Restaurant: Bac Ky Vietnamese Canteen
Location: 567 King Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M1
Price Range: $$
Located on King Street West, I was quite excited to try Bac Ky as the area does not have a lot of great Asian food options. After a few researchs, it seems Bac Ky position itself as a healthier version of other Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto with its protein shakes and full size container of Vega protein powder, quite odd for an Asian restaurant.
Side note: the term bac ky is actually a derogatory term for people from Northern Vietnam (like me). I’m not offended by any means and apparently the owners picked that term to pay tribute to their parents, who came to Canada from a city in Northern Vietnam.. Quite strange.
The restaurant was quite small and spotless! The decor was fairly simple with a few old black and white photos of wartime in Vietnam. The chairs that they used are similar to the plastic ones that you would find in Vietnam, which means it can get uncomfortable after sitting for a while…
The menu was pretty basic for any Vietnamese restaurants with a few options for each categories. I was surprised to see that everything is priced under $10, which is really rare for a restaurant in King Street West. Some of the items are labeled as gluten free/vegetarian/vegan which was also another surprising factor for a Vietnamese restaurant.
Their ordering system was similar to Ginger (another Asian restaurant) where you order at the cashier and wait for the server to bring the food to you.
We decided to try the shrimp fresh roll that was served with a fish sauce! These are usually served with a sweet hoisin peanut sauce in Asian restaurants, but seriously who eat fresh roll like that? (I joke). The roll was well-made and refreshing with lettuce, bean sprouts and the carrots were slightly tangy. The fish sauce was disappointing as it was extremely watered down. A bit more fish sauce and few slices of red chilies would do the trick :).
Both C and I ordered the bun rieu and I have to say, it was way much better than the one I had at Banh Mi Bar! It was light and not too oily along with stewed tomatoes that contributed a slightly tart and natural sweetness to the dish. However the soup was a bit salty for my taste and there was too much broth for the amount of noodles and meat in the dish. I also found that since the soup had been modified to be healthier, the broth doesn’t have as much depth of flavor as the ones I had in Vietnam. But I supposed this will have to do if you are craving for bun rieu and unwilling to travel outside of Toronto.
I haven’t tried their pho yet so I can’t really comment on the authenticity and taste of the broth. One might assume that since Bac Ky opt for the healthier route when it comes to making Vietnamese food, the dishes will be lacking in flavor, but I thought the food was decent for its price. At the same time, this is pretty much the only affordable Vietnamese joint in King Street West area if you are looking for some good eats.