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Archive for the ‘Others’ Category

Pholicious 102-Linh Cafe

There’s two foods that I could eat every day: pho, and French food. Perhaps because pho has such a strong French influence that it’s no surprise, but I’ve never been able to eat at a place that legitimately combines the two. That is, until I heard about Cafe Linh. Chef Tai Nguyen grew up in Vietnam before relocating to Vancouver where he trained in French kitchens until he decided to open up his own place that combined his training with his heritage. When phodacbiet (our barometer of Viet-legit-ness) told us to go check this place out, we went.

Fine Vancouver weather

Fine Vancouver weather

As a Vietnamese restaurant, Linh Cafe was quite clean, well-lit, and “hipstery”. That was an anomaly in the dingy, grungy, and tacky decor that is de rigueur amongst pho restaurants. The french influences were evident with a display case full of french pastries, although the house-made chili sauce was inherently vietnamese.

House made chili sauce

House-made chili sauce

But we’re here for the pho, and although they only had two varieties of pho on the menu (vegetarian and beef), we found it to be full of flavour. Despite the northern roots, this pho included thick chunks of tender beef instead of the typical minced beef. The broth was sublime, where the slight sweetness balanced with the mild lemongrass. The flat noodles, though thicker than normal, were a bit on the softer side, but otherwise didn’t detract from the overall excellent pho.

Northern-style pho

Northern-style pho

Since it is northern-style, the pho did not come with the bean sprouts that are standard with Saigon-style pho. The spring rolls had rice-paper wrappings that were nicely puffed, with only mild chewiness. The filling had a decent texture, and wasn’t too dense. Overall a solid spring roll.

Spring rolls

Spring rolls

Here’s our review of the pho!

One size: $12.99
Beef: decent portion, thick, tender and beefy
Noodles: flat, thick, a little soft.
Broth: Really good broth, depth-y, slightly sweet.
MSG amount: average.
Presentation: 3 out of 4

Overall: 8.75 out of 10

Linh Cafe - French Cooking Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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What does McDonald’s, bubble tea, and pho joints have in common? That is, other than being places where I spent way too much time as a teen? They have stamp cards! Well, at least they do at Cafe Mai Mai which is where we went on the completely un-significant date of July 4th. Although we didn’t celebrate private healthcare and cultural melting pots, we did have special guests Pho-armacist and SleepyPho!

Cafe … err, Pho(?) Mai Mai

Cafe Mai Mai is located in south Granville near 70th Ave, and happens to be the old location of an interesting Japanese-Italian fusion cafe, evidenced by photoshopped photos of Vancouver, ads for chai tea lattes (not available for order) and…uh stock pictures in photo frames?

Vancouver PHOtography

But we aren’t put off by the decor. We’ve been to dives where the decor was much… Dirtier. So this place was quite nice and clean by comparison. Cafe Mai Mai also makes all food and dessert in-house, which led us to have pretty high expectations as Mr. Red Cafe also made everything in-house and we enjoyed the pho there quite a bit.

Stamp cards!

 

Service was friendly, and generally quite good although they did forget Sleepypho’s order. But this was a minor complaint. Once we got our bowls of pho we dug right in.

Pho dac biet

 

The portions were healthy, and came nicely presented. The (meat) balls were tasty and the beef was generally tender, although we noticed that those that got their bowls later found their “medium rare” meat to have become overcooked. The noodles were also overcooked, leaving them with a softish, limp texture. Now, Cafe Mai Mai advertises that they didn’t use MSG in their broth and it showed. It came hot, with a good beefiness to it, and although it was darker in colour, it had a light taste which our members said, could be improved with… Well, to be honest, some MSG.

Pho tai bo vien

 

The sides came with the usual suspects, but the chili peppers were noticeably missing. The spring rolls were nicely crisped but lacked much texture internally. The mango smoothie was also a bit disappointing with weak mango flavour and a watery consistency.

Vegetable spring rolls

 

Cafe Mai Mai has a pretty good premise: food made in-house, no msg, and a loyalty program. While the sides were a little bit of a miss, the pho was solid with good quality beef.
Here’s our review of the pho!

Sm: $7.95 Lg: $8.95
Beef: healthy portion. Tender, good quality.
Noodles: soft, bit overcooked.
Broth: beefy but a bit light.
MSG amount: none.
Presentation: 3 out of 4.

Overall: 7.4 out of 10

Click to add a blog post for Cafe Mai-Mai on Zomato

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Pholicious 95-Pho Capital

If you were to guess where the capital of pho in Vancouver would be, you’d probably guess somewhere along Kingsway, or perhaps East Vancouver. However, if you were to guess where the location of Pho Capital is, the correct answer is smack dab in the middle of Koreatown in Burquitlam. Located in a strip mall with (seriously) ample parking, Pho Capital took the place of a wine-making store, which is good for us, since we’re not here for wine, we’re here for the pho!

Seriously ample parking

Other than the large parking lot, the first thing we noticed upon entering was how clean the interior was. Service was quick and friendly, and the menu even had descriptive photos!

For the new and conPHOOsed

For the new and conPHOOsed

Our food orders came out super quick. So quick, in fact, that in some cases, the fried rolls were almost too hot to eat. But we soldiered through. The fried rolls skins were nice and crispy, although the filling was a bit on the bland side, the texture had a satisfying mixture of soft and crunch. Sides included the usual bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, lime wedges, and gigantic jalapeño slices. Seriously, these were huge. But these were merely side characters, on to the pho!

Gigantic jalePHOnos

Gigantic jalePHOnos

Pho come in small and large sizes, with a copious portions of beef. The tendon were tender, and one member described them as “delicious”, although the brisket was merely “okay, but not great”. The noodles were on the softer side, and the broth was light and clear, but had good depth of flavour.

Good meat to noodle ratios

Good meat to noodle ratios

Here’s our review of the pho!

Small: $7.40 Large: 8.40
Beef: copious amounts of beef, though some had different noodle-to-beef ratios
Noodles: soft
Broth: clear, light, flavorful. Medium amount of MSG.
Presentation:  2 out of 4

Overall:  7 out of 10

Pho Capital on Urbanspoon

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Pho-ology 101 – Answers!

In our last post, we showed you the back-to-school quiz our members took. And here is the answer key!

  1. Vietnam
    Bonus: North
  2. F’UH
  3. Pork
  4. Rice
  5. “Noodles”, or “Fire”
    Bonus: Chinese or French
  6. France
  7. Chicken & Beef
  8. Thai Basil
  9. Sweet Basil
  10. A. Hanoi, B. Saigon, C. Saigon
  11. Central

How did you do? Let us know in the comments!

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Pho-ology 101

Did you know that Pho came from Vietnam? Of course you did! But can you answer the other questions that our pholicious members had to on our Back To School Pho Quiz?

  1. In which country did PHO originate? (You better know this one…)
    A. Bonus point: What region did it originate from? (pick one)
    North  /  Central  /  South
  2. How do you pronounce PHO? (pick one)
    F’UH /  PUH-HO  /  F’OW  /  FO  /  FOO
  3. What is NOT in traditional PHO? (pick one)
    Noodles /  Broth  /  Spices  /  Beef   /  Chicken  /  Pork
  4. What type of noodles is in PHO? (pick one)
    Rice /  Wheat  /  Tapioca  /  Buckwheat
  5. What does the word PHO mean?
    A. Bonus point: where did the word originate from?
  6. Where did PHO broth originate from?
  7. What are the two traditional types of meat used in PHO broth?
  8. What garnishes are NOT part of Saigon PHO? (pick one)
    Sweet Basil /  Onions  /  Chili  /  Cilantro  /  Bean Sprouts
  9. Which spice is NOT in PHO broth? (pick one)
    Saigon Cinnamon /  Star Anise  /  Ginger  /  Black Cardamom  /  Clove  /  Thai  Basil
  10. Compare between northern (Hanoi) and southern (Saigon) PHO, which one has:
    A. Thicker noodles?
    B. Sweeter broth?
    C. More herbs?
  11. Bonus point: What region does Bun Bo Hue come from? (pick one)
    North /  Central  /  South
Pho-ology 101
Pho-ology 101

Here’s how our pholicious members did:

  1. Killer Pho
  2. Phonatic
  3. Pho Dac Biet & Evileye Pho (tie)
  4. Phosicist
  5. Count Pho

Here’s the answer key!

How did you do on our quiz? Let us know in the comments!

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Woah! We’ve been away for a while, but not because we haven’t been regularly seeking out the best Pho in Vancouver! We’ve just been catching up with our reviews and now we’re all caught up!

Sadly we have misplaced Pholicious review sheets from 82-87, but rest assured we’re looking for them, and as soon as we find them, we’ll post ’em!

In the meanwhile, here’s our latest review from this past weekend: I-was-there-before-the-Hipsters Pho.

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Back Pho School

This week, we’re going back to school, PHOlicious school that is~! Not like there’s actually a School for Pho. Or School pho Pho.

Actually, a course where you could learn (and sample) Pho would be an EXCELLENT idea. Hmmmm, must keep that in mind for when our fearless leader returns from her Europho trip.

On Sept 25th, 2011 we went to Hoi An to get us some pho-learnin’ on. Yeah, I learns real good from skool.

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