Green Papaya
By Randi Chapnik Myers

A fresh start

When Andre Yu first arrived in Canada from his native China, he didn’t know what to expect. What he did know was that there were better opportunities for business here. “I wanted to find a place where I could give my family a new life, a new start,” says Andre. “So we packed up and moved to Toronto.”

Once settled in downtown Toronto, Andre found that there weren’t as many jobs in his field (the textile industry) as he had hoped. But he also found to his delight that the city is beautifully multicultural. “There are so many people from all different countries, eating all sorts of foods,” he says. “So why not try the restaurant business?”

Why not indeed.

The locals around here depend on a great meal at Green Papaya and that’s what I make sure they get – every time. - Andre Yu, owner
Green Papaya owner poses with his daughter in the restaurant dining room.
Andre’s daughter, Anna, sometimes helps her father at the restaurant.
The Green Papaya serves up heaping plates of pad thai.

Cooking craze

Finding work wasn’t hard, Andre says. He got his start applying for jobs in Japanese restaurants, and was soon slicing and dicing fish as a sushi chef. The experience in the kitchen was invaluable, he adds.

“I realized I love using fresh ingredients to create delicious food for people,” Andre says. “I found it was so easy to make people happy and that’s a great feeling.” He also loved working in the Yonge and Eglinton area, where there are a lot of young, vibrant foodies on the hunt for different kinds of cuisine to try.

So in 2013, when he was offered a job as a chef at Green Papaya, a popular Vietnamese-Thai restaurant nearby, he grabbed it. Two years later, when the owner was ready to move on, Andre bought the business but he never left the kitchen.

Green Papaya is known for it's affordable and authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

The real deal

Green Papaya is 2,000 square feet of simple, clean decor that’s always packed with regulars and newcomers who can’t get enough of the affordable three-course meal combos. The authentic cuisine, always made from the freshest ingredients, spices and sauces, is the big draw, Andre says. The restaurant has even won awards for its big portions of fantastic food.

As owner and head chef, Andre prepares Thai specialties that customers love, and come back for again and again. Menu standouts include pad Thai, drunken garlic tiger shrimp, wok chicken, pho noodles, curry dishes and so much more. There is no MSG in the food and the extensive list of gluten-free and vegetarian options gives customers variety and choice.

All of it is made by Andre and another chef, and served with pride by one of many servers, including Andre's daughter Anna, who works alongside her dad. There are takeout, delivery and catering options too, so that customers can enjoy Green Papaya at home.

“I just love cooking for everyone and seeing them smiling when they leave,” Andre says. “The locals around here depend on a great meal at Green Papaya and that’s what I make sure they get every time.”

Serving up Thai and Vietnamese fusion dishes, Green Papaya is a popular spot on Yonge Street.
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