Sneak Peek: Foreign Concept

Chef Duncan Ly's latest venture highlights classic Asian flavours with upscale, modern twists.

Trout Cha ca la Vong.

All photos by Jennifer Hamilton


Last night, I and some fellow members of the food media were treated to a preview tasting of some of the dishes that will be on the menu at Foreign Concept, hosted at Wu & McHugh, a Chinese antique furniture store. 

The much-anticipated Foreign Concept is what chef-owner Duncan Ly is calling "alternative Asian dining," and based on the dishes we tasted last night that's exactly what diners can expect. All the fresh, bright flavours of classic Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese cuisine are there — galangal, coconut, sambal, soy, citrus, fresh herbs — but they're layered in creative combinations and integrated with modernist techniques, meaning every bite of every dish tastes a tiny bit different.

Working with Ly are executive chef Jinhee Lee and chef Michael Nop, who recently won gold and bronze respectively at the Gold Medal Plates competition. Ly previously worked with Lee at Raw Bar, and with Nop at Chef's Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn. The restaurant's design is the work of Alykhan Velji, who has infused the space with dark wood, green marble and terracotta tones for a look that blends classic Asian elements with contemporary comforts.

The restaurant set to open in early December and I, for one, can hardly wait to taste these dishes again.

Thai-style butternut squash slaw with salmon dust, galangal and coconut.


Heritage Angus beef tataki with Asian pear soy viniagrette and horseradish.


Vietnamese-style Scotch egg with red onion and chili aioli.


Trout Cha ca la Vong with dill, mango and rice noodles.


Passionfruit Pavlova with tapioca and coconut.

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