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Best Pho in Vancouver


cabrales
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You're either talking about Bao Chao or Le Petit Saigon.  I'm positive Le Petit is cash only, not positive about Bao Chao because I haven't been there in ages, my memory is fading.

Bao Chao is also cash only. Of the two, Bao Chao is the one located next to the greasy spoon.

Bao Chao is also very greasy. Something very unappetizing about this place in my view. I much prefer Le Petit Saigon just a few doors east. Better Pho, charming service and at least an attempt at a charming ambiance.

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The place on east hastings near Nanaimo on the south side (across from the purple tiled building) is very good. packed at lunch.

you can get a $2.50 sub on Hastings about a 1/2 block east of main on the south side. not bad... considering it is dirt cheap.

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  • 3 weeks later...

flowbee's kim phung visit

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Gotta love that "open" sign. It screams out "we've got hot food for your hungry belly!" We've been to Kim Phung a few times, and have been happy about the food every time. That's "flowshe" opening the door.

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We order 3 things: pho, bun bo hue (spicy pork feet noodle soup) and the beef stew. We get a dish of the accoutrements, which includes shredded banana blossom to go into the bun bo hue. It's usually a good sign that the bun bo hue will at least be satisfactory, if the restaurant goes to the trouble of providing shredded banana blossom. There was also some other shredded stuff that looked like green shredded banana blossom, but I don't think it was...might've been shredded cabbage?? Not sure...

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Yay, I got pork blood! Yum. It's pretty good for restaurant bun bo hue. I can tell that it's not just pho soup with chili oil added (some lazy places do that). My mother-in-law's bun bo hue is still the best though :raz:

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Pho comes and right away something doesn't look right. The broth is really dark. It's supposed to be clear (or close to it). The look on flowshe's face is not good :sad: We taste it, and it's a bit heavy on the star anise flavour. My guess is that it's the bottom-of-the-pot broth. Ah well, still tastes ok. Disaster averted. Lucky I didn't have to bring it up with the staff...I don't deal with confrontation very well, especially in restaurants.

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Beef stew time! It's not bad here. The soup part is "watery", which is the style. It's got some beef tendon in it as well, so that was a nice surprise. The beef brisket is juicy and tender. It tastes very good dipped into the black pepper/lemon paste. The bread is the same kind of french bread you get at most banh mi places. The stew could've been a little more richer tasting, but it was acceptable.

All in all a good visit. Will probably go again next time a pho craving hits...

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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Pho comes and right away something doesn't look right. The broth is really dark. It's supposed to be clear (or close to it). The look on flowshe's face is not good sad.gif We taste it, and it's a bit heavy on the star anise flavour. My guess is that it's the bottom-of-the-pot broth. Ah well, still tastes ok. Disaster averted. Lucky I didn't have to bring it up with the staff...I don't deal with confrontation very well, especially in restaurants.

I went to Kim Phung about a year ago and had exactly the same problem, and it didn't even taste good. I haven't been back since. About how common is this phenomenon?

Jason

Editor

EatVancouver.net

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Pho comes and right away something doesn't look right. The broth is really dark. It's supposed to be clear (or close to it). The look on flowshe's face is not good sad.gif We taste it, and it's a bit heavy on the star anise flavour. My guess is that it's the bottom-of-the-pot broth. Ah well, still tastes ok. Disaster averted. Lucky I didn't have to bring it up with the staff...I don't deal with confrontation very well, especially in restaurants.

I went to Kim Phung about a year ago and had exactly the same problem, and it didn't even taste good. I haven't been back since. About how common is this phenomenon?

I've not experienced this "dark broth" at Kim Phung. I either order it "regular" or "spicey" with the "spicey" being a darker redd-ish colour. Either is good IMO.

A.

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  • 2 months later...

Has anyone been to Pho Thai Hoa on Kingsway (right by Famous Foods)? I did not have the pho - but the other offerings were very good. Most impressive were the herbs and veggies that accompanied our meals - a great selection of pickled green papaya, mint, spearmint, purple perilla (or shiso), and rau ram. I had what was called Saigon Style Vermicelli - which came with charbroiled pork and meat balls. You wrapped the hot meat with your selection of herbs in cold lettuce and dipped it into a sweet/sour dipping sauce. Very very good.

My brother ordered a beef and pork noodle that came with thick rice noodles. It was very spicy (just on that edge of being too hot) - came with pork's blood, braised pork, pork pate, and beef flank.

We split a yellow lentil crepe that was stuffed with sprouts, pork and shrimp. Again - it was accompanied by a big plate of greens and herbs. All three items cost about $25 bucks. Very good value for money.

On previous visits - my brother said he had the sweet and sour fish soup - again - the flavors were very bright - with the spiciness being almost too hot. The fish that was came in the soup was pomfret.

The surroundings were that classic non-descript asian restaurant - but I thought the food was excellent and will warrant a second visit. Oddly enough - I have not heard great things about the Pho. They have beef 7 ways on the menu for I think $24 a head. Apparently this place was rated no 1 by Georgia Straight's Golden Plate awards... and odd case where the voters may not be to far off the mark.

The owners have a location in Richmond - Green Lemongrass - that looks perhaps too slick. I have not been - perhaps someone else has.

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Has anyone been to Pho Thai Hoa on Kingsway (right by Famous Foods)? 

I have a friend who insists on going there from time to time. I have always found the Pho uninteresting - and everything else average. There are certainly better bets for Vietnamese food.

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The owners have a location in Richmond - Green Lemongrass - that looks perhaps too slick. I have not been - perhaps someone else has.

It is definitely not too slick. It's nice, quite comfortable, casual but cheerful lemongrass colour theme, not a cold harsh asian diner type style, if that is what is meant by classic non-descript asian restaurant, but neither is it slick or fancy. It used to be the greek restaurant, before they moved up the street, so it retains some of that mediterranean feel in the decor. The owner is a really nice down to earth type guy, hard working, family man, interesting and friendly in conversation.
Most impressive were the herbs and veggies that accompanied our meals - a great selection of pickled green papaya, mint, spearmint, purple perilla (or shiso), and rau ram.
Oh, I so agree!! What do you do with the vermicelli, (that's the square pancake style, correct?) I like the grilled lemongrass shortribs, but I haven't seen the lentil crepe, would like to try it, what is it called? Have had the rare beef pho, enjoyed it, but I'm no expert. No complaints though and the accompaniments were fresh and generous.
All three items cost about $25 bucks. Very good value for money
.Absolutely! I was surprised, especially when lettuce was going for $1.99/head awhile ago!
Apparently this place was rated no 1 by Georgia Straight's Golden Plate awards... and odd case where the voters may not be to far off the mark.
We talked about that, he was surprised when someone had told him, as he wasn't aware of that process. He's definitely not the type to instigate ballot stuffing. It's not a high end restaurant, but it's a really good place for what it is, and the owner is a good man with a decent ethical and business sense it seems. Edited by ~cayenne~ (log)

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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There are certainly better bets for Vietnamese food.

Feel free to spill the beans. So far, the only thing you've offered in this thread is that you "prefer Le Petit Saigon" over Bao Chao.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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There are certainly better bets for Vietnamese food.

Feel free to spill the beans. So far, the only thing you've offered in this thread is that you "prefer Le Petit Saigon" over Bao Chao.

I must apologize, sanresho, if occasionally the information contained in my posts is not up to your exacting disclosure standards. I shall try to not let this happen again.

The best Pho? I have a recipe which originated with Prof. Tien Huu, who ran a very fine Vietnamese restaurant in Munich for 40 years or so - and I make this regularly. If you PM me I will be happy to share this recipe with you. It makes for the best Pho I have had outside of Vietnam.

There are three commercial Pho places here that I like: Kim Phung, Petit Saigon and the little white wooden house on the south side of Kingsway in Burnaby - the name of which always escapes me.

That said, I think the Pho scene in Vancouver suffers from the relentless competition to keep prices low. I mean how much artistry can you afford to put into a bowl of soup that sells for $6.00?

I would like to see someone take the folks at Kim Phung, put them in some nice and clean premises and get them to focus on high quality ingredients and then have them raise their prices to cover these increased costs. That would result in an awesome Pho.

We were in Berlin not long ago and had a stunning Pho Tai at a middle-market Vietnamese restaurant right on the Savigny-platz. It cost Euro 12 (about $15) for a modest size bowl of Pho - but it had a depth of flavour that was outrageous.

I have vented about this in other threads - but Vietnamese cuisine in Vancouver suffers from the same low end price competitiveness as Greek cuisine. Indeed I have a killer business plan for a high-end restaurant serving fine Vietnamese and Greek food (two seperate rooms -with a shared kitchen) called "Hanoi - Athens" - but have too many other things on my plate to seriously think about trying to get this off the ground at the moment.

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I must apologize, sanresho, if occasionally the information contained in my posts is not up to your exacting disclosure standards. I shall try to not let this happen again.

Your sarcasm is completely unnecessary. However, I don't regret my original comments, since it induced a post that I found informative and entertaining.

I haven't tried the pho at Petit Saigon but will make a point of checking it out. I would love to learn the name or approximate location of the "little white wooden house" you mentioned, if you happen to remember it.

Cheers!

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I must apologize, sanresho, if occasionally the information contained in my posts is not up to your exacting disclosure standards. I shall try to not let this happen again.

Your sarcasm is completely unnecessary. However, I don't regret my original comments, since it induced a post that I found informative and entertaining.

I haven't tried the pho at Petit Saigon but will make a point of checking it out. I would love to learn the name or approximate location of the "little white wooden house" you mentioned, if you happen to remember it.

Cheers!

Yes I apologize for that sarcasm. Always happens when I forget my meds.

The little white house - I really don't know the name - even though I have eaten there 5 or 6 times at the insistence of a friend who keeps dragging me to her latest Pho discovery. But this one is very good.

It's a funky little white clapboard house on the right side of Kingsway if you are driving from town to New West. My guess is that it is about half-way through Margaret Trudeau's favourite suburb. But if you drive this stretch - you really cannot miss it. Perhaps someone on this board will come up with the name.

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There are certainly better bets for Vietnamese food.

What about non-Pho? I agree that the pho in Vancouver is not so hot - but it was so nice to a good plate of fresh herbs with the nicely charred pork at Pho Thai Hoa. The lentil pancake was also nice - crispy and grease free.

I have'nt had this kind of Vietnamese food in a long while - any specific pointers for something better (again - non Pho) would be nice to hear about.

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It makes for the best Pho I have had outside of Vietnam.

I agree that the pho in Vancouver is not so hot

The last time I was in Vietnam, I was thinking that the pho in Vancouver is better than a lot of the pho I ate in Vietnam. Pho in Vietnam seemed to be a quickie, thrown together breakfast meal. The quality of the beef here is much better. I have never made pho, but how complicated can it be? A good broth, some rice noodles and fresh herbs. Le Petit Saigon does kick ass though. And some of their non-pho is pretty fine too, like the curry beef and bahn mi.

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It makes for the best Pho I have had outside of Vietnam.

I agree that the pho in Vancouver is not so hot

The last time I was in Vietnam, I was thinking that the pho in Vancouver is better than a lot of the pho I ate in Vietnam. Pho in Vietnam seemed to be a quickie, thrown together breakfast meal. The quality of the beef here is much better. I have never made pho, but how complicated can it be? A good broth, some rice noodles and fresh herbs. Le Petit Saigon does kick ass though. And some of their non-pho is pretty fine too, like the curry beef and bahn mi.

You are generally right about the Pho in Vietnam being of a lesser quality. That is because Pho is generally served as very, very inexpensive hawker food from street stalls. However as the Vietnamese economy develops it brings with it the development of a certain middle-class gourmandism - and this is certainly happening in Vietnam. There are now many restaurants throughout Vietnam catering to slightly more sophisticated palates - and of course many of these restaurants have taken traditional recipes (such as Phos) as their point of departure.

I guess this is my wish for the Vietnamese restaurant scene in Vancouver - that someone would take it upmarket. Not the whole scene of course - but handful of restaurants where Vietnamese food is prepared at a higher level - with the freshest possible ingredients. (And ditto for the Greek places in this town.)

There are many places like Indochine in Hong Kong and The Perfume River in London that are doing this with great success.

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There are many places like Indochine in Hong Kong and The Perfume River in London that are doing this with great success.

I've been to Indochine a number of times and have always enjoyed my meals. Slanted Door in SFO gets a lot of raves - but the food always seems a little limp and dull to me there. Did not try Crustacean while I lived there - but heard reasonably good things. YVR does need a good higher end Vietnamese Restaurant. But I still like the homey cooking that is currently on offer.

Despite warnings otherwise (and a lack of other recommendations) - I had another meal at Pho Thai Hoa. Much of the appeal laid with the huge pile of fresh herbs that came with my meal - really lifted the flavors of the grilled meats and vinegary dips. Plus - I had steamed dumplings made with tapioca and stuffed with ground pork. Tapioca - its not just for bubble tea anymore.

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I come away still feeling good about this place. Two meals that I thought were pretty darn tasty.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I ate at Kim Phung today. They served four of us two small plates of the fixings, which wasn't enough (even though there were pho newbies who didn't touch it). They, of course, refilled it.

I've had better noodles & have definitely had more meat--I don't think I saw any tripe in my bowl, which disappointed me. The rare beef in the soup was good and the spicy broth was one of the best bases I've had.

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  • 4 months later...
let me know what you think about the format and all, since it's still early enough to change things around.  thanks!

More photos? It looks like you got a meatless pho. Regardless, I'm looking forward to future reviews.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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let me know what you think about the format and all, since it's still early enough to change things around.  thanks!

More photos? It looks like you got a meatless pho. Regardless, I'm looking forward to future reviews.

Thanks! I had tucked the meat under the noodles to cook before I realized I need to snap a photo.

Jason

Editor

EatVancouver.net

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Thanks!  I had tucked the meat under the noodles to cook before I realized I need to snap a photo.

If I could make one more request, it would be a photo of the shop front/signage (to help with locating these places from the street).

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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