Vietnamese is the Healthiest Flavor-Packed Cuisine You Can Get in Toronto
Toronto, Ontario is a beautiful multicultural city. Arguably Canada’s greatest example of multiculturalism, the GTA is filled with very tasty cuisines, a wild array of lifestyles, and healthy cooking trends.
When talking specifically ethnic cuisines, Vietnamese is among the top in both taste and healthiness. In taste, you have all sorts of spices and herbs swirling around in dishes like pho. On health, you have minimal fat, high-protein, and a strong emphasis on whole foods and farm vegetables.
TorontoPHO has brought authentic Vietnamese cooking to the Toronto marketplace, using traditional spices and herbs to achieve the perfect taste as opposed to reaching for oil. Eating Vietnamese, the characteristic tastes of lemongrass, fish sauce, veggies, and broth are just a few you’ll find. For a flavor-packed brunch, lunch, dinner, or after-hours snack, you can trust Vietnamese to hit the mark.
Is Vietnamese Really ‘the Healthiest Cuisine’?
Throughout the last decade, the world has come to know Vietnamese cuisine a lot better. Examining the best and healthiest cuisines in the world, Vietnamese food has always ranked towards the top of the list, if not at the very top.
On appearances, one may not think of Vietnamese as ‘the healthiest’ of all the cuisines. Regardless, when one digs into the ingredients being used as well as how the food is being prepared, it’s easy to see where the reputation was earned.
- Fresh herbs.
- Fresh vegetables.
- Seafood and lean meats preferred over fattier, processed meats.
- Cooking techniques that use water or broth rather than oil and fats.
- Low-calorie dishes compared to Thai, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines.
- Regular use of anti-inflammatory flavorings like cilantro, mint, Thai basil, star anise, and red chili.
What Sort of Tastes Exist in Vietnamese Cuisine?
To give a full glimpse into what Vietnamese cuisine tastes like would be very lengthy, akin to describing cuisines like Canada’s.
At a simple level, what Vietnamese cuisine tastes like comes from the herbs and spices used. Common flavor combinations exist and are listed below. They are pulled from often on pho, stir-fry dishes, and others.
- Coriander and green onion.
- Garlic and a small amount of oil on cooked vegetables.
- Lemongrass and chili pepper on beef dishes.
- Cilantro and rice paddy herb on sour soups.
- Spearmint and fish sauce.
- Bird’s eye chili.
- Thai basil leaves.
What Makes Vietnamese Cuisine so Unique?
Vietnamese cuisine really started to circulate the world beginning in the post-War 1970s. As the Vietnamese began to come to North America in larger numbers, they brought with them traditions, recipes, and food philosophies.
For a long time, to Canadians, Vietnamese was simply seen as a variation on Chinese. At a fundamental level, it’s anything but. Fortunately, the world has come to recognize that in more recent times.
Though both use a lot of the same raw materials, the techniques of cooking between Chinese and Vietnamese are way different. Different flavors and spices are used. Different results are produced.
There’s also a French influence in Vietnamese food. For a period of time, Vietnam was under colonial rule by the French. Dishes like pho and dozens of others still have that French-style embedded in the way things are cooked and the herbs and spices employed.
What Are the Best Tasting Vietnamese Foods?
Searching for true Vietnamese food in Toronto, you will find a lot of tasty dishes to try. For introductory eaters, a bowl of pho customized to your liking is your best bet. To go a little more adventurous, here are some other options.
- Sweet and Sour Soup – a crafty blend of shrimp or fish with tomato, okra, and pineapple
- Papaya Salad – a mix of green-shredded papaya, house sauce, fresh carrots, and beef jerky
- Mango Salad – choose from a protein of your choosing (shrimp, chicken, or tofu) to be mixed in with mango, cashews, red peppers, green peppers, and avocado
- Seafood Egg Noodle in Soup – another delicious soup, in this one you have egg noodles, squid, fish balls, wontons, and shrimp cake
- Grilled Chicken Roll – wrapped in rice paper are some grilled chicken, bean sprouts, vermicelli, and mint leaves
- Hanoi-Style Vermicelli – tasty vermicelli noodles with grilled minced pork, pork belly, fresh herbs, and pickled vegetables
- Pork Intestine Congee – aka Chao Long Doi, this traditional Vietnamese dish is made from pork liver, heart, tongue, and blood jelly
- Beef Noodle Soup – packed with protein up to the top of the bowl, you have rare beef, well-done beef, tripe, beef ball, and tendon as well as rice noodles to look forward to!
- Fried Tilapia with Ginger Fish Sauce – a delicious ready-to-serve fish dish that’s unforgettable
Alongside these, of course, you also have a lot of rice dishes that include grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled beef, and more. There are plenty of stir-fry variations that are also particularly delicious.
There’s a little something for everyone in Vietnamese eating. You have more traditional eats as well as classic Vietnamese originals. It’s all in what you want to eat on any given day. The opportunity’s there to have whatever kind of meal you want.
Syncing Five Unique Tastes in Every Dish
A key tenant of Vietnamese cooking is to achieve balance between five unique and fundamental tastes.
Your average Vietnamese dish has been prepared in a way that blends these tastes in togetherness. For the world’s best chefs in Vietnamese eating, how they achieve their characteristic dishes are often through manipulating these elements.
It is a source of pride to ensure balance is achieved. For this reason, you will never find a Vietnamese dish that is too spicy or sour, or too salty or sweet. This isn’t allowed to happen. Whether it’s noodle soups or congees, rice dishes, banh, wraps, rolls, sandwiches, meat and seafood dishes, salads, curries, vegetable dishes, vegetarian dishes, or desserts, these five fundamental tastes remain the same.
This is where also where herbs and spices are added. They counterbalance one another. Manipulation of one must be counteracted with manipulation of another. It can become an interesting experiment in achieving the perfect bowl of Vietnamese pho, the most delicious summer rolls, or bun cha.
Classics Like Steaming Bowls of Pho and Gluten-Free Noodles
We can’t talk Vietnamese as healthy and flavorful without mentioning the ultimate dish – pho. Laced with veggies, noodles, and all sorts of herbs and spices, dozens of pho varieties exist. Numerous Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto and other major cities have built reputations off traditional pho.
In pho, you have all the health benefits of the broth filled with anti-inflammatory herbs. Pho noodles are gluten-free. The vegetables come fresh and are quickly cooked. Customers can choose their favourite protein – shrimp, beef, chicken, pork, or tofu. This all builds towards a crescendo based around the ‘five fundamental tastes’ philosophy.
If you don’t have a single other Vietnamese dish this year, make it a point to have a bowl of authentic pho. We’re almost sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised from the first bite. Pho is one of those characteristic dishes that Vietnamese cuisine has built its reputation on, at least internationally.
Another benefit of pho – and perhaps a reason why it’s become such a healthy favourite in Toronto – is that it’s customizable to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. There are plant-based proteins, tofu, and other modifications that can be made to deliver a dish that is through-and-through vegan.
Across North America, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bowl of pho than that of TorontoPHO. Our reputation is only as good as our food and excellence is our standard. For an easy meal you don’t have to worry about on the tummy, drop in at TorontoPHO. A sensational menu’s waiting your eyes! We also offer pickup and delivery options.