Where to eat lunch this week: Anh Dao
The bún at Pho Hung may have a great reputation, but this version of the one-bowl wonder is better and cheaper at just $6
The place: The narrow, fluorescent-lit space is crowded with glass-topped tables, each cluttered with chopsticks, soup spoons, sriracha and Asian condiments. Faint chopping noises and gentle clangs emanate from the open kitchen while one employee bustles through the restaurant, playing host, server, sous-chef and barman.
The crowd: Chinatown regulars and students looking for something cheap and filling. Patrons keep some of their winter gear on for insulation in the underheated room.
The deal: A hearty, winter-fighting bowl of bún ($6), a Vietnamese staple with a combination of meat, herbs and other goodies served on vermicelli.
The dish: Soy-marinated grilled pork comes on a bed of springy vermicelli. The imperial roll is a golden shell filled with ground pork served alongside a mountain of crisp mint, cucumber, bean sprouts, julienne carrot and daikon. A bowl of sweet and sour dipping sauce adds a perfect pungent edge. For drinks, adventurous imbibers may enjoy the no. 142—soda with orange juice, milk, egg yolk and ice ($3.75).
The time: An idle 47 minutes.
The cost: $12.50, including drink, tax and tip.
Anh Dao, 383 Spadina Ave. (at Cecil St.), 416-598-4514.