Quan 99 was probably my first authentic Vietnamese food experience 25 years ago. It was located in a tiny space void of ambience on Colborne, blocks from my highschool. I pulled everyone I could here for the wok snowpeas, duck wings and exotica like sour sop and durian shakes. The restaurant has moved to a larger, brighter space on King George Road. Again, decor isn't the main attraction, but it's clean and welcoming--it's enormous plates of reliably satisfying entrees are the draw.
At lunch, diners save $2 on the regular entrees--and you'll go home with leftovers. I went with my parents--and it was my dad's first dabble with Viet-Thai food, so, I suggested he play it safe with the likes of Pad Thai. The noodles used are vermicelli instead of the fatter traditional Thai noodles--and the sauce was not overly sweet like the overkill of other ketchupy versions elsewhere. He is still talking about Pad Thai a week later.
My mom chose a beef wok stirfry that was heaped with peppers and onion and a soy-punched sauce. She ooohed and aaaahed for a good five minutes, and seemingly, still hadn't made a dent in her portion it was so enormous.
I'm a sucker for any dish promising cashews and the Cashew Chicken delivered. A side serving of rice balanced the sweetly laced green and red peppers, onions, thin strips of tender chicken and generous serving of whole cashews.
The spring rolls were as I remembered--always of perfect golden crispness.
For 25 years in business, Quan 99 has created a wide menu (many vegetarian options) with Viet staples, Thai favourites and avocado shakes for the adventuresome.
It's a quiet lunch time spot--you won't be blasted out by music or too-close conversation. Go hungry! And, don't be surprised when you fall under the Quan 99 spell of finding new friends and family to introduce to the restaurant.
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