Certainly one of Toronto’s oldest Thai eating places is popping 40


It’s laborious to think about, however there was a time not too way back when Thai eating places have been off the grid of Toronto’s culinary scene.

However in 1982, change started. Inside an auburn brick constructing on Elm Road, picket bells arrived from Thailand and have been latched to the ceiling of one of many metropolis’s first Thai eating places: Bangkok Backyard.

This yr, the institution will elevate a glass to its fortieth birthday. Alongside this anniversary is the celebration of Thai meals’s evolution over the previous 4 a long time and its success at carving out a central place on the culinary palettes of Torontonians.

“In 1982, folks didn’t know,” Chef William Thetsombandith instructed CTV Information Toronto, referring to the dish now synonymous with Thai meals in Toronto – pad thai.

However with time, clients gravitated to the notorious noodle dish, which Thetsombandith credit to its dynamic vary in the case of flavour: “Candy, bitter, salty and spicy.”

Within the institution’s early days, not solely was their décor imported from Thailand, however their staple spices and herbs have been too.

“At the moment, it’s very very similar to, we’re the one Thai restaurant in Toronto,” Thetsombandith stated.

The origin of Bangkok Backyard started within the metropolis it is named after. Sherry Brydson, a member of the ultra-wealthy Thomson household, travelled to Thailand. There, she grew to become enamored by Thai meals to the extent that when she returned, she introduced bodily items of Thailand – like blue and white dishes with floral trim and stones she later positioned in a koi pond on the restaurant – dwelling together with her.

When Brydson returned to Toronto, she opened Bangkok Backyard on Elm Road.

Bankok Backyard’s pad thai helped push the restaurant to success. (Hannah Alberga)

Whereas the institution prides itself on conventional dishes – pad thai, spring rolls, tom yum and purple curry – it has ventured past its core culinary conventions, particularly lately.

Previously, one of many institution’s sights was its all-you-can-eat buffet. However, when public well being specialists discouraged shut contacts and inspired the very best requirements of hygiene, the age-old custom of scooping your personal meals from a chrome steel warming tray veered on taboo.

To pivot, Bangkok Backyard introduced the buffet on to clients within the type of a limiteless tasting menu.

“Our buffet type remains to be there, but it surely’s on the desk as an alternative of conventional,” Thetsombandith stated.

In corresponding vogue of delivering dishes on to clients, the restaurant took to the streets of Toronto within the type of a meals truck. After they went past the partitions of Bangkok Backyard, their menu did too.

A Thai burger and crispy rooster wings tossed in candy sriracha sauce have been launched, borrowing from Thai flavours, however in a brand new format.

“These gadgets we created through the pandemic simply as one thing new we wished to introduce to town,” Thetsombandith stated.

With the meals truck set to return this summer season, the institution will usher in 40 years of custom by celebrating evolution.


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