In Montreal, we have this mindset that Vietnamese cuisine is all about pho, spring rolls and bahn mi. It's like saying that Japanese food is all about sushi. With the recent opening of numerous izakayas and ramen shops in the city, you know this statement is no longer true. Because of the growing foodie trend in Montreal, we are more open to try new flavours that are unfamiliar to the Westerners' palate. Le Red Tiger has opened its doors to Montreal to try out the many facets of Vietnamese cuisine. The food that the three owners with Vietnamese roots grew up eating. The head chef and his wife used to work at Kaiji Sushi.
Le Red Tiger is a Vietnamese pub, conveniently located on boul. de Maisonneuve E., a few minutes of walk from métro Beaudry. It's the perfect spot to enjoy authentic Vietnamese street food with a pint of beer. We went for lunch on Thursday, the restaurant was packed around 1pm. Most diners came in without a reservation.
We started off with the green papaya. It is a mixture of julienne papaya, toasted peanuts, thai basil and fried shallots. The vinaigrette is a star anise infused soy sauce served inside a plastic bag. You can add a squeeze of lime juice for acidity and Thai chilies for heat. The papaya salad has lots of contrasts of flavours and textures that make us go back for more. The papaya was fresh and crisp, not at all soggy. The vinaigrette is very well-balanced that it blew my palate away. Simply addictive. I can boldly say that it is the best papaya salad in Montreal. I even asked the waitress for the ingredients in the vinaigrette. My friend loved so much that he ordered one for take-out. As a side note, you can order this salad with thit kho bo, a vietnamese beef jerky.
|Green Papaya Salad with Soy-Star Anise Vinaigrette|
I was quite excited to try their beignet de crevette spring roll. It's a reinterpretation of the classic vietnamese shrimp spring roll. Typically, it consists of rice vermicelli, fresh herbs and few pieces of shrimp. Here it uses a Vietnamese staple as the filling - cha tom, a grilled grounded shrimp patty. It is loaded with generous amounts of lettuce, coriander, mint and thai basil along with cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon. There is also a strip of deep-fried spring roll wrapper that gives an additional textural element. All the ingredients are wrapped in rice paper. It comes with an earthy and complex tamarind dipping sauce (Nuoc Nam Me). The spring roll provides burst of freshness from all the vegetables, and the patty being grilled provides maximal shrimp flavour. All the components work so well together. Simply writing this review makes my mouth waters.
|Shrimp (Cha Tom) Vietnamese Spring Roll with Tamarind Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Nam Me)|
When ordering a main, it comes with a small side of their weekly special soup. We had the beef and tofu soup with chili oil. It was subtle, smooth and aromatic. It feels like a palate-cleanser.
|Beef Tofu Soup|
We probably are familiar by now with banh mi, a vietnamese sandwich - the ones you get in Chinatown for only $2. Le Red Tiger moves away from the traditional fillings. We made a special request to try two fillings in one order. The first is the ginger-onion chicken garnished with cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots. Simple flavour and delicious.
|Ginger-Onion Chicken Banh Mi|
Finally, there is nothing more street food than a plate of rice with proteins and a side of salad. We had the chicken cooked with ginger and onion. Simple food, loaded with flavours of fish sauce, onion and ginger.
|Ginger-Onion Chicken with Rice|
Vietnamese cuisine is rich in flavours with loads of freshness. Le Red Tiger does a great job in showcasing some Vietnamese staples. Even though the choices on their lunch menu is limited, I'll definitely be back to try out their dinner menu. I'm especially excited to try out their balut. When I love a place, I'll bring many of my friends and convince them how amazing the food is. I can tell you it's the best Vietnamese street food I have eaten in Montreal.
Le Red Tiger
1201 Blvd De Maisonneuve Est
Le Red Tiger
1201 Blvd De Maisonneuve Est
Tuesday-Thursday: 11am-2:30pm & 5pm-11pm
Friday: 11am-2:30pm & 5pm-3am