John Kemp's Kitchen: Welcome Back!
Hello everyone! Once again, we’re back to another year at Glendon and another year of Pro Tem. If you follow the Facebook or Instagram pages of John Kemp’s Kitchen, you’ll notice that I’ve been more or less inactive. Well this year, as the new editor of this section, you can bet that I’ll be more engaged than ever; so expect many more photos, recipes, and tips.
As some of you may know, I was away on exchange this past academic year in Lausanne, Switzerland. It truly was an incredible and life-changing experience which I realise is a cliché, but I’ve always believed that clichés are clichés for a reason—they’re true. Anyway, as fantastic as my time away was, it’s been nice to be back home. One of the things I’ve missed most about home while in Lausanne was the familiar tastes and flavours of my favourite restaurants.
Toronto is a unique city, gastronomically, as it has just about every cuisine. More than that, the people preparing the foods from those cuisines are usually from the cuisine’s country of origin itself, making it at the very least three-quarters authentic. I don’t think we realise until we leave a culinary mosaic like Toronto just how blessed we are to have it all in one place — and how badly we crave it when we leave. This is why, for this first issue, I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite restaurants where you can enjoy delectable ethnic food in Toronto, often for a very reasonable price.
1. Phở Hưng
Address: 350 Spadina Avenue
What to get: P-16 (Bún thịt nướng, nem nướng, chả giò, bì)
Phở Hưng is a bit of a Toronto classic for Vietnamese cuisine. They first opened in 1985 at 374 Spadina, later moving to 350 Spadina due to a need for more space. Despite the move, the quality of their food didn’t budge one bit. They still serve the most flavourful phở (say : FUH with a short U sound) and the best bun (vermicelli) I’ve ever had.
2. Lahore Tikka House
Address: 1365 Gerrard Street E
What to get: Everything. Pakistani food really lends itself to sharing, making it best to go here with a few friends and share a few dishes with a side of naan or rice. Definitely get the kulfi (a South-Asian ice cream) for dessert.
My Dad originally introduced me to this gem on Gerrard many years ago, and although we’ve found other places closer to home to satisfy our cravings, Lahore Tikka house has a certain eclectic quality that makes it worth the trip downtown.
Originally, the restaurant was a series of construction trailers due to certain challenges the owner had with getting a building permit for the more permanent building the restaurant now resides in. I almost preferred it at that time simply because of the unique experience of walking through the adjoined trailers decorated with (or should I say unsuccessfully hidden by) South-Asian tapestries and eating your food out of Styrofoam take-out containers. Nevertheless, the character is still there, and the deliciously spicy food is certainly still there as well.
3. Salad King
Address: 340 Yonge Street
What to get: Islamic noodles. Not sure what the noodles’ religious views have to do with anything, but they certainly taste good. Note: These are not on the standard menu so ask your waiter or waitress for them.
Salad King has perhaps one of the most misleading names among restaurants that I’ve ever heard of. Despite fact that it would lead you to think that their menu is full of leafy greens and good for a light diet-friendly meal, they actually are a Thai restaurant serving various noodle dishes, soups, and curries. Being right across from the Ryerson Student Centre, their crowd is certainly made up of a lot of students, making it a very busy place, but for good reason. Their food is reasonably affordable (about $15.00 a dish, on average) and always hits the spot. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Thai iced tea, a sweet tea-flavoured beverage made with condensed milk.