Foodies can now enjoy Vietnamese-Mexican fusion street eats in Toronto’s east end — without getting it on the street.
Los Vietnamita Taqueria, touted as one of the city’s tastiest food trucks, opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant at O’Connor Drive and St. Clair Avenue East on Feb. 4.
The chain is best known for its award-winning banh mi tacos, served on a large pastry shell layered with lettuce, cucumbers, pickled carrots, daikon and cilantro.
The tacos are completely different from the Mexican tradition, according to founder and owner Kevin Chiu.
“They’re not your ordinary flour corn shell,” Chiu said. “They’re more like a pastry that is buttery and toasty on the outside and soft on the inside.”
The Saigon Fried Chicken banh mi taco was voted best dish of TasteToronto’s Taco Fest 2019 and Street Eats Fried Chicken Festival 2021. The restaurant also offers handcrafted sandwiches, fries supremes, rice boxes, churros, egg rolls and a variety of Mexican sodas.
The grand opening of the storefront featured a special lion dance performance, along with games, giveaways, special promos and prizes for visitors to enjoy.
The taqueria has come a long way since launching in 2016, when they served street food from pop-up tents at local parks with just three items on the menu: two tacos and waffle fries. However, it didn’t take long until online publications and food bloggers started taking notice. Los Vietnamita’s crispy fish tacos were voted best dish of Taco Fest in 2017.
Chiu described the concept of combining both Vietnamese and Mexican fusion together as an accident.
“My wife’s side of the family is Vietnamese and Mexican,” Chiu said. “We loved eating Mexican food and we were just playing around one day and decided to just, you know, mash up the two.”
Los Vietnamita took their tacos to the road by opening their food truck in 2019, which was later incorporated into the brand’s logo. The food truck has become well known and appeared in various food markets and festivals across the Greater Toronto Area.
Despite the new opening, the food truck will continue to operate and serve customers in local markets.
“Who knows, right? Who knows? Wherever people want us to go, we will go,” Chiu said when asked about future locations for Los Vietnamita.
He noted Burlington as a potential destination, with the long-term goal of taking his cuisine south of the border to Las Vegas.