Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Restaurant Review: Han Chao

*Sorry no pictures for this review*

Location: 108 – 306 Aspen Glen Landing S.W

I had no idea what to expect when my parents pulled up in front of this restaurant. The name suggested Chinese to my mom, but my sister and I had somehow gotten it into our heads that it was Vietnamese food. That may have been something my dad had mentioned earlier, but I’m not sure if it was even related to his intention to take us here because when we went in, he seemed surprised that it was a Vietnamese restaurant.

My first impression of the menu was that it was very confused. One page featured Vietnamese fare, while the subsequent pages had Thai and Chinese options. Since I was planning on having Vietnamese food the next day with a friend, I decided to go for the Thai option. The Chinese options looked too much like food that could be had at any food court in the mall. In perusing the menu, we decided that the best option was to each choose one item off the menu and share it family style. I chose the Original Pad Thai with chicken, my sister decided on the Han Chao Sate Bowl, my mom picked a Green Curry with chicken, and my dad went with the Traditional Thai noodles with beef. I’m not sure why my dad decided to go with the Traditional Thai noodles because that dish turned out almost exactly the same as the Pad Thai.

When the dishes arrived, I remembered thinking that the presentation was very nice, but impractical. Some of the plates were fairly large (the Pad Thai and Traditional Thai noodles), but the Green Curry and Sate Bowl weren’t that large but still took up a lot of space because they decided to put it on a “saucer” plate. They were going to pull a second table over for us, but my dad put a stop to it. I was slightly annoyed because it would have been so much more spacious and relaxing to eat if I was able to eat without the fear of knocking something over. The Traditional Thai noodles and the Pad Thai came with a small dish of chili oil, peanuts, and lime. The first one I tried was the Traditional Thai noodles which reminded me of the Chinese Beef Chow Fun Noodles (乾炒牛河 pronounced gon chow ngau haw in Cantonese) but with a Thai twist on it. My only complaint was how coarsely chopped the green onions were; in short, they were huge and mostly raw. The Pad Thai had the same problem with the onions, so I essentially just picked them out and set them aside. When I had first read the menu’s description, I thought that the Pad Thai would be like the one we had at Wendel’s: egg, prawns, and a choice of a third meat. I should have read it more carefully. It said that the original one is made with prawns, but we can substitute it out for beef, chicken, or mixed veggies. I think it would have been so much better with the prawns, but overall, not a bad dish. My favourite would have to be the Green Curry my mom chose. She decided on coconut rice over plain rice and I was very happy with it. The rice was so fragrant and the coconut not overpowering in any way. In fact, the slight sweetness of the coconut rice gives it the depth it needs. The curry itself isn’t too spicy, but there is a detectable heat to it. My sister’s choice, I’d have to say, was the most disappointing dish of the evening. It couldn’t even pass for a good bún, let alone being sate anything. It wasn’t spicy or flavourful in any way. I’d have to say the bún served by the fast food place at the university put it to shame.

So, this place wasn’t too bad, but it also isn’t the best places I’ve been too. There were some good and some bad dishes, but all in all the experience wasn’t unpleasant. I’d most likely return, but maybe not for their bún. Based on this experience, I’d give it a 3/5.

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