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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles’ new Cambodian restaurant

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant

Name: Tuk Tuk Canteen Contact: 397 Roncesvalles Ave., no phone, @tuktukcanteen
Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles Previously: The Rude Boy Owners: Mike Tan (The Contender), Alex Sengupta (The Contender, The Lakeview) and Meaghan Murray (Northwood, Patois) Chef: Mike Tan

The food

“People keep commenting online about how siu mai isn’t Cambodian,” says Tan. “But I’m not trying to make authentic Cambodian dishes. My food’s more Asian with Cambodian flavours,” he says about his one-page menu, which diners order dim sum-style by ticking a box next each item. The first-generation Canadian went to visit his parents’ home country of Cambodia before opening Tuk Tuk. While he was there, he made giant vats of curry for his mom’s entire village (and he also learned how to kill chickens). He’s taking the flavours from his trip and integrating them into some of his favourite plates.

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
Each siu mai is filled with shrimp and crab meat that’s been tossed with green peppercorns and kreung, a muddled blend of lemongrass, lime leaf, galangal, ginger, garlic and turmeric. The dumplings are then splashed with a sweet and garlicky fish sauce. $16.

 

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
The chicken wings are tossed in the fryer whole and then hit with palm sugar, fish sauce and what Tan calls a “shitload of fresh lime.” $12.

 

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
This shaved flatiron steak is marinated in kreung before being seared on a the flattop grill. It’s served over fermented shrimp flavoured papaya salad, and finished with peanuts, coconut, palm sugar and Anaheim chilies. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
This sour kreung beef stew is flavoured with tamarind and fermented shrimp. It’s cooked for about three hours until the meat begins breaking down, then topped with a celery and daikon salad. $18.

 

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
Tan, folding siu mai.

 

The drinks

There’s a short list of familiar cocktails, each created with obscure bitters and Murray’s house-made tonics, syrups and colas. A four-tap draught pours an easy-drinking Czech lager, as well as a gose from Collective Arts that’s brewed with coriander and Himalayan sea salt. A couple of fruity quaffs (a pineapple IPA from Mill Street and Brickworks’ peach cider), along with a smattering of tall cans, round out the beer and cider offerings. The non-boozy drinks are plentiful, and include house-made sodas, and interesting iced teas flavoured with things like hibiscus and rose hip.

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
Long Island Iced Tea: gin, vodka, Triple Sec, lemon, house-made cola and cherry bitters. $13.

 

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
This rum-based punch is a mix of Triple Sec, toasted coconut syrup, lemon and berry-kiwi colada tea. $18 for the two-person pitcher, $35 for the four-person one.

 

The space

The narrow space is a no-frills ode to DIY, or rather, what happens when your contractor doesn’t show up, so you fire him and then have to figure out how to decorate a 40-seat room on a shoestring budget. The ceiling is a mosaic of plywood and random tiles that Tan salvaged, while the walls are decked out with repurposed wood (most of it rescued from a now-demolished Spadina Road hardware store).

What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant
What's on the menu at Tuk Tuk Canteen, Roncesvalles' new Cambodian restaurant

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