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Urban Herbivore

Posted by Tanja / Reviewed on June 13, 2007 / review policy

Urban HerbivoreWhether you're looking for organic salads, vegetarian sandwiches, vegan soups or just a really healthy, flavourful (and filling) lunch, Urban Herbivore has got you covered.

Sure enough, Toronto is already a great place to find a good meatless lunch, but with the standard sandwich shops are still making a "veggie" sub out of the lettuce and tomatoes other sandwiches include as filler, this Kensington Market kitchen is redefining the Veg Sandwich.

A friend and I pop by in the early afternoon after nearly being sidelined by freshly baked chicken pupusas up the street. They smelled so good, but we were looking for a few more vitamins in this refuelling session. After examining both salad and sandwich options at Urban Herbivore, we order up 2 sandwiches: Avocado and Grilled Vegetable ($6.49).

Everything is made on-the-spot when you order, so we take a seat in the window of this house-turned-eatery and wait.

Urban HerbivoreFirst up: Avocado. Presented on a multi-grain bun (made in-house), it's packed with avocado, bruschetta-style chopped tomatoes, spinach, sprouts, etc, etc.... and it looks amazing.

"Well how is it?" I ask(as my friend had not even considered waiting 'til my food arrived).

"This is... (chomp chomp) so, (chomp) sooo, (chomp) GOOD. Can't you see I'm eating?"

She looked more like she was inhaling, but there was no time to grow jealous. My grilled vegetable sandwich was here.

As if fresh bread wasn't good enough, these sandwiches are also toasted. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and this one was stuffed with warm grilled eggplant, soft sweet potato, zucchini, chopped tomato, red peppers, shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts, spinach leaves, olive paste, and the list goes on (pictured at the top).

All that, and it wasn't even heavy or oily. Wow. If it hadn't been so incredibly filling I would have ordered up a second one just for the joy of it.

Finally, on the way out, I picked up some freshly squeezed pink lemonade. Very zesty, my friends. It was great (especially on a hot afternoon), but not one for the wimpy lemonade drinker! I'm pretty sure I looked like I was winking at strangers as I sipped!

All in all, herbivore or not, I'd highly recommend this lunch to anyone. It's practically got me trying to book work in the area just so I'll have an excuse to stop in.

Urban Herbivore Toronto

Discussion

54 Comments

Mark / June 13, 2007 at 01:59 pm
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Urban Herbivore does catering as well. We had a platter of their sandwiches, and to-die-for homemade dessert selections for an evening meeting and it was wonderful. And, tremendous value compared to other places our organization has used in the past. Healthful, delicious, economical - what's not to adore?!
Maria / June 13, 2007 at 02:42 pm
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I agree with the "veggie" sandwiches in other places. Everything you want to order has either cheese, or mayo or both. It is so difficult to find good non-dairy eats around town.
The avocado is my absolute favourite.
Tim / June 13, 2007 at 03:24 pm
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They have amazing custom-crafted salads too. Spelt muffins and fresh juice drinks.
Debbie / June 13, 2007 at 04:58 pm
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Holy cow, do those sandwiches look good. Drool.
Danielle / June 13, 2007 at 11:20 pm
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You're not even mentioning their DELICIOUS SOUP. $3.50 for a bowl which is a STEAL, and you can get the mason jars full of the yumminess too (if there is any left.)
Tanja / June 13, 2007 at 11:39 pm
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mmm, soup. We didn't have any on this occasion as it was just too hot out to be tempting, but noticed the fridgeful of soups, sauces, salads, etc available. Such a great idea. Maybe I'll pass by and pick some up today...
Chris / June 14, 2007 at 02:21 am
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I see you mentioned 'olive paste', at the bottom of your list. Really it should have been mentioned in CAPS LOCK at the top as it is the most vile and horrifying spread in the known universe. And even though I like Urban Herbivore on every other count, they really dropped the ball on the olive paste/tapenade situation. Last time I was there, nowhere did I see a mention of the noxious, palate-killing condiment. That shit overpowered my sandwich. I say there should be mandatory labelling when it comes to a paste that ethnically-cleanses my tastebuds. Better yet, all olives and their pastes should be banned (except for olive oil, of course). If you agree, then you should join the "Anti-Tapenade/Olive (Olive Oil Excluded) Facebook Group".

Down with Tapenade!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2325928153
Tanja / June 14, 2007 at 02:26 am
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LOL!! Alright folks, you've been warned.

In the meanwhile though, can I have your portion? I could eat olive tapenade by the SPOONFUL. Mmmmm.
Alexandra / June 19, 2007 at 11:55 am
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Will definitely need to check out the place on my weekly visit to Kensington. I'm still drooling over that grilled sandwich...

Btw, I LOVE olives! Just came back from a year in Spain and didn't even know olives could come in such countless varities... IN Spain, one doesn't simply choose an olive oil by brand or whether it's extra virgin or not. One chooses by the kind of olive. There's an entire row in the supermarkets or olive oils made with every kind of olive. Most ppl buy large 4-5 litre jars for home consumption... ok, I digress...
joe / January 17, 2008 at 11:59 am
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You should look around and notice that this restaurant is filthy. Just look under the cooking equipment, on top of the refrigerator and in the corners and sides of the space. They use inferior ingredients and 99.9% is non-organic including the greens, potatoes, peppers, and non-filtered tap water... and you are paying organic prices for the dishes. Go to a regular restaurant and just buy what suits you it is a lot cheaper for getting the same produces.

The joke is on the buyers.
mmm / August 3, 2008 at 07:57 am
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I was there a few days ago and ordered the sandwich. Contrary to all the ranting about the olive paste, it was very delicious. you can substitute other toppings for the standard ones if they don't suit your taste. I ordered an avocado, bruschetta, artichoke heart and radish sandwich on whole grain. It was delicious+AMAZING (and I'm not even a vegetarian)! and HUGE. For 8.50 it's worth splitting with a friend since you won't be able to finish the entire thing yourself.
Jo replying to a comment from Chris / January 23, 2009 at 12:21 am
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Clearly you were raised on Kraft Dinner. The word philistine comes to mind!
Darcy K. / March 31, 2009 at 08:37 pm
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Soup, sandwich and fresh juice came to $18 today. Everything tasted good.

Sometimes your order isn't ready all at once - but that's pretty typical of many places in Kensington.

Would like to see at least a small focus on organic. I would pay extra for that. Don't think anything is organic currently.
Aubrey / May 16, 2009 at 09:39 am
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This joint is awesome! The staff are friendly & attentive. The food is wonderful. I'll be definitely making this a regular hangout.
Hays / June 22, 2009 at 05:13 pm
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Had one of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies. Cant wait to go back.
leo / November 18, 2009 at 07:13 am
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i love their grain bowls. mmm
but their juices/lemoades are sooooooo sour for my taste. makes my tongue burn half way
JG / January 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm
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The spelt sweet potato muffins are ridiculously delicious... will be your breakfast and snack! Grain bowls beat others in town hands down.
Jen / January 26, 2010 at 06:14 am
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Their salads are priced decent, $8.50, for the amount you get. Way better than Fresh.
BobblyHead / February 11, 2010 at 04:10 pm
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SWEET POTATO DATE MUFFINS. You have to try them. I am not kidding - I don't kid about these things.

Seriously, since I've had a muffin from there, I've been hooked. I live about a block away from Herbivore, so have possibly too much easy access to the muffins at this place. It's like a crack addiction and it's pretty well where my money goes.

Anyway, muffins aside, their grain bowls and sandwiches are pretty awesome too. Highly recommend getting the celery root, bbq tofu, and seitian as toppings for your bowl.

Sandwiches. The only thing I have tried so far that I didn't really like was the "handwich" which is basically a hand-shaped bun with toasted coconut, tomato, lettuce, and cashew butter on the inside. It was $6 ($2.50 cheaper than their other sandwiches), but I wasn't that happy about the lack of sandwich fillings. The $8.50 sandwiches are loaded full and I can usually only finish half in a sitting.

Kay, final word - seriously, muffins. Try the muffins.
BobblyHead / February 11, 2010 at 04:14 pm
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I forgot to mention in my last post that I am desperately trying to replicate the muffins at home. It's because I'm moving out of the city soon - I'm pretty sure I'll go through withdrawal shakes once I leave.

My question - Does anyone have a decent recipe for this?!
robin / May 11, 2010 at 05:02 pm
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Its an absolute favorite of mine..I hate the fact that my current job is not close enough to UH. I wish they open 5 more lcoations in downtown.. like 'Fresh' (which is good too... but UH is way better on its own menu.. no body beats that..)
snut / June 9, 2010 at 03:38 pm
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Ew!

Look at their Dine Safe record and tell me if you want to eat there anymore: http://app.toronto.ca/food2/DineSafeMain?userRequest=view_history&;ESTABLISHMENT_ID=10199013

cvg / June 22, 2010 at 10:27 am
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Someone above noted that they do catering. I tried to have my event catered but they do not deliver.
cvg / June 22, 2010 at 10:27 am
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Someone above noted that they do catering. I tried to have an event catered but they do not deliver, which means they don't really cater.
emmy / July 12, 2010 at 07:48 pm
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so disappointing...
the last two times i've been the staff was super unfriendly (especially today, it was like i was bothering the guy when i asked him what the soup of the day was, i didnt see because he was standing in front of the sign, but he just pointed to the board and said "umm it's always right here."
they were missing loads of stuff, which they didn't bother to say when i ordered my salad, so when i got to the bar to start choosing, they kept saying "oh, we are out of that, that too, etc"

im all about supporting vegan restos but i won't be going back!
Yvonne / August 9, 2010 at 10:18 am
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I've been to UH once, and had the "handwich" just because it it was cheaper than a lot of the other stuff on the menu. I must say it was pretty good and was like no other sandwiches i've had before! Fillings were: cashew butter, coconut, lettuce, tomatoes, and olive tapenade i think. It was really filling and i'd definitely go back to try their other sandwiches and grain bowls, as recommended by other customers. However, for the high prices, i wish that the foods are organic so i know for sure i'm getting my money's worth. But thumbs up for the fact that theire foods are 100% healthy and doesnt lack in taste =)
Kris / September 11, 2010 at 06:02 pm
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tried this place for the first time today and i was very disappointed. ordered the grilled veggie sandwich, the bread was ok, veggies were soggy, the spreads they used were decent but overall tasted pretty bland. it was $8.50 which seems extremely overpriced for a mediocre sandwich. the people working were awful, either extremely rude or just out of it. won't be going back, not worth the money or hype.
josh / December 19, 2010 at 07:16 pm
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i would love to frequent this place more often, but the staff are a complete turn off. They have basically talked themselves out of sales with me on 2 occasions. Rude, Un-attentive and lackluster is putting it nicely.
Giuliana / February 24, 2011 at 03:24 pm
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Urban Herbivore is such a fabulous and friendly spot. I can't get enough, but it indeed is very filling.
J / May 15, 2011 at 06:38 pm
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The first time i went to the place, it was closed. Turns out their hours are "9am - sunset"... i don't think the hours are mentioned anywhere on their site. The second time we went, i got the sesame tempeh sandwich and my friend got the quinoa grain bowl salad. Both were absolutely delicious... the environment was okay, but i guess the place could use a little clean-up. Also, the sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls are currently still priced at $8.50. (Haven't gone up further yet.)
heather / July 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm
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I can't stress this enough:

-be prepared for attitude from the staff here
-don't bother going on the weekends, it's a zoo
-If you are wearing leather or carrying a leather bag be prepared for bad service.

Roctop replying to a comment from heather / July 27, 2011 at 09:02 am
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Thanks for the info, Heather. Maybe I should wear leather gloves and tell them I hug trees. The gloves keep the sap off my hands, just like the sap servers there.
Tim / August 13, 2011 at 07:22 pm
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I love this place. Go an hour before they close, however, as they regularly run out of bread. It is no fun going out of your way to a sandwich place only to get there and hear they don't have any bread. With no exaggeration this has happened to me three times this month (August 2011). I went to Fressen last month and they too ran out of bread. The bread is great - MAKE MORE OF IT.
ING / August 24, 2011 at 03:57 pm
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Just tried their BBQ tofu sandwich and it was simply amazing. Im not a big vegi/ vegan type food lover cause i heart meaty type food but this was one of the larges most tasty filling non meat sandwiches i ever had. HIGHLY recommend!!



Jill / January 3, 2012 at 10:22 am
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Sounds great. I wonder if there is a gluten-free sandwich option?
Janey / February 10, 2012 at 04:52 pm
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Well that was disappointing. I've been here several times before, and have always loved it. This time...I don't know, they really dropped the ball. I think they've changed their bread - the new bread is coated in flour, making my face and hands also coated in flour every time I took a bite. They used to serve to-go sandwiches in boxes. This time I got a bag, which resulted in, surprisingly, a bag of sandwich ingredients. Messy and irritating, at almost NINE DOLLARS a sandwich. I got the tempeh -- my sandwich tasted only of salt, and an overpowering soggy old sprout taste. Every other time, it has come with avocado (not this time) and sliced tomatoes (not diced?? Diced tomatoes don't stay in sandwiches. Part of the reason I ended up with a bag-o-sandwich.)

Fuck, the more I write, the more I realize I should go get my money back. That's a lot of money for a sandwich I couldn't eat.

The cookie was awesome though. Thanks cookie, for saving the day.
James / February 14, 2012 at 05:47 pm
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Just ate at the Eaton Center location. The staff was incredibly rude, and the sandwich was crap. I wont be returning.
Neville / February 29, 2012 at 04:13 pm
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I have to concur with the comments about the rude service. The food was palatable.
PriyankaJ / April 3, 2012 at 11:58 am
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Just trekked there for take out... got back to my desk and there was no bbq tofu in my grain bowl! so disappointing
Paul / May 11, 2012 at 01:58 pm
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The staff here are rude and surly.

It wasn't just one of the staff members we approached, it was the server and the check out attendant. Not sure why there was an attitude problem, we were very pleasant.

Plus a regular salad bowl was $11 with tax! Seriously?!

Awful place. Avoid at all costs.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Paul / May 11, 2012 at 03:42 pm
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That's bad. Maybe someone should paste a KEEP OUT sign on the front door. Effin' idiots like that are big losers - next time go in and DEMAND RESPECT! Your money pays their wages so a customer is ALWAYS the servers BOSS! Think about it.
Kelly / May 17, 2012 at 03:23 pm
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So disappointed with this place. I started working in the market last summer and I went constantly. I found most of the staff to be helpful, but I think that's because I was a regular. I went back one day and suddenly it cost 11.45 for a bowl! I finally caved after months and went back despite the high price to find out that if you want quinoa in a grain bowl it's a dollar more. So maddening. Not going back.
A / May 24, 2012 at 03:57 pm
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To those complaining about the staff:

My experience has been that the staff at the Eaton Centre location are much friendlier than those in Kensington Market, some of whom can be surly at times. I avoid that location as much as possible only because of the way I've been treated there.
Ivanov replying to a comment from A / May 25, 2012 at 08:38 am
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Any fool of a server that gets rude and surly might find themselves washing tofu and quinoa out of their hair and eyes, just sayin'.
tina / July 3, 2012 at 03:04 pm
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The sandwiches are amazing and the salads and rice bowl decent. HOWEVER - the rice bowl has too much rice and too few veggies added, and so are over-priced ($~10) for what they are ($1.50 in cost!). The sandwiches are made by staff that do not wash their hand frequently enough, have long finger-nails and do not wear gloves. I will not eat here again - it's simply too pricey and too risky.

Also, it seems to always take them 15-20 min at least to pull a bowl or sandwich together, despite the fact that they have all the cuttings in front of them, cafeteria-style. This place does NOT have the feel of a restaurant even if they'd like to think they are.
a h / July 17, 2012 at 09:57 am
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I went to Urban Herbivore in Kensington yesterday, and tried to order a sandwich. I was told that they had "stopped making sandwiches for the day" because it was 40 minutes before closing. ????? what?? I asked when this policy had come into place (because I frequently go there between 6 and 7pm), and she said it had always been like that. Completely untrue.
Also, YOU'RE A RESTAURANT. If you're open, your one job is to make the food on your menu. Am I just coming in to hang out with you? If you want to stop making food at 6pm, you need to close at that time—don't make people go all the way to your restaurant after work to be turned away 40 minutes before you close.
I've never heard anything like this before.
Terrible service.
K.ate / January 21, 2013 at 11:32 am
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I have been vegan for about 9 months now and have been to Urban Herbivore on about 3 occasions. I find their food to be satisfying in size but absolutely mediocre when it comes to execution and seasonin with regards to the bowls and sandwiches. Good tomato soup though.
I do, however, say it is one of the better vegan places in Toronto simply for lack of option.

Overall be prepared for:
-Horrid service, the cooks hanging out in the back seem friendlier to be honest.
-Sky high prices for non-organic veggies and grain.
-Great bread (last time I was there anyways)
-Sour juices that are, again, overpriced.
-uncomfortable seating
-Good tomato soup


tris / January 24, 2013 at 07:26 pm
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Atrocious service. Truly appalling lack of any basic concept of polite, efficient service. Yummy food, and I will return once they automate! F U counter-gal with tattoos on neck. Though, upon consideration, your laziness and slacker attitude has clearly not done you any favours and never will. Perhaps I should be more generous. Hmm, no. Won't be back.
Oddlottie replying to a comment from tris / January 25, 2013 at 11:15 am
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Maybe the FU counter girl would like to have some hot sauce splashed on her tattoos. Bad service paybacks help the management weed out the crap they sometimes hire...
john / May 12, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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went there last weekend, sandwich prices have been bumped up to 10$
Carl / July 15, 2013 at 12:30 am
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I went to the UH in the Eaton Centre, and I was very pleased. I ordered a coconut curry stew with tempeh and quinoa. First of all it was delicious, and the portion size was just huge. I could barely finish it and I am a big eater.

The staff were absolutely wonderful and friendly. I told the person serving me that it was on my bucket list to eat at a vegetarian restaurant, since I've been veg for ~13 years and never had the opportunity. He said since it was on my bucket list the drink was on the house.

I loved everything about it, and I guarantee I will be going back. I have much more that I need to try there.
DD / October 25, 2013 at 06:47 pm
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Nice to know I'm not the only one that got rude service. I asked a question about one of the dishes, and got a rude answer, as if I should already know.

Regarding the food, the tempeh on my salad seemed burnt (how does that happen?), but the muffin (sweet potato?) was tasty and quite filling.
Drea / November 6, 2013 at 01:35 pm
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I've been to the UH at the eaton center a couple times. ordered their Moroccan stew with quinoa and it was amazing! I also tried their BBQ tofu sandwich, and let me tell you- I couldn't fit it all in my mouth fast enough! It was AMAZING!! So tempted to go back and get a second haha. Tried the green juice, didn't like it at all, not for me! I have to agree the prices are a bit more expensive than you would think, especially for the juices! & yes staff at the eaton center are very friendly!
monica / March 23, 2014 at 04:40 pm
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Went to kensington 2-3 years ago and thought the food looked/sounded fantastic but refused the food prepared for me.
What a horror....guy on cash and checking his phone then makes our sandwich (no washing up), then is rude/curt when I point out the significant hygiene problem. He also used the clean area counter rag to wipe his hands and the knife and the cutting board.
Couldn't believe it. Then a worker on lunch breaks comes from the back still chewing: picks up tongs and fills her used bowl (with used fork inside)from the "clean area". No washing of hands and the tongs are going in and out of her bowl..don't know what is contacting what. Made a call to Public Health but latest public health inspection seems to indicates hygiene still not a priority(no soap in washing area).

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