert) and Planete Poutine (51 Rachel O). I have never tried this and have no inclination to but it’s kind of an obvious fusion dish for Montreal that I’m surprised took this long to show up. Another less likely fusion poutine I’ve seen is at Ganadara where they add tteokbokki (korean glutinous rice cake) with poutine.
Steamed bun sandwiches with pork belly are offered at a few places. Satay Brothers [Summer location: 138 Avenue Atwater (Marché Atwater), Winter location: 3911 Saint-Jacques O] is where I first had them and they were totally awesome. I also tried this at Gado Gado (1242 Mackay) where it was tasty but lacking veggies. Big in Japan (3723 St. Laurent) also have a version but I haven’t tried it.
Takoyaki (deep fried balls with a bit of octopus inside) is a popular Japanese street food that is a rare find in Montreal although I’ve started noticing it pop up on some all you can eat sushi menus but I highly doubt they’re any good. I can easily say that Imadake (4006 St Catherine O) makes some great takoyaki. At $6 for five balls, it’s a bit pricey for what it is but worth a try at least once. They were expertly fried with a thin crispy layer encasing a soft batter with a piece of octopus. It was drizzled with mayo, ponzu sauce, bonito flakes and anori (dried seaweed in powder like form). Hyang Jin (5332 Queen Mary) have TakoYaki but they call them (home made) dragon balls $6.50 for seven. They’re quite good as well sprinkled with bonito flakes green onion and ponzu sauce with mayo on the side. Kinoya also offers tako yaki but haven’t tried their version.
Banh Mi (An inexpensive sandwich with Vietnamese style meat, pate, pickled carrots & turnips inside a French baguette) that’s prepared in a couple of bakeries in Chinatown, and some Asian supermarkets although I generally don’t find that any one is noticeably better than the other. I did like the beef one that I had at Vua Sandwiches (1579 St. Denis) where I also had a great mango smoothie to go with it. They might look like a chain but they’re not. Hung Phat (7099 St. Denis) also does a very good banh mi but I wouldn’t say their version is miles ahead of anyone else’ s offering.
Jian Bing (A sort of Chinese crepe that’s a popular street food in China) is made right by the window of Fortune Dumpling (1629 St. Catherine O). It’s somewhat overpriced at $5-$6 but it’s made fresh to order and tastes exactly as I remember except for the fried sheet inside (think of spring roll skin but unrolled). I do remember trying this at another restaurant called Shi Tang (1633 de Maisonneuve O) but since it wasn’t made fresh it didn’t taste good at all. However, the prices are cheap there and they offer other Northern Chinese style dishes.
Brochettes can be found in several restaurants but it’s usually not the specialty. There is one place of note that specializes in it called Kiss Grill (1858 St. Catherine O). I particularly like their cumin lamb brochettes which taste like the XinJiang style lamb brochettes that are ubiquitous in China. Their eel and veal ribs (similar to kalbi) were not bad either. Other dishes like the sizzling beef plate and ramen were pretty boring so it’s probably best to stick to the grilled stuff. Although their hot pots do look intriguing. Another option for brochettes is Golden Stone (1439 St. Mathieu) although I do not find them as good but they also have other Northern style Chinese dishes. Kinoya (4250 St. Denis) is a Japanese tapas resto/bar that offers different types of kushiyaki.
Korean Fried Chicken is a popular street food in Korea that is referred to as the other “KFC” and can be found at Ganadara (1862 de Maisonneuve) and probably some other Korean restaurants that I’m unaware of. There’s an appetizer called dak ball that I’ve tried which is like popcorn chicken. You definitely get your $5 worth with this and it was really good, much better than I expected. There’s apparently also a main dish which comprises of five fried chicken legs as well which I have not tried.
All Dressed Salt and Pepper Pork Chops is the signature dish at Amigo (1027 St. Laurent) in Chinatown. It’s a massive dish with plenty of spicy fried pork chops that’s not easy to finish but even with its increased popularity and price, it’s still good value. I think their Cantonese Chow Mein is a much better deal though. Van Roy also offered the pork chops but they closed down a while back. I think a fair number of restaurants have a similar sort of dish but I think Amigo has become the go-to place for this.
Kogo is Korea’s take on the pogo that adds french fries to its deep fried exterior. The only place that I know of where this can be found is at Picks (1407 St. Marc). The kogo is alright but I’m not a fan of pogos in the first place. Picks’ main offering is burgers though and the steak burger made with bulgogi meat was quite tasty.
Hakka Dakshin style Dosas take the signature South Indian crepe and combine Chinese and Indian flavours. One can try this interesting fusion at ThanJai restaurant which offers over 30 types of Dosas and other South Indian dishes. If they offer that many different dosas then it must be pretty good and the one time I had a dosa (at another restautant) I enjoyed it so I’m curious about this Chinese-Indian fusion one.
I don’t have a pho page because there are a bazillion Vietnamese restaurants in Montreal and they all serve pho so it’s not hard to find a good bowl of it. I’m also generally not a fan of it but did like it at Pho Lien (5703 Cote des Neiges) and Nguyen Phi (6260 Cote des Neiges). I haven’t had a good enough Pad Thai anywhere except at a restaurant that closed down although there aren’t a lot of Thai restaurants to go through. Haven’t had a decent Banh Xeo having tried it at a few Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown. The best one I had was definitely at Banh Xeo Minh (1308 Belanger) but it wasn’t enough to convert me. PaJeon I enjoy but pretty much every Korean restaurant offers it and they’re mostly ok or not good except maybe Hwang Kum (5908 Sherbrooke O) which was probably the best one I had. I think the one from Maison de Seoul (5030 Sherbrooke O) was not bad either.