vancity’s freshest vietnamese restaurant has hit the streets of victoria drive.
nice clean decor as you walk in and then you notice, there is only one long table, random chatter with other patrons is likely to occur =)
maybe it’s because i’m carefree, but when i step into a joint and see that it’s pre-pay, automatic plus one. minimal dealings with the staff sometimes is a great thing.
soy bean milk – albeit a typical dessert dish or best with congee and [ch] donuts, something told me to try it – unsweetened – pure. seemed to fit the veggie spirit. @ $3 a pop, you could definitely skip the sugar for one meal no?
4 dishes were on my to-do list:
bun chay – vegetarian spring rolls, roasted peanuts, fresh veggies & herbs on vermicelli.
bun tam bi – shredded bean curd, fresh veggies & herbs, roasted peanuts, coconut milk on thick noodle.
curry chay – yellow coconut curry broth, seasonal veggies, tofu on your choice of bread, noodles, or rice.
crispy spring rolls – like a salad roll but with vegetarian substitutes replacing the meat.
i’m a junkie when it comes to salad rolls but surprisingly, the ones i had recently at le do fell short. the ones here were nice to start off and although i didn’t ask, pretty sure they were using some vegetarian nuoc mam (nuoc cham?). bad pic, but here’s a peek:
rice paper roll
the bun chay and bun tam bi were more for the party i was with but still managed to grab a small serving.
bun tam bi
i’m not usually a fan of spring roll with vermi but veg translations of spring rolls hardly ever fail and Chau does it up right here. besides, how can you go wrong once you dunk in the sauce!
the bun tam bi was special. coconut milk with noodles? now the coconut wasn’t very strong but the idea was delightful. there are also vegetarian croquettes so if you dig that faux-meat stuff usually found in chinese vege restos, this will add to your experience.
it’s bad to write at night because the mouth is still salivating from this one. usually curry is the failsafe for something mediocre but this was the champion dish. the broth smelled great, there wasn’t too much of it (a good thing), and the ingredients seemed to work really well. the only thing that pulled away from this was the slightly overcooked pho.
this is definitely the dish to try if one isn’t having the other noodle soups.
if you’re still reading, i actually forgot to take a pic of the curry noodle! the last pic is a pho dish, forgot to ask – oops!
bottom line: i don’t know of a vegetarian pho place. you HAVE to come here if there’s a craving for soup noodles. the lettuce, herbs and roasted peanuts work with the vermicelli dishes making them crunchy and refreshing.
the buddhist vegetarian may not rock out at this place as there are only a dish or two that DOESN’T have ingredients baaaad for the soul (garlic, onions, etc).
this location JUST opened so don’t be surprised to see a couple edited dishes.
surprise: …if you like pho with meat, a few doors down is another hidden gem called Hoi An Cafe.