Asian Food

 

Below you’ll find some of my thoughts although some are outdated (by years) since I only recently resurrected these pages. For better reviews, check out the following blogs Mtl Food SnobShut up and Eat, Montreal Food PicturesAllerManger, Eat With Eva, and Zuuchini.

Below you’ll find some other notable Asian dishes that don’t have their own pages either because too few restaurants offer the dish or it’s super common.

Ankimo
This is steamed monkfish liver, which is a Japanese delicacy and often compared to foie gras. It can have a fishy taste but when it’s fresh and prepared well, the fishy taste is almost undetectable. It’s not surprising that very few restaurants offer it. Kabocha used to have it but removed it from their menu some time ago. Coincidentally, their competitor down the street, Sumi Dojo started offering it and I must say, their version is very well prepared. Even without the soy based sauce, I couldn’t detect a strong fishy taste. It definitely goes well with the sauce but it was probably the first time where I could eat it on its own and enjoy it. The ankimo was soft with a nice smooth texture. It’s an acquired taste but worth trying for sure.

Banh Mi
An inexpensive sandwich with Vietnamese style meat, pate, pickled carrots & turnips that are placed inside a French baguette. This sandwich is not very hard to find in Montreal and most are pretty decent. The places I go to most often are Vua Sandwiches (2020 Robert Bourassa; 1579 St. Denis) and Le Viet Sandwich (292 St. Catherine O).  Hung Phat (7099 St. Denis) is also quite good and generous with its meat filling although on the other hand they seem to put less veggies in their sandwiches.

Pho
An extremely popular Vietnamese noodle soup that can be found in every Vietnamese restaurant. It has an aromatic usually beef based broth that usually has different types of meats in it including raw beef slices and well done beef slices. It doesn’t have veggies in it other than garnishes like coriander, onion and/or green onion. It comes accompanied with raw basil or mint leaves, bean sprouts, a lime wedge and a bird chilli on the side. It is ubiquitous in Montreal and you can use this food blog post post as a starting point. Having tried most of them at one time, I believe almost any Vietnamese place in Chinatown does a good pho but I’ll mention a new place that opened in 2015 that I think deserves some attention: Restaurant 3T (1071 St. Laurent, 2nd floor). The first restaurant where I had Pho that I liked was the ever popular Pho Lien (5703 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges).

Bun Bo Hue
It’s nowhere near as ubiquitous as Pho but a fair number of Vietnamese restaurants offer this. Some restaurants only serve it on weekends or during limited hours probably because of the long prep time. It’s a spicy beef noodle soup with a lemongrass taste. The noodles are also thicker than the ones used in Pho. It’s topped with similar garnishes and the same set of raw bean sprouts and other ingredients on the side as Pho. Besides beef Bun Bo Hue usually also has pig knuckle and blood cubes. The previously mentioned Restaurant 3T does a pretty good version. I also liked the one at Pho Bac 97 in Chinatown.

Laksa
This South East Asian spicy coconut curry noodle soup can be found at Gado Gado and Satay Brothers (see the page about steamed buns where both are listed). It’s pretty tasty. I think Satay Brothers do it better but their version is also a pretty small portion.

Shui Zhu Yu (Spicy Water Boiled Fish)
This is a popular SiChuan dish that consists of fish fillets cooked in a spicy broth. When done well, it is not only spicy but multi-dimensional in flavour. This dish is not as difficult to find with the increase in Northern Chinese and SiChuan restaurants. Chez Chili (1050B Clark, but the actual entrance is on de la Gauchetiere) does a good version. KanBai, which has two locations, is another restaurant that comes up. I’ve had good food there but have not tried their Shui Zhu Yu.

Takoyaki
These are deep fried balls with a bit of octopus inside (Tako = octopus). This is a popular Japanese street food that used to be rare but can be easily found in Montreal nowadays. Just check any izakaya or even AYCE sushi buffet. I have gotten bored with these over the years but I’ll mention the one place where I first enjoyed them: Hyang Jin (5332 Queen Mary) where they call them (home made) dragon balls. Saiko Bistrot also offers them but their specialty is sushi, which is very good and costs a lot of money. Noren and Kinton Ramen make good versions too.

Seafood boil

This is originally a Cajun dish but Vietnamese brought their own twist to it and at least in Montreal, the first two restaurants to offer it are Asian. Both Le Festin du Capitaine and L’Asie Resto Bar offer the typical seafood for their boils but also crawfish, which is something that was not available in Montreal before.

Jasmine Tea Panna Cotta
This is an Asian twist on the popular Italian dessert that is offered at Sumi Dojo. I had to look up what “panna cotta” was and it translates to “cooked cream.” The texture is similar to those super soft tofu desserts. I’ve never had the original, Italian panna cotta but I really enjoyed this one. Jasmine tea is an excellent choice of flavor. I’m surprised that I haven’t found any other restaurants copying this dessert. I don’t even like desserts but I would not hesitate to order this again.

Cooking videos

But since I’m a lazy/poor cook I usually eat these dishes in restaurants. While Montreal gets a bit of a bad rap for Asian food, there are some good restaurants. The best of Montreal can’t compare with other cities with larger Asian populations but I’ve had bad Asian food in other cities too. Even in Montreal, I mostly eat at Asian restaurants.

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