Archive for the ‘Kingsway’ Category

Pholicious 100-Ha Cafe

Ah, autumn. The chill in the air, the changing colours, and, what’s this? The mall isn’t packed and no more kids everywhere? That’s right, it’s back to school time! This September we decided to go to Ha Cafe to celebrate the return of the school year, and the return of the Back-to-Pho quiz!

Seeing as how so many of our members now have advanced degrees, I considered making this year’s test graduate-level, but then again, you have to walk bePHO you can run, so it’s only Pho 201.. But even though half of the questions were from last year’s Pho quiz, there was still a noticeable lack of passing grades. But what do you think this is, SFU? No bell curve here! There’s always summer school..

Pho 201: Studies in Pho

But back to the pho! Ha Cafe is  located on Kingsway, diagonally from Crystal Mall in the Old Orchard strip mall, between a 5-pin bowling alley and a BCLC store. Although it was converted from a diner a couple of years ago, it still has links to its past with western-style soups and sandwiches on the menu, Blue Jays games on the TV, and a decidedly family-run feel.

Ignore the totally-random-people-taking-pictures

Just ignore the totally-random-people-taking-pictures!

Service was relatively quick, although tea refills became nonexistent as we progressed. We also noted the lack of the typical plate of bean sprouts, Thai basil, limes, etc… Such a mystery… (or is it? Cue mysterious music).


Chewy, but not crispy. If only they were cookies.

We started things off with an order of spring rolls. The skins were a bit on the chewier side although they didn’t quite have the crunch that we prefer. The filling was dense with a slight lack of seasoning, but otherwise unnotable.


Spicy Beef Noodle and Soup

For the pho, the noodles were on the soft side, and came with a somewhat lackluster broth that, although on the sweeter side, lacked depth and had an above-average amount of MSG. Portions were healthy, although the the meat was on the fattier side, and beef balls were not up to standards. We were also surprised to finally find the bean sprouts hidden in the bowl underneath the noodles, causing Killerpho to remark that she liked choosing the volume of bean sprouts but instead she was forced to eat a giant clump at the end. What a catastroPHOy!


Special Beef Noodle and Soup

Here’s our review of the pho!

One size: $8.25-8.50
Beef: healthy portion. Fattier, beef balls were sub-par.
Noodles: soft.
Broth: on the sweeter side, but lacked depth.
MSG amount: above average.
Presentation: 2 out of 4.

Overall: 6.3 out of 10

Ha Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Read Full Post »

Pholicious 96-Thy

It’s November, and that means time for growing facial hair, Remembrance Day, and most importantly, Phovember! That’s right, this time we called out the crew to go to Thy Pho for the purpose of eating pho and admiring mustaches. That is, at least we tried to get the crew together, but our president Bummipho had to do a last-minute PHOto shoot, cutiepho was recovering from a rough night, and killerpho and phosicist actually showed up on the wrong day! But don’t be aPHOraid, we still managed to observe phovember with evileyepho and friend.

Thy, or is it Thy Pho?

Thy Pho is located at 5497 Victoria just two blocks north of E 41st Ave in Vancouver. The interior is a bit eclectic, with cafeteria-style tables bolted to the floor, and a variety of art and decorative instruments adorning the walls. There was even a couple of portraits of the owner, with one that looked somewhat reminiscent of The Kramer. But we’re not here for the art, we’re here for the pho!

The Vietnamese Kramer?

The Vietnamese Kramer?

The menu consists of Banh Mi, pho, and drinks, with appetizers (and spring rolls) noticeably absent. Service was average, with some slower moments despite it being a quiet Sunday afternoon, although our food orders came surprisingly fast.

Sadly, even though the pho came out quickly, the broth wasn’t quite as hot as we’d like it, and although it was clear and light, it lacked deep beef flavour. Portion size was a bit on the smaller size, with an unequal amount of beef slices to tripe/beef balls. The beef slices themselves were tender and were sliced just the right thickness so that there was some texture to the bite, but oddly enough, came in smaller pieces which gave them almost bite-sized appearance. The beef ball slices were also on the smaller size, as were the tendon, and the well-done flank was way overcooked and quite fatty. The presentation of the pho was a bit haphazard, which may also explain the unequal distribution of tripe and balls compared to beef slices.


Haphazard pho

Although none of us had grown a respectable movember beard, we did provide all members a handlebar mustache so they too could experience life as a manly stache-growing Ron Swanson to celebrate Phovember. Evileyepho was even gracious enough to complete a portrait of yours truly, which was then described as a “very good-looking Asian Stalin.” I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

Manly man, or Stalin-esque?

Manly man, or Stalin-esque?

Here’s our review of the pho!

Small: $7.50 Large: 8.50
Beef: portions on the smaller side.
Noodles: soft-ish
Broth: Light, not very beefy. Medium amount of MSG.
Presentation:  1 out of 4

Overall:  6 out of 10

Thy Pho on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

Ah September, what better time to go back to learn more about our local Vancouver pho, than during back-to-school season? This month, we went to Hoi An on Kingsway and Victoria Drive.

Walking in, we were surprised to see a big line up outside the door. On a rainy day no less. This place was not tiny, but definitely packed! Luckily we had a few early members there who snagged us a couple of tables so we were able to order quickly. Despite the line-up, the interior was actually not too crowded, with lots of room in between tables. The decor had some generic art on the walls, but otherwise not too out of the ordinary. Overall our members found it to be quite clean and comfortable.

Service was decent, with staff speaking pretty good English – which seems less the case in Pho restaurants nowadays (but I digress..). They had fold-out menus, which seemed to please some of our members.

Fold out menu!

Sides were the usual suspects, although with generous portions – bean sprouts (cooked upon request), basil, and lime. Hot peppers were given only with the #1 special though.

Now the Pho. Portion sizes were notably good for both large and small sizes, with equally good portions of beef slices. Noodles were firm, but unfortunately not quite chewy enough for our discerning members. The broth was piping hot and meaty, with a low amount of MSG (bonus!). Presentation of Pho was above-average.

That presentation’s a 3!

One of our members who had been here before, reported that the #1 special Mi Quong (egg noodles in Pork/shrimp broth) was both light, and tasty – and he highly recommended ordering “semi-off-the-menu” with a custom order of #1 with the #2 special’s sauce. Waitress seemed to take in stride, perhaps this is a ‘super secret special’ only for the regulars? Perhaps after this, some of us will become regulars. Many planned on coming back to try the custom order.

Super secret #1 special with #2 sauce

Here’s our review of the Pho!

One size: $6.75-$7.25
Beef: good portions
Noodles: firm but not quite chewy
Broth: piping hot and meat
Presentation:  3 out of 4

Overall: 8 out of 10

Hoi An Cafe on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

Oog it has been too long my PHOllowers, between updates, and pho that, I am sorry. Pho reals. 🙂 but here we are! In the new year, and with a new pho review from April!

This time, we hit up the new place right by my neighborhood, Pho Tan. It replaces the old Pho Saigon restaurant on Kingsway, (which… was good? Bad? I dunno – never got to try it). Despite being sandwiched between a Greek restaurant and a Japanese sukiyaki place, parking was still plentiful in front and on the street.

The spacious interior looked like it was recently renovated, with lots of natural light coming in, new furniture, and clean! As an added surprise, one of our members reported that he had seen Peter Chao there before. Well.. I don’t know if that adds to the ambiance, but who cares, we’re here for the pho.

Pho Tan!

The portions were good, with definite steam coming off of the bowls as they got to our table. The soup was piping hot, which is always approved by our members. We dug right in and we weren’t disappointed. One member ordered the satay pho, and subsequently declared it the Best Satay Pho Ever. Which, says something.

Satay pho!

Service was okay, nothing special. Pretty much what we expected. It seemed like there was only two servers, but they seemed to be able to keep everyone happy.

Pho Tan Spring Rolls

Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the food, with one member even admitting that he had convinced his coworkers to come here for lunch 3 times in the last week. That’s dedication!

This is... ah... It's... green

Here’s our review of the pho!

Sm: $5.99 Lg: $6.99
Beef: Good portions!
Noodles: firm, al dente
Broth: light, piping hot
Presentation: 3 out of 4*

*We forgot to write it down, so I made it up from memory 😀

Overall: 8 out of 10

Pho Tan on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

For this week’s episode, we’re turning the clock back, way back, to March 20, 2011.

Have you ever seen Lemongrass? What about Green Lemongrass? I had no idea it even came in that colour! You know.. because of the lemon..

Anyways, this place is on Kingsway near Windsor – and it’s actually where the old Lu Quan pho restaurant used to be. And that’s a good thing – because Lu Quan was Scary. You remember Lu Quan right? If not, google up “pholicious scary pho”… what? You’re too lazy to google it? Okay. Here’s the link, you sloth!

The good news is that Green Lemongrass is now looking much better, with 100% less scary-looking gangsters compared to Lu Quan. And, with green walls, fake “bamboo” counters, giant bulbous fish, and lots of plants, our members agreed that it qualifies as an official “quaint & traditional” Vietnamese restaurant. The entire place looked very clean, with the notable exception of the fish tank. Our club biologists did not approve.

With that said, they did have a very nice menu, with pictures! Great for the pho-newbies.

Fancy new menus!

Service was impressive at first (fast, memorized orders), but then the server had to come back to check on the order (errr…) and they got one order wrong! One member decreed that service rated a “meh”. Although they offered an option for cooked beansprouts.

Salad rolls

The pho itself was a bit disappointing with the portions – the small was really small, and there seemed to always be much more noodles than beef. The spring rolls were rather greasy though. Which was too bad, as they looked pretty tasty.

All you need for a meal!

Here’s the pho review!

Sm: $6.75  Lg: $7.75
Beef: stale meatballs, but the soft tendons were especially good!
Noodles: average, but some were clumpy 😛
Broth: strong anise/clove flavor, and was a bit oily – but beefy.
Presentation:  3 out of 4

Overall: 7 out of 10

Green Lemongrass on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

Listen here whippersnappers! I’m going to tell you young ‘uns an old story, about back when we were young. on  February 20th of ’11 we decided to go to Cafe Xu Hue, on Kingsway near Nanaimo. I remember it like it was … well, I can’t even remember it now. Wait, was I even there? Hmmmm….. Wait, what was I going to do? Oh that’s right. It’s time to post a review.

This tiny little restaurant on Kingsway is in a low-rise next to a Canadian Tire and across from a condo building under construction. It was pretty busy when we walked in, with lots of Vietnamese customers digging into their bowls of bon bo hues (a great sign!). Wait, you don’t know what Bon Bo Hue is (I had to look it up too). It’s beef rice vermicelli soup! Yes yes, I realize we’re a pho-review club, but… we like to extend the umbrella from time to time. And since it’s still has noodles, beef and soup – it practically qualifies as pho! And, I have a feeling it’s going to get even busier once the condos across the street are built, especially since this place only has 8 tables.

Bean Sprouts - the best part of any club...er.. pho I mean.

Sadly, despite its size, service was still rather poor, and it was quite cold near the door. However, once we got our steaming bowls of beef vermicelli, things started to warm up!

Bon bo hue: a cure for the cold

Overall, presentation of all the food was excellent. A real bonus was how they included banana leaves – which added some great texture – and, they garnished with banana flowers!

Here’s the review for the bon bo hue!

One size: $8
Beef: “Excellent” (Seriously. That’s all we wrote!)
Noodles: Not bad, not great. As expected!
Broth: Light and sophisticated, very flavourful.
Presentation: 4 out of 4

Note: this place is cash-only.

Overall: 8 out of 10. A couple of pholicious members gave slightly lower scores – but everyone else loved the bon bo hue!

Cafe Xu Hue on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

This was our last meeting of 2010! We ended the year early because I had to go away for school 😦  We first noticed My Chau years ago when we had a meeting next door- Hoa Sinh. My Chau is located on Kingsway between Knight St. and Victoria.  I had a habit of scheduling meetings then finding out the restaurant wasn’t open after everyone arrived :P. Learned my lesson the hard way! I checked their hours and found out they were opened at odd hours! They open at 9am and close at 6pm 😮

My Chau is known from their Pho ga (chicken pho).  It looked amazing but I had to stick to the beef pho for ratings.  I will have to come back for the other 😦 Gotta stay focused! 😛 The restaurant was small; they couldn’t accommodate all of us in one table so we split up.  We were there for a Sunday lunch and it was very busy. That’s always a good sign 😉 Because they were so busy, the service was slow. We waited a while for them to take our orders and had to remind them to give us more teacups.


Here’s the review for the pho!

Small: 6.00, Large 6.50- ample portion for both

beef slices were thin and of good quality

noodles: al dente

broth: light, sweet, piping hot

overall: 8 out of 10. Definitely better than the average place. It’s one I would like to come back to. Recommended!



My Chau on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »