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Posts tagged ‘pho’

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.

pho huong viet interior.jpg

Pho Huong Viet interior

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Pho Huong Viet interior

fried squid.jpg

Fried Squid

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Assorted Skewers

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

 

 

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Restaurant Review: K & B Pho

Location: 806 Centre St NE

We used to come to this location back when it was Happy Hill Restaurant for dim sum. Though it was often on the noisy side, this place was always packed and served some of the most delicious dim sum I have ever had. Unfortunately that closed down and became a sushi restaurant, which I never ended up visiting and now it’s a Vietnamese restaurant.

While scanning the menu, the Cambodian Noodle Soup caught my eye. The last time I had had this was at Giang Nam before it closed down. For those who have never had cambodian noodles, they’re very similar to sweet potato or tapioca noodles (also called crystal or glass noodles), but they’re not nearly as chewy. So of course, I had to order this. Little did I know I was about to be sorely disappointed. My sister had her usual: Bun Bo Hue and my dad ordered his usual Beef Stew with rice or egg noodle (only he said the wrong number and ended up with a Seafood Noodle Soup). My mom went for a rice dish, the BBQ Pork Chop on Broken Rice.

Lately, my dad has a thing with ordering a starter when we go for Vietnamese food and it’s always spring rolls. The spring rolls here were actually quite decent and filled with meat rather than fillers (cellophane noodles, vegetables, oil).

For those who have had pho, Cambodian noodles, or Chinese rice noodles, you would know from the second you put it your mouth that something wasn’t right. There was something off about the texture. It wasn’t exactly mushy, but it was soft. And though it didn’t “bleed” into the soup, it was starchy. They didn’t do too badly on the soup. It both smelled and tasted exactly as I had remembered them. There was a fairly good meat to noodle ratio (but of course I prefer more noodles to meat so there was too much meat for my liking). Unlike most places that serve Cambodian noodles soups, they chose to use kidney rather than liver and slice it thinner than I’m used to. I think the choice to do that is because kidney has a much milder taste than liver and is a lot smoother. Valerie’s Bun Bo Hue wasn’t at all like the one we usually have a Pho Huong Viet (I haven’t done a food review on this place because I usually forget or so packed that we just want to eat and get gone so I don’t have time to take pictures, but it is a really good restaurant like my favourite Vietnamese restaurant of all time). It wasn’t spicy like it should be and the noodles were too soft. My dad’s dish was ordinary, so I have nothing really to say. It’s honestly just noodles and seafood, which everyone knows the taste of. The broth was just the same as the staple in all Chinese noodle houses, so it was decent. My mom’s dish was the highlight of the evening. It was huge for our/her standards. In fact, she was unable to finish it all. The rice came with a “salad” on the side and I’d have to say that it’s one of the healthier feeling options on the menu.

Having said all that (or complained about it), I would return to this restaurant to try the vermicelli and woven vermicelli dishes. Since it’s days as Happy Hill Restaurant, it’s remodeled the dining area and now looks very sleek. However, the bathroom has not been remodeled and remains the dirty, dingy, dungeon it was before. From this experience, I’d rate this place a 3/5.

spring rolls

Spring Rolls

bun bo hue

Bun Bo Hue

Broken Rice

BBQ Pork on Broken Rice

Cambodian noodles

Cambodian Noodle Soup

 

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