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  • English,
252 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5A 2L1
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Opening Hours *Holiday hours

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Meet the owner

Since opening in the spring of 2015, Kanpai has quickly garnered a reputation as one of Toronto’s it spots. Most nights, a throng of hopefuls wait to snag a table at this hip-hop blaring Taiwanese snack bar.

Kanpai hasn't any pretensions or airs of authenticity. The restaurant nods to Taiwan’s tumultuous and multicultural heritage and looks at how the centuries-old cuisine fits into Toronto’s present. The snack bar’s star dish—the Taiwanese fried chicken—embodies this east-meets-west ethos.

When a plate of fried chicken hits the table, conversation ceases. Not for long, mind you, as the succulent bird gets gobbled up with gusto. Although the dish is billed as Taiwanese Fried Chicken (TFC), deep-fried drums and thighs like these aren’t something you’d find in Taipei. “There, fried chicken is pounded into a cutlet, breaded, fried and stuffed in a paper bag," explains owner Trevor Liu.

Read the story of Kanpai Snack Bar

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Appears in 5 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Top 10 dishes of 2015

Top 10 dishes of 2015

Fingers of the sea: How the kitchen got this dish to resemble your average plate of sweet potato fries is anyone's guess, but seasoned fish paste with a zesty Taiwanese tartar sauce is a real unexpected treat, not to mention a true original. It's mind boggling how food this inexpensive can have such culinary intrigue. All I can say is how did we do without it for so long?

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New restaurants creating a buzz in Toronto's east end

New restaurants creating a buzz in Toronto's east end

Kanpai Snack bar is spicing things up in Cabbagetown with their Taiwanese xiaochi (small-sized street foods). Kanpai brings in a sauna-styled open restaurant that’s very well suited for groups. Typically sold at night markets in Taiwan, xiaochi is similar in concept to tapas. Sweet, spicy and salty mingle in these small, but meticulously crafted plates of kimchi, prawn salad, and chicken schnitzel. Plates range from about $4 to $8 and are complex in their inspiration, pulling from Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch cuisine.

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Toronto's coziest restaurants and bars

Toronto's coziest restaurants and bars

Torontonians know well the solitary vibes that strike during the winter months, but if you’re desperate for a lively atmosphere and a catch-up with pals, Kanpai is the spot to do it. With communal tables, amber industrial lighting, and warm architectural wood detailing on the walls, Kanpai is the marriage of a Canadian cabin and a Taiwanese snack bar. The menu is stocked with drool-inducers like fried chicken and OG bao (an original night market treat, served with pickled cabbage, 5-spice pork, and teriyaki shoyu), while cocktails with titles like the Montauk Tame Impala will be hard to overlook ;)

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