Matty Matheson’s mentor and co-host Master Rang on his favourite Toronto Vietnamese restaurants

Soup season is upon us, people! Get slurpin'.

If you’re a fan of Matty Matheson’s food adventure series Dead Set On Life on VICELAND, then you’re already acquainted with the beloved local chef’s mentor and co-host Rang Nguyen.

Matheson met Nguyen after he scored his first Toronto chef job at classic French restaurant Le Sélect when he was in his early 20s. He preferred to be called Master Rang, and he was ruthless, calling Matheson “Fat Boy” (now a frequently used nickname) and screaming like an army sergeant – while also teaching him everything he knows about French cuisine, like how to make cassoulet.

Now, they’re tight, and in Episodes 1 and 2 of the latest season, Master Rang brings Matheson to his hometown, a fish sauce mecca in South Vietnam. 

After eating their way through the region, they move on to the sophisticated kitchens of Hanoi, where traditional Vietnamese cuisine meets French influences, as a result of a long history of colonization that lasted remained until the country gained its independence in 1954.

After watching the first two episodes of Season 2, all I wanted to do was stuff my face with the best Vietnamese food I could get my hands on. So I asked Master Rang’s where to go in Toronto. Here’s what he said:

1. Pho Linh

You’re spoiled for choice at the corner of Sheridan and College, but Rang says you can’t miss out on Pho Linh’s Bún bò Huế, a spicy noodle soup with beef and vermicelli, and bánh cuốn, a thin sheet of rice filled with delicious pork and mushrooms.

2. Pho Con Bo 

Seneca students: this spot will help get you through the winter. Try the com soun nuong, with rice, a fried egg and porkchop, or bún riêu, a soup with seasoned beef balls, tofu and vermicelli.

3. Com Pho The Ky

Get thee to Concord, and order Com Pho The Ky’s Pho Hà Nội, a beef broth-based vermicelli soup, and Bun Cha Ha Noi, a grilled pork and noodle dish.

Honourable mentions:

Don’t miss Soup’s On! Toronto’s best bowls | @katierowboat

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