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Posts tagged ‘bún’

Restaurant Review: Pho Huong Viet

Locations: 3855 17 Ave SW
1829 Ranchlands Blvd NW

*Photos are from Ranchlands location*

This place is one of my family’s favourite Vietnamese restaurants to go to. This is one of the only Vietnamese places I know that is packed regardless of what time of day it is. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that both locations are very small and therefore fills up quickly. When we go, we usually go for dinner even though Vietnamese food is usually like a lunch thing for my family. I’m actually surprised that the staff don’t know us and our orders by now since we go so much, but to be fair, they must see hundreds of people a day and remembering the orders of one family isn’t realistic.

Each time we go, we order the same thing, or at least rotate through a few menu items in particular. My sister, for example, will always go for the Bun Bo Hue (or Bún Bò Huể) Bun Bo Hue doesn’t feature pho, the noodles in the bun bo hue are rounder and smoother than udon (and not as fat and starchy), they’re actually pretty similar to silver needle noodles. The soup base is a beautiful red hinting at the heat behind the dish. However, this kind of spiciness is different from a lot of the other kinds of spiciness you’d expect from phos. For me, I have one go to pho dish and one go to bún dish. If I’m having pho, my mom and I both go for the Huong Viet’s special sate beef noodle soup. It’s one of the best sate soups I’ve had and all others fall flat in comparison to it. The bún dish I normally go for is the combo three (B6-which is grilled shrimp paste, BBQ pork & spring rolls) because it’s the only one with grilled shrimp paste, which is one of my favourite things ever (Pho Kim has a pretty good variation of this; shrimp paste wrapped around a sugar cane stalk, a beautiful combination of sweet and salty). I can’t seem to recall what my dad usually orders, but he loves beef stew, so that’s usually what he gets, otherwise he gets the same as my sister. Something I like to do with my mom is I order the bún and my mom orders the pho and we share, that way we can have the best of both.

In terms of appetizers, we’ve pretty much tried everything. It may be my memory, but I think the 17th Ave location’s calamari has less breading/batter on the outside making it more enjoyable than the Ranchland location. Calamari will always be my favourite and I continue to look for more opportunities to try all the calamari at the restaurants I go to.

In terms of accessiblity, both locations are pretty hard to access. The Ranchland location is up a set of pretty steep stairs. And while the 17th Ave location doesn’t have stairs, it has a step that is kind of hard to get up onto. Furthermore, both entrances are pretty narrow and fitting a wheelchair or even a walker through is hard.

This is my go to place for Vietnamese food that has me coming back time and time again. I don’t even mind the wait here. We’re usually in and out pretty quick and the food is always good. It’s definitely not fine dining, but who cares when it’s happiness in a bowl. I’d give this place a 4.5/5.

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Pho Huong Viet interior

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Pho Huong Viet interior

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Fried Squid

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Assorted Skewers

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Super Combo Four: BBQ chicken, BBQ pork, charbroiled prawns and spring rolls

 

 

Restaurant Review: Han Chao

*Sorry no pictures for this review*

Location: 108 – 306 Aspen Glen Landing S.W
Website: http://www.hanchao.ca/#one

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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