Pho Han Vietnamese Restaurant

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I’ve been trying to convince S that good food sometimes comes in the dingiest looking restaurants. So that’s when I tried to convince S that Pho Han might be one of them after reading some of the positive reviews on Zomato. Pho Han is located on Garden City in the same mall as Capstone and Manzo. It’s on the very corner, so you usually only see a sign pointing into the mall, but not the actual store front.

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The outside already looks pretty dingy looking, but the inside is quite the same. It fits less than 20 diners at a time and is run by husband and wife. We were seated on the side next to the windows and there were bars on the windows for security. S described that it felt like he was in a prison… Anyways, first thing I noticed was that the prices had increased from what I had saw online. Previously, a small pho was only $5.99, but it was now $6.50, so quite comparable to other pho spots.

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House Special Beef Noodle Soup

I chose the House Special Beef Noodle Soup and it came with rare sliced sirloin beef which were presented laying on the side of the dish. For some reason, that didn’t feel really appetizing to me, even though I eat rare beef. The bowl also came with beef flank, brisket, tendon, meatballs and tripe. The bean sprouts that came with the noodles were old and wilted. The soup itself was okay, but not mind blowing. There is definitely better pho around Richmond.

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Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chop on Rice

S got the Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chop on Rice, which S complained throughout dinner. The pork chop was dry and most of it was inedible since it was either fat or too chewy. The dish also came with shredded pork, fried egg, and vegetables on rice. To be honest, the plate looked pretty sad and I felt like my parents could do a better job. S obviously was unhappy with the dish.

Overall, I guess S proved me right with Pho Han that it was dingy looking and also had poorly executed food. They also completely forgot our order of spring rolls, but we didn’t want to give it a try anyways after having our food. Service is also basically non-existent and we had to go up to pay since we weren’t able to get the attention of anyone. Still, I have yet to prove to S that there are spots with poor ambiance but delicious food.

Pros:
– 10% off on Mondays
– Pho is somewhat cheaper than other spots

Cons:
– Poor ambiance and service
– Pho is average and pork chop was poor

Price Range: $10-15

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2 Service: 1 Ambiance: 1 Parking: 3 Overall: 2

Click to add a blog post for Pho Han on Zomato

Pho 37

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Pho 37 is a newly opened pho shop in the Ironwood Plaza and to be honest, I wouldn’t have noticed this shop. The signage doesn’t really stand out, and I couldn’t find the word Pho 37 anywhere on the shop…

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The outside may not look any glamorous, but I was definitely surprised when I walked in. The interior is clean and modern and I would say it’s probably one of the better looking pho shops for interior atmosphere. Service was not very friendly in the beginning and I felt like the waitress hated her job. However, near the end of the meal, service picked up and one of the waitresses was quite friendly.

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Lunch started off with some complimentary sides. This consisted of your typical bean sprouts and peanut sauce. We weren’t sure what the third was, which seemed sort of like a soup.

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House Special Pho

Of course, my go to pho is always the House Special Pho, since you get everything in a bowl of noodles. There was rare beef, tendon, beef balls and tripe. The noodles were quite typical, nothing too special but it did its job. The soup didn’t have any MSG, yet it was very flavourful.

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Lemongrass Chicken Rice

S got the Lemongrass Chicken Rice, which I believe was some sort of combo since it came with a variety of sides as well. You got fried spring rolls as well as shrimp rolls and a side of salad. Perfect for those who want to try a bit of everything. We were surprised how nicely the dish was plated. Probably one of the best looking Vietnamese platings I’ve seen and not at a high price. S said this was quite good and the portion was perfect to fill you up.

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Overall, our experience at Pho 37 was quite good. Prices are quite reasonable and the food is great. Plus, the ambiance is definitely one of the better compared to your typical pho spots.

Pros:
– Nice plating and decent eats
– Ambiance is pretty nice for a pho shop

Cons:
– Service lacked in the beginning

Price Range: $10-15

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Pho 37 on Urbanspoon

Pho TEN

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Pho Ten is located across Ironwood mall, in the same strip mall as Original Joes. I’ve heard pretty good things about it, so I decided to check it out for lunch. The restaurant was pretty packed, but we still managed to get a seat. The interior is slightly nicer than most pho restaurants, but some of the leather on the couches were still peeling off…

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Spring Rolls

We started off with the two orders of Spring Rolls. The spring rolls were quite small compared to most spring rolls at other restaurants, with very little filling. I also didn’t really like the wrapper they used, although it was still very crunchy. I would skip these spring rolls next time.

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Bean sprouts and lime were served with our noodles.

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Pho Ga Dac Biet

S chose the Pho Ga Dac Biet, which featured flat rice noodles with boneless chicken and quail eggs in chicken soup. S said it was decent.

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Pho Ten Special

For myself, I got the Pho Ten Special, since I like my pho with all the ingredients. It came with rare sliced steak, brisket, fatty flank, tendon, tripe, crunchy flank, and beef balls. You get a good amount of ingredients, but I found the broth to lack flavour.

Overall, Pho Ten is decent. I wouldn’t say it’s the best, but it does it’s job for pho. Service is also pretty friendly.

Pros:
– Decent eats
– Service is friendlier than many pho restaurants

Cons:
– Seating may not be the best
– Just average – nothing too special

Price Range: $10-15

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food:3
Service: 3.5
Ambiance: 2.5
Parking: 3
Overall: 3

Pho TEN on Urbanspoon

Phnom Penh (Revisit #2)

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Marinated Butter Beef

I’ve been to Phnom Penh before, and although I really enjoyed it, it’s a bit far for me. When M and J suggested going there though, I said sure why not! However, when we got there at around 7pm, the place was packed as usual! We were told to wait an hour… I would’ve probably left, but M and J had never been, and we made a trip all the way down, so we waited. We ended up going over to Besties to get some German sausages first, which I wish I took pictures of… Next time! Anyways, by the time we got back, which was around an hour later, our seat was ready. We were all half full by now after the snack, so we tried not to order too much. I suggested we get their famous Marinated Butter Beef. I absolutely love this dish! The beef is so soft and tender! The sauce is what really makes the dish, but I do find it a little too acidic. It’s really sour but good at the same time. This time, I tried eating it with the cilantro (although I hate cilantro). Surprisingly, it worked really well together, and I didn’t mind it as much. A must order here.

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Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Next, we hard another famous dish – the Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wings. People say it’s the absolute best chicken wings, but I can’t say if they are the best. They are pretty damn good though, with a light batter on the outside, and a great salt and pepper seasoning. I’d probably wait half an hour for this, but probably not an hour again. We couldn’t end up finishing all of this, so M packed them home. This was the portion for a large size.

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Filet Beef Luc Lac on Rice with Egg

If you look around, you’ll see that most diners order somewhat of the same dishes. The Filet Beef Luc Lac on Rice with Egg is again a very popular dish. It seems like such a simple dish, which anyone could make at home, but that filet beef is so delicious! The meat is so soft and tender and the sauce makes the dish perfect. Break the egg yolk and mix it with your rice, and you’ve got yourself a perfect comfort dish.

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Chiu Chow Fried Oyster Cake

We decided to get one more dish and asked our server to recommend something. He suggested us to try the Chiu Chow Fried Oyster Cake. It was a huge portion, and at first bite, I thought it was average. I wouldn’t say it was amazing, but then soon after, J mentioned that it tasted disgusting. M and I were still eating it, and she began to describe how sticky it was. Indeed, the batter was very sticky. It was a clear goo, which is very common in say Taiwanese oyster cakes. The more she described it, the more we felt disgusted by it. I could understand that odd taste she was describing too. I’m not a huge fan of Taiwanese oyster cakes since they have a very gooey texture compared to some other oyster pancakes, so this literally eating a huge piece of goo. We ended up barely finishing half of this pancake, since the texture just really didn’t do it for us.

Overall, I had another good meal at Phnom Penh. Next time, I will stick to their signature dishes though. It seems that some of their other dishes are either a hit or miss. Look around and see what others have on their tables, and it’s probably a good one. The wait for an hour is a bit of a stretch for me though. Definitely would not wait for more than half an hour next time.

Check out my previous on Phnom Penh: https://everydayisafoodday.com/2012/07/18/phnom-penh/

Phnom Penh on Urbanspoon

Bits and Pieces of Berlin

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After Munich, we took a midnight bus to Berlin. The bus was around 8 hours long and it was a pretty terrible ride. Bus smelt like beer and the chairs were extremely uncomfortable. But the price was definitely a fraction of what we would pay for a flight. If you’re looking for a hostel, I would suggest the Cats Pajamas Hostel! Extremely cheap and one of the cleanest and friendliest hostels I have ever stayed at. We hadn’t done research for Berlin, but we were recommended to take a biking tour of Berlin. Our friend recommended us Fat Tire, which I would definitely recommend to everyone. It’s a great way to explore the city without going by foot. It was also fun to ride a bike around the city, and it was pretty safe even on large roads. Only downside is it’s a bit difficult to take quality pictures since you only pause for a bit and you also want to listen to the guide explain the history. Anyways, our tour included a lunch break where the tour guide took us to this restaurant near a park. It had outdoor seating with heaters and was a fun way to grab a snack. Of course, we tried some beer from Berlin. I wish I remembered the name of the beer, but it’s been way too long. I just remember it to be really good! Especially after biking on a cold day.

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We also grabbed some food and I got the sausage in a roll. I believe the beer garden was called Der Schleusenkrug and it was in the Tiergarten, which is a beautiful garden. The beer garden had a barbeque and grill stall, which is where we got our food. I thought this was just okay. The bread was a bit hard, and the sausages weren’t the most amazing I’ve had. It was also quite pricey since it was in the garden, but the atmosphere made it fun!

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On our way back to the hostel, I was getting hungry and stopped by a bakery in the metro station. It’s sort of like seeing a Dunkin Donuts or something and this shop had a variety of German pastries and desserts. I picked up an Apfelkuchen, which is basically an Apple Cake. At first, I thought it would be more of strudel, but the texture was crumbly, so much more like cake. It was topped with slices of apple and almonds. I quite enjoyed this!

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For dinner, we had wanted to go to Burgermeister, which was one of the top restaurants in Berlin. To our surprise, it was more like a stand and the seating was outside under the metro bridge. Apparently the stall used to be a public washroom…Interesting…Anyways, it was pouring rain, and there was a huge wait and was probably impossible to find a seat. We ended up resorting to look around for food nearby. And guess where I suggested after a cold rainy day… Vietnamese food! Yes, in Berlin of all places… We found Saigon and More just across the street and settled there as they had free wi-fi. Of course. I had the Beef Pho and honestly, it was great to have some warm soup with an Asian flare. But really, this was probably worse than any 24 hour Pho restaurant in Vancouver. I mean, it satisfied me for the time being, but the noodles were not the typical pho noodles, and they were cooked pretty al dente which is odd for Vietnamese noodles. The soup was also flavourless, which is a big differentiating factor for pho. Prices and service were decent, but definitely not very authentic.

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After dinner, we stopped by a bakery and I picked up a Berliner Pfannkuchen. I chose this after doing a quick search on Google to see what were some common German pastries. This is a traditional Northern Germany pastry and is very similar to a doughnut but without the hole in the middle. instead, it’s filled with a jam filling. It’s also topped with sugar or icing sugar. I thought this reminded me of those Asian doughnuts you get at the Chinese bakeries, except it was filled with a jelly. Not bad!

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Doner Kebabs are extremely popular in Berlin. Some even say that the doner kebab was invented in Germany because there were so many Turkish living here. Doner kebabs are essentially a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is usually lamb, beef, or chicken. Some people also refer to it as a shawarma or gyros. The meat is sliced off the rotisserie and is put inside a pita bread. Inside, it’s also filled with a variety of veggies, like cucumber, onions, tomatoes, chopped lettuce, cabbage. Sauces are also an important part of this snack and can include hot sauce, garlic sauce or a yoghurt sauce. I have to say, I was really impressed with the Doner Kebab here in Berlin. The pita bread was soft, and the mixture of ingredients was just perfect!

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Another well known snack in Germany, and especially Berlin is the Currywurst. Well, actually currywurst was invented in Berlin, and hence so famous. I don’t have a picture here, but my friend ordered it and we were a bit disappointed. Currywurst is a fast food dish, and as the name says, it has pork sausages (wurst), and they are cut into slices. Then they are topped with lots of ketchup or tomato paste, and topped with lots of curry powder. The curry powder was what disappointed me. I thought that it would be a curry sauce. I’m not a big fan of just having curry powder sprinkled on my food, so I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish. However, it seems to be a popular snack for everyone else. I also thought it was cute how this stall was called Checkpoint Curry, since we were literally just across the street from Checkpoint Charlie!

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And to finish the post off will be a beautiful piece of the Berlin Wall. A must see when visiting Berlin. Compared to Munich, Berlin is a city with so much history. In my eyes, Munich is a much more modernized city and was extremely clean. It’s also known to be a wealthy city. Berlin, on the other hand has much more culture and history behind it. Sometimes, walking down the streets, I can feel the city to be a little saddening and cold, and after seeing the Berlin Wall, you can really get a sense of all the struggles and pain people went through. I mean, you will only get a sense of it, and can never really understand what happened back in the days.

Thai Son Restaurant 泰山越南牛肉粉

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My parents asked me what I would like to have for lunch before I left to the airport, and surprisingly, it wasn’t Japanese food, but some pho. I guess I had been craving some Vietnamese food for some time, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get some good quality ones while I was gone. Off we went to Thai Son, which is one of my favourites. We ordered two House Special Phos, Deep Fried Spring Rolls, Salad Rolls, and a plate of Grilled Pork Chop with Egg on Rice. The House Special Pho wasn’t too bad, but we agreed that the broth wasn’t as good as the one at Lan. It was a little less flavourful, but ingredients-wise, there was a good amount and the beef wasn’t old. Both spring rolls were done very well, and the deep fried one came with a fish sauce vinaigrette, while the salad roll came with a peanut sauce. Both were filled with lots of ingredients and would get you really full. Lastly, the Grilled Pork Chop with Egg on Rice surprised us as it was a large plate. Pork chop was grilled to perfection so it was tender and the flavours were right on. I also loved that they topped the egg with some grilled onions and when all mixed together, it was just delicious. And there we had it! My last meal in Greater Vancouver in the next 4 months. I can’t wait to share my food adventures with you guys in Europe now! But I have to say, I miss the variety of cuisines that Vancouver offers, because you can really find any cuisine you want, and they are often of good quality.

Thai Son Restaurant 泰山越南牛肉粉 (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

Pho 99 (Coquitlam Town Centre)

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I’ve been to Pho 99 in Richmond, but this time we went to the one in Coquitlam, It’s a lot larger and was filled with people at around 5pm.

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Fried Spring Roll

The Fried Spring Rolls were served sizzling hot and were fried until golden brown. These were quite good!

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#14 – House Special – Noodle soup with eye round steak, well-done flank, fatty brisket, soft tendon & beef tripe

I always get the House Special at Pho restaurants since I want everything in my noodles! I got a small #14, which was quite a huge portion compared to other pho restaurants. The tripe was also cooked so it was tender, and not tough. Soup wasn’t bad!

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#3 For the Beginners – Noodle soup with brisket & well-done flank

J got #3 under the For the Beginners section. It was filled with mostly well-done flank and brisket.

Overall, Pho 99 seems more popular in Coquitlam than Richmond. Service was friendly and quick. And the place doesn’t seem as dirty as most Pho restaurants  – always a plus!

Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Pho Queen

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I wanted pho the other day but I felt like I’ve been going to same places in Richmond, so I decided to urbanspoon what other pho places there were in Richmond. I ended up finding Pho Queen, which I’ve actually passed by multiple times but haven’t tried.

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Cooked Bean Sprouts

The place was pretty much empty when we got there since it was an odd 3-4 p.m. time on a weekday. I believe the place is Vietnamese owned since the lady started speaking some language I couldn’t understand to me. Service here is definitely not that great. She was kind of rude actually, just throwing menus at me and all… Anyways, we were given cooked bean sprouts, which I always enjoy since I don’t like them raw.

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Pho Tai – Rare Steak Noodle Soup

J got a large Pho Tai, which is basically noodles with rare steak in it. It had tons of cilantro and green onions and was quite a large bowl for only $7.

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Pho Queen Dac Biet – Pho Queen Special Beef Noodle Soup

For myself, I got a small Pho Queen Dac Biet, which is their special. I always like to try the specials during my first visit, since they include all the different ingredients. This one had rare steak, tendons, meatballs, and tripe. It was also topped with lots of cilantro, which I did not like. The tripe was also not cut well, so it was a huge piece and extremely difficult to chew on. The other items were decent however. I also found that the soup wasn’t that rich in beef flavour. I love the broths that are rich in flavour since you can tell they made the broth for many hours. This one seemed like it might’ve had some MSG in it. The portion for a small was still decent though.

Overall, Pho Queen is decent for their prices. I would still opt for Thai Son which has better service and quality.

Pho Queen 皇后越南餐廳 on Urbanspoon