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Posts tagged ‘spring rolls’

Restaurant Review: Noodle World

Location: 4909 17 Ave SE

I’ve been going to this restaurant ever since I was a kid, so I thought why not write a review. Noodle World is one of the last few places that still serves Cambodian clear noodles, better known as glass noodles. I’m not really sure how they came to be known as Cambodian noodles in the first place and haven’t really been able to find an answer, so if anyone out there knows, please leave a comment.

At Noodle World, they offer this dish with a choice of Cambodian noodle or egg noodles. In my opinion, egg noodles are the standard and really nothing special, so I go for the clear noodles, but also, I love their chewy texture. When I order this, I always ask for the soup on the side so that the noodles don’t get overcooked and soft from sitting in the soup. I, then add a little bit of the soup in so that the noodles aren’t sticking together and make it a little easier to eat. This dish is a very porky dish. There’s sliced pork, pork liver, and ground pork. There are also shrimps and a quail’s egg. It comes with an assortment of vegetables, usually green onion, bean sprouts, and Chinese celery. Noodle World tosses in a bit of soy sauce to the dry noodles, but not the soup version of this dish, which is great because the pork is largely unseasoned so it provides it isn’t completely bland. When I have this, I like to throw in some chili oil (not so much the oil as the pepper pulp…not sure what to call it really).

Of course, my dad has to order a starter and since we usually get a noodle soup, the logical ones to order are either the salad rolls or the spring rolls. Generally speaking, if I order vermicelli (bun), I will never get salad rolls because they’re pretty much the same thing. The salad rolls are my way of letting me have both noodle soup and vermicelli without overeating or having too many leftovers.

We used to go to Giang Nam (11-222 Centre Street NE) for this all the time. I’ve gone so much that the restaurant owner came to know us. Unfortunately, it’s since closed down and I’m really sad that I won’t get to share my love for this place with other people anymore. The other place that has these glass noodles is a place called Dong Khanh (2066 18 Avenue NE). While Dong Khanh’s liver is fresher and they include heart and kidney, I prefer Noodle World’s preparation.

I absolutely love this place and if I came here more I’d try more of their menu, but because we come so infrequently, I go with my go-to dish every single time.

I’ve always had a good experience here and I will always come back here. I would rate this place a 4/5.

Spring Rolls
Cambodian Clear Noodles with Soup on the Side

Restaurant Review: Tamarind Vietnamese Grill and Noodle House

Location: 106, 1111 – 6 Avenue SW

Firstly, I’d like to just point out that this is a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown. I’m aware that there is an East Indian restaurant also called Tamarind in the Panorama area (which is excellent), but this is not that. I’ve been to the Tamarind in Panorama, but never written a review because I’ve only ever ordered it on Skip-the-Dishes and I reserve my reviews for actual sit down meals in restaurants.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on the thing that makes this place unlike any other Vietnamese restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to my fair share of Vietnamese restaurants in my life, but I’ve never been to a vegetarian/vegan one. I simply googled “vegetarian restaurants downtown” and this one popped up. This turned out to be a great place to come to with Julia.

As they didn’t have a website, I had to rely on perusing the pictures of the menus posted on zomato. From the pictures online, my first impression wasn’t great. The menu was printed on regular paper stapled together. To me that didn’t really scream a restaurant that was successful. Yes, I’m aware how judgy that sounds, but you’ll be relieved to know that this restaurant was able to change my opinion with how amazing the food was. I don’t say this to be rude or ignorant, but I never expected vegetarian/vegan food to flavourful and close to the real thing. Perhaps it’s my past exposures to vegetarian/vegan food have been poor representations of what it is. Either way, I really enjoyed this place.

We started with two appetizers: spring rolls and paradise rolls. The spring rolls were thinner than I was used to, but that didn’t make it any less delicious. They were fried to perfection and didn’t leave extensive oily residue on my fingers. The rolls were filled with tofu, bean thread noodles (this was actually just mung bean noodles), mung bean, taro root and onion. The combination of ingredients made for a very “meaty” filling, despite not containing any meat at all. The thing I was most curious about was how they would imitate the fish sauce (nuoc mam). Their version was what they called a lime vinaigrette. I, honestly, could not tell the difference! The paradise rolls, also typically called salad rolls were filled with bean thread noodles (which was actually vermicelli), tofu, taro root, roasted ground rice, fresh lettuce and basil. This was also served with the lime vinaigrette dipping sauce. Of the two, I enjoyed the spring rolls more because I love crunchy food and the way that the ingredients intermingled and tasted on my palate were a perfect balance.

For our mains, I ordered the Tamarind House Special Noodle Soup which is mock beef and Vietnamese “ham” (cha lua), beancurd sleeves, vegetables, rice noodles, served with bean sprouts, Vietnamese (Thai) basil, cilantro and jalapeno. Julia ordered the Laksa which was assorted fresh veggies, fried tofu, lemongrass, turmeric, galangal tofu, and soy bean paste in a rich coconut broth. Though not listed on the menu, the laksa comes with noodles too.

When our orders came out, I was impressed. They both looked exactly like their non-vegetarian/vegan counterparts…well except for the fact that there was cauliflower in my pho and that wasn’t something I was used to seeing. The broths were both very well developed and again, I couldn’t tell the difference with the pho broth. The laksa broth, on the other hand, felt like it was a little bit thinner than what I expected of a laksa, but they did a great job, regardless. While they did do an excellent job with replacing meat with alternatives, having had actual beef and Vietnamese ham, the flavours of those were not quite as good. It may have been because of it was a product that was bought rather than made in house, but I felt like those things were a bit of a miss.

Best part though. No MSG in anything!

The restaurant itself looks very worn down and old. It’s also quite small and hard to get around. I have some issues with the cleanliness of the place as well. Service was good though. As it was family run, from what I could see there were only 2-3 employees and they were extremely efficient. Food was a lot better than I had expected and catching me off guard like this is always a good sign.

While they have a fair selection of items on their menu, I’m not really sure that everything on there will appeal to me time and time again. This restaurant is more of a place that I would come to once in a while. That said, I would still come back and I rate this place 3/5.

Crispy Spring Rolls with Lime Viniagrette
Paradise Rolls with Lime Viniagrette
Tamarind House Special Noodle Soup

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.┬áMy 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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