Babu Toronto

Babu

Babu is a strip mall takeout spot serving up some of the city’s best Sri Lankan and Indian food for cheap, to consistently long lineups.

In fact, they’re one of the most popular takeout spots in the GTA overall, not even just for South Asian food. They make their own naan, hoppers and more in house, by hand, steps from where they’re served. They do their own baking, butchery, breakfast and sweets as well.

Babu scarborough

There really is a Babu, and he’s been running this and another location in Markham for over 25 years. What used to be one unit in Scarborough has now expanded to five, amalgamated into one long narrow space.

Lamprais, literally lump rice, is a Sri Lankan dish influenced by the Dutch-Bergher culture. Rice with veggies ($7.45), meat ($8.45) or seafood ($8.95) incorporates five different curries and ingredients like dried egg and eggplant pickle, wrapped in a banana leaf and baked.

Babu TorontoThe name comes from the Dutch word lomprijst, meaning a packet of food. Ours has a small amberjack steak, and because we happened to arrive on the day of the Sri Lankan new year we go for mutton for our meat option.

Babu Toronto

It’s overwhelming in portion size, seemingly enough for a whole family, but this package is bursting with flavour, aroma, and steamy heat.

Babu Toronto

They do Indian dosa here, but also Sri Lankan dosa, which is rounder and smaller in shape and more yellow in colour, with a more spongy, fluffy, pancake-like texture. Most dosa top out around $5 and are served with chutneys and sambar stew.

Babu Toronto

Indian dosa are much larger, fluffy on the inside and crispy and buttery on the outside, served in typical forms such as masala dosa ($4.95) with the usual potato and lentil filling: bright yellow and steaming.

Babu Toronto

Kothu roti is another standby here, made with veggies, curry, spices, egg and roti that’s hand chopped on the griddle. The mutton ($6.95) is particularly spicy.

Babu Toronto

Plain naan will set you back $1.25, with butter naan going for $1.50 and whole wheat or garlic naan for $1.95, all baked in a charcoal tandoor oven.

Babu Toronto

Milk hoppers ($1) are delicate fermented rice batter wafers cooked into a bowl shape using special vessels, served with sweet, light coconut milk for the “milk” version, also served plain with sambol (75 cents) or with egg ($1.75).

Babu Toronto

They also do short eats and have a decent variety of frozen and refrigerated items.

Babu Toronto

It’s impossible to try most of what’s here in one go. Though at these prices, your wallet could probably handle it, and with hours from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week there’s ample time.

Babu Toronto

Photos by

Hector Vasquez


Babu

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