I met up with a new friend at Joyeaux Cafe recently since it was the mid-point between our offices. They had good reviews so I had high expectations for them. Sadly they weren’t met, especially after my great experience at Red Pagoda.
The interior was a bit dark and the decor was dated but the high ceilings made it feel extra spacious. The walls are covered with photos of the menu items and the menu is extensive and consists of the usual pho, vermicelli and rice options as well as breakfast options, lunch specials and vegetarian specials. Continue reading →
My colleagues and I all headed over to Red Pagoda for a Friday lunch recently. Located in the Coal Harbour area, it’s slightly hidden away behind a building on Thurlow and Pender. However, it’s popular with the office lunch crowd.
Cold chilly days means it’s a good time for pho! I saw that Green Lemongrass had pretty good reviews and it has a nice ring to it so I thought we’d give them a go. We went to their Kensington location which is in the same plaza as Dai Tung.
Phnom Penh takes reservations for groups of 6 or more so we only waited for 10 mins or so to get a seat which is pretty good considering the hoards of people there for lunch! As usual, it looks pretty hectic in there but service was really fast. Gotta keep that turnover rate up!
One of their most popular items is the Filet Beef Luc Lac on Rice and you can add an egg for $1 or it could be $1.50… The beef is really smooth and the sauce goes well with the rice. It’s actually not my favourite item here though but it is super popular and a lot of people get it
This was one of their Dry Mixed Noodle bowls forgot what was in it… shrimp and Vietnamese pork on rice noodles? I didn’t try this but it looked good.
This was the Stewed Beef with Rice Noodles in soup. It came with carrots and the soup had a tomato/carrot flavour to it. The beef brisket was soft and flavourful from the soup. It’s not really my type of soup though so I wouldn’t get it again.
And now for the MarinatedButter Beef! This is also a must order item here if you didn’t know already! The beef is lightly seared and there’s a lot of cilantro and I believe balsamic vinegar and it just tastes really good mixed up! You get a lot of the cilantro flavour with the tender beef and the acidity from the vinegar is refreshing. I could probably eat this whole plate all by myself!
Finally we can’t forget about the FAMOUS CHICKEN WINGS!!! I’m a huge chicken wing fan and you just can’t go wrong with these. They’re just so crisp and well seasoned and the lemon salt concoction they provide as a dip is really good too. I’m sure I can also devour a whole plate of these…
Overall another delicious meal here with no complaints. Check out my previous post here where I also tried some deep fried frog legs! ;)
My friend and I decided to pop over to Crackle Creme one block over and share an Earl Grey creme brule! They have a lot of flavours now and they all seem equally enticing! I still have so many to try 8)
I love that it’s torched right in front of you and the top makes that satisfying crack as you dig in. The creme brule was bursting with Earl Grey flavour and it was just a heavenly treat.
I had read some reviews for Mr. Red Cafe and seen lots of great pictures so I convinced my co workers to go with me. We love trying new restaurants! Mr. Red Cafe specializes in Northern Vietnamese cuisine and I wanted to see what that was like but I don’t have much to compare it to.
We had the Special Sticky Rice with mung bean, pate, pickled carrots, dried squid and shredded chicken. The rice was nice and chewy and had a bit of flavour from the banana leaf? The mix of ingredients was interesting too but I think I would’ve liked it better if it was mixed in like fried rice. The dish was smaller than I imagined though. I like how the food is served on the woven straw mat instead of a plate.
I had a craving for banh mi sandwiches and I had heard a lot about Au Petit Cafe so that’s where we went for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. There was a small line up and we waited about 20 mins before we got a table. The interior is not very big and we ended up seated right next to the cash register counter.
We started with a Shrimp Salad Roll. The peanut sauce was really good and the salad roll had large pieces of shrimp. I’m not a fan of salad rolls though since it feels like I’m eating salad with peanut sauce. But otherwise it was alright.
This was the Banh Mi with house made ham, house made meat balls, vegetables and hot peppers. You also have the option of not getting any hot peppers. We got one sandwich with hot peppers and one without.
The meat ball had a really soft texture almost like it wasn’t cooked but it was and it was nicely marinated.
We also shared the Banh Mi with shredded Vietnamese pork, vegetables and hot peppers. Compared to the first sandwich, I missed the meat ball! The shredded pork wasn’t that flavourful. The bread was still the same crunchy toasted baguette though. It also wasn’t too hard to eat but if you leave it for too long the bread will get harder. The hot peppers weren’t really that hot to me but I like spicy things.
While I was there I noticed that a lot of people were getting take out and they also had a lot of phone calls for take out as well. That’s a good option if you don’t want to wait! Overall I was satisfied with their sandwiches and they were so cheap and filling!
My family had a spontaneous lunch the other day and we decided to go for pho. It’s been quite a while since my last visit to Thai Son but I had always liked it. It’s located near the end of Alexandra road and Garden City. It’s near the House of Tofu Soup which I still haven’t been to . Due to its location on the second floor, you might miss it.
When I say we’re going for pho, I usually get something without the soup. Yes I’m weird like that. This is the Grilled Skewered Pork with Spring Rolls on Vermicelli.I wanted this dish because it came with two spring rolls and my family doesn’t like ordering spring rolls. Yay more for me? The pork was cut into smaller pieces, presumably because they were skewered beforehand. It had a nice sweet taste with some slight smoky flavour. The spring rolls were perfectly hot and crunchy on the outside while the filling inside was flavourful. Of course it all went well with the sweet sauce that came with this dish (I can drink that stuff!). There were a lot of noodles too and underneath the noodles was more lettuce and bean sprouts. Unfortunately the bean sprouts were raw and I would have liked it if they were cooked first. I like that there was some of everything in here!
My brother had the large Pho with Rare Beef and Tripe.After looking at this picture again, I realized that there was a lot of oil floating on top… o___O I also found the broth to be too salty. Noodles were good though. My dad had the cooked beef version of this so I won’t include the picture.
Thai Son has quite a few locations now and I’m not sure if the salty broth was a one time thing but we still enjoyed our food here. Prices are fair and it’s also clean too.
I’m not sure where you’ve been if you’ve never heard of Phnom Penh and their famous buttery garlic chicken wings! It’s always on the list of most talked about restaurants on Urbanspoon. My friends and I went after our rock climbing session at the Cliffhanger which was really cool by the way. It was my first time and I felt accomplished after. ^__^ Not that I was scaling really difficult walls though but it did get a bit scary when I was stuck in the middle!
We went to Phnom Penh at 5:30pm and we were told that there was going to be a 45 min wait. Located at 244 E. Georgia, it’s pretty much right in the middle of Chinatown. It also seems to be operated by Chinese people but that’s not a problem to me. Coincidentally it was also a Saturday night so the Chinatown night market was just getting ready to open up. It feels superbly tiny compared to the ones in Richmond. They also had a couple of food trucks there too. Otherwise it was severely lacking in merchandise and of course FOOD.
Before I get on with the food part of this post, I just have to mention that Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie had this adorable Chinese style street food patio area!
Anyway, the hostess was right about the wait time being 45 mins. We were seated in exactly 45 mins! We noticed that the table next to us had some good eats and we asked them what it was. Turns out it was deep fried frog legs! They did look really tasty but we felt kind of iffy since it seemed so exotic to us but we couldn’t pass it up and ended up ordering it. =D
These were awesome! I’ve never tried frog legs before and the texture was similar to a cross between chicken and fish and it was much more tender than chicken. The crispy texture of the salty and peppery batter made these super addictive and the lime and salt dip accentuated the flavours more. I think they could have used more chillies though. The frog legs were also served with some crunchy shrimp crackers as well. You gotta try this!!! Just pretend it’s something else if you’re scared of weird animal parts. ;)
The other must try dish from Phnom Penh, according to food reviews is their Marinated Butter Beef. The lightly seared beef was doused in a sweet and tangy dressing similar to balsamic vinegar I think. There was also a pile of cilantro and garlic chips on top. I found that there was too much cilantro but it did make the presentation a lot nicer than just having a pile of beef on a plate. The beef was a bit chewy but fairly soft and I loved the dressing for this since I love sour things like salad dressing.
I also read a review for this and it seemed like a lot of people ordered it. This is the Beef Luc Lac on Rice with Egg. It was a accompanied by a bit of salad. I found the beef to be chewy as well and I wasn’t that fond of the sauce but it was alright. I also expected the egg to be more on the poached side. I didn’t find it that good so I probably won’t order it again.
Next we had the Oyster Pancake. It was larger than I expected and the sides of the pancake flowed over the sides of the plate. Or they gave us a smaller plate to make the pancake look bigger! :O The crispy exterior was a nice contrast to the soft interior which contained a lot of large oyster pieces. The oysters were mostly in the middle so the crispy sides were essentially just batter. I didn’t really think the cilantro was necessary for this dish though and I was getting sick of it after eating a lot of it from the butter beef. But anyway this was delicious as well (anything fried is)!
Finally we have their famous Buttery Garlic Chicken Wings! These are extremely similar to the deep fried frog legs and they essentially tasted the same except for the texture of the meat. At first we weren’t sure if we should have deep fried chicken wings and frog legs but we decided to do it anyway. YOLO! They were salty and peppery and the meat was still moist enough. These were really good too but compared to the frog legs I think I liked the frog legs better. It might be due to the novelty of frog legs and the texture was softer too making it easier to eat than chicken wings. Nonetheless, these were quite addictive too and they were served with the same lime and salt dip.
I highly recommend a visit for the frog legs! Except be prepared for the 45 min + wait depending on what time you go but they do take reservations. They need another location! Also next time I probably shouldn’t order so many deep fried dishes…
My parents and I wanted to go to Cafe Gloucester for dinner and we didn’t have any other good ideas but when we got there around 7pm we noticed it was kinda empty. On the way there we walked by a Vietnamese restaurant next door actually so we decided to go there instead. Yay random food adventure! Pho Xe Lua 24 is located on Cambie and 18th. It might be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it but they do have a small sign on the sidewalk. Unlike other pho restaurants I’ve been to this one was decorated in a more modern and upscale way and we suspected the decor was left over from a previous restaurant.
I took some quick snapshots of the menu. They had the usual pho offerings along with banh mi.
This was my mom’s dish. She always gets noodles with soup so it was refreshing to see her try something new. I believe this was #46 which was grilled beef, and BBQ pork supreme paste with spring roll on vermicelli.It came with a side lettuce and pickled carrots and sweet dipping sauce which makes everything tasty! I have no idea what BBQ pork supreme paste is but it just seemed like the Vietnamese version of BBQ pork. The grilled beef was a bit sweet and had a texture that was similar to beef jerky but not quite. The spring rolls were good though!
My dad had the beef stew with rice #29 (rice not pictured). This was not particularly good or bad but I’ve had better beef stew. The beef could have been more flavourful but that’s what the sauce is for I guess. It came with a lot of rice so the portion was pretty good.
Finally we have my favourite dish to get: lemongrass chicken on fried rice. If you pay an extra 50 cents to a dollar for some dishes you can have fried rice instead of white rice. The fried rice had some egg and green onions in it and not much else. The rice was also on the mushy side so maybe regular rice would have been better. However, the lemongrass chicken was perfectly grilled and tender. It had some nice charring which added to the flavour. It also came with the usual side salad and dressing. I finished the whole thing (yes I’m a pig…)!
Overall I enjoyed my spontaneous visit here. The service was quick and efficient and the restaurant was also very clean too. Seating was comfortable and the prices are very reasonable too and on par with other pho places. Food wise it seems standard. Funny thing is that none of us ordered pho so I can’t comment on that.
My friend suggested we visit her favourite Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsway near Knight street. I never really go to this area so I have no idea what’s good there but I was happy to try new places. Hai Phong was located in a small square on Kingsway and they have limited parking spaces. The interior is very clean and well lit. It was also very spacious inside. Like most restaurants, they also had two TV’s on.
PS. They have one of the nicest websites and menus ever for a Vietnamese restaurant!!! Check it out :)
My friend ordered this lychee drink with a bit of ice on top. There were a lot of pitless lychees inside! I tried it and it was pretty sweet and very much like those lychee jellos that come in the individual packages. The kind that always squirts juice on me when I try to open them. >=(
I’m a hugeeee fan of chicken wings in case you didn’t already know. So I was super tempted to order some garlic butter chicken wings. That sounds good right? However, I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was quite disappointed. These chicken wings were really small and below average. =( They also weren’t that crispy. There was definitely a prominent garlic flavour but beyond that these were just meh. Plus there weren’t even that many for the nearly $10 price tag.
Pho! Nobody complained about it so I assume it’ was good.
On the other hand, this was what I decided to order. It sounded a lot better in the description. This was lemongrass chicken with an egg. It just wasn’t that special… The chicken was very tender, moist and well seasoned though. You could taste the slightly charred meat too. I think it would have been better if there was a bit more chicken? This just felt like it was lacking something. I should have stuck with pho!!! This was a Vietnamese restaurant afterall.
This came with some soup with a bit of pork in it. It was alright.
My friend loves this Vietnamese crepe and suggested that we order it. Inside, there was some shrimp, bean sprouts and some slices of meat. It came with the usual sweet sauce commonly used for dipping spring rolls. There was also a ton of veggies on the side. She said that we were suppose to wrap the veggies in the crepe and eat it together. But I found this quite difficult to eat and share. Maybe I’m just lazy hehe plus I ignored all the veggies :P It was interesting to try it though!
Overall, I think this was a bit of an underwhelming experience for me probably because my friend said it was really great and I did not end up ordering pho but the food isn’t bad and I wouldn’t mind going again. Service was prompt as well and I like that their menu is very extensive.