Gia Minh

Giah Minh is a Vietnamese joint located on Fraser Street, a couple of blocks away from 49th Avenue. Their menu consists of the usual popular Vietnamese fare, along with a variety of drinks and desserts. I had their BBQ Chicken, Spring Rolls with Vermicelli and Mango Shake.

BBQ Chicken, Spring Rolls with Vermicelli ($10):


4/5
The spring roll was not exactly hot, but still quite crispy and flavourful. The chicken was tender and flavourful; I was missing a bit of charred flavour, however.

Mango Shake ($4.50):


4.5/5
The shake was creamy but not overly rich, and not all icy. It had a great fragrance of mango, and was sweet without being overly so.

I was very impressed with Giah Minh: the food was solid; I was especially impressed by their shakes. The prices were very affordable. The only criticism I have is the service, which can be a little lacking at times. All in all however, this is a solid Vietnamese joint that I’d highly recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Mango Shake
Gia Minh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bon Cafe

Bon Cafe is located on the corner of 33rd and Main. The place used to be, many years ago, some kind of Chinese dim sum shop. This has now been replaced a Vietnamese joint. They have a menu consisting of pho, rice dishes, vermicelli and drinks. I had their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli and Vietnamese Coffee.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli ($12.25):


3.5/5
I really enjoyed the spring roll, which was very crispy and had a nice savoury filling. The chicken was quite tender and juicy, although I would have liked it to be a bit more charred, and it was a tad underseasoned. The pickled vegetables were quite nice, but

Vietnamese Coffee, Cold ($5):


4/5
This consisted of drip coffee in a filter that’s over a cup containing a layer of condensed milk. You wait for the coffee to slowly flow into the cup and mix it with the milk. I wanted the coffee to be cold, so it came with a glass of ice. The coffee was quite strong and had a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness with the condensed milk.

I really enjoyed the food at Bon Cafe. The prices were a bit on the higher end, but not unreasonable. This is a spot that’s worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli, Vietnamese Coffee
Bon Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thai Son – Victoria Dr.

I’ve been pretty much snowed in for the past couple of days. Not wanting to go out far from my house, I decided to check out Thai Son for lunch recently. They are a cash-only Vietnamese restaurant with several locations in Vancouver. The one that I went to was on Victoria Drive, which was built in the location where a Church’s Chicken used to be. They have quite a large menu of various noodle soups, as well as rice and vermicelli dishes. I had a small Vietnamese Beef Brisket Stew with Egg Noodles and Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops on Steamed Broken Rice. Unfortunately, I forgot the exact prices of the dishes; all I remember was that they were both under $10.

Vietnamese Beef Brisket Stew with Egg Noodles, Small (around $9.50):


4/5
This contained beef brisket, egg noodles, and carrots. The noodles had a really nice bouncy texture. There was a pretty good amount of meat present, which while a bit on the chewy side, was still tasty. I particularly enjoyed the broth though, which was rich and quite flavourful, with just a slight bit of heat.

Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops on Steamed Broken Rice (around $9.50):


4/5
This came with a small side of soup, which was just broth. The pork chops themselves were quite tender and juicy, and did have a grilled flavourful and fragrance. The rice was also well-cooked, with a nice bouncy texture.

I quite enjoyed my visit to Thai Son: the food was quite tasty and the prices were quite inexpensive (they also have an additional 10% off during Tuesdays). The only negative is that the service wasn’t particularly friendly/helpful, but that is to be expected i most types of joints like these. I think it’s definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beef Brisket Stew, Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops
Thai Son Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paris Bakery

When I hear a place named “Paris Bakery” I’d assume a fancy French patisserie. Not so for the shop of that name that’s located on The Drive. No, they are actually a Vietnamese Banh Mi joint in the same vein as Banh Mi Saigon, which I visited about a month ago. In addition to various Banh Mi sandwiches, they also have appetizers and drinks. Everything appears to be made on order, and I do think that they make their own baguette. I had their Salad Rolls, Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi, and Paris Special Banh Mi.

Salad Rolls ($6):


3.5/5
These are stuffed with vermicelli, veggies, shrimp and pork and comes with dipping sauce. The rolls have a nice texture, with the noodles being chewy and bouncy and the veggies providing crunch. They are bland on their own, but tasty when dipped into the sauce, which was slightly tangy and had a slight peanut flavour. They also appear to wrap the rolls on order, which is impressive.

Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi ($4.75):


4/5
This banh mi was filled with pickled veggies, lemongrass chicken, and condiments like butter and mayo. The bread was crusty on the outside and chewy on the interior. There was a pretty decent amount of chicken, which was tender and juicy, and had a wonderful fragrance of lemongrass.

Paris Special Banh Mi ($4.75):


4/5
This was similar to the lemongrass chicken, but with various cold cuts instead of the lemongrass chicken. I personally didn’t find the meat here to be as flavourful as the chicken was, but it was still quite a tasty sandwich.

Even though I’m a bit disappointed that Paris Bakery’s not a patisserie, I still enjoyed my visit. Their banh mis, while not as large as the ones from Bah Mi Saigon, are just as tasty in my opinion, and the prices are very cheap. This is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Banh Mi
Paris Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Mai-Mai

I used to put tons of milk and sugar into my coffee in order to make it more palatable. My typical cup probably consisted of 1/2 coffee and 1/2 milk and sugar. I have, in the past 2 years or so, gotten more used to the taste of black coffee however. There is an espresso machine in the lab where I’m currently doing my graduate school that I used every morning to save up on buying coffee myself. Unfortunately, the machine does break from time to time, and has been out of service this week, meaning that I had to resort to instant coffee in order to get my much needed caffeine kick. And while I’m by no means a coffee expert, instant coffee just tasted bland to me. Thus, when I saw Vietnamese Coffee on the menu of Cafe Mai-Mai, I was naturally inclined to order. The latter is a small Vietnamese joint located on Granville, in Marpole. They serve up a basic menu consisting of the regular Vietnamese pho and other dishes. In addition to the coffee, I had their Pork Patty Salad Rolls and Com Ga.

Pork Patty Salad Rolls, 2 pc ($7.25):


3.5/5
The salad rolls contained vermicelli and pieces of pork, and is served with a side of peanut sauce. The pork was tender and had a nice flavour. On their own, the rolls were a bit on the bland side, however they are quite tasty when dipped in the sauce.

Com Ga ($11.25):


3/5
This consisted of lemongrass chicken on rice. Unfortunately, I found the chicken here to be a tad of a letdown: it was a little underseasoned and bland, and missing the charred grilled flavour. It wasn’t bad though, and I still enjoyed it.

Vietnamese Coffee ($4.25):


4/5
This was coffee served on a layer of condensed milk. Full disclosure: I’m definitely not a coffee expert and I can’t tell the difference between good coffee and bad coffee. I can only say that I really enjoyed the drink here: the coffee paired incredibly well with the condensed milk, which lent a great creaminess and a nice sweetness.

After spending the last few days drinking instant coffee, I must say that the Vietnamese Coffee from Cafe Mai-Mai has been a nice change (I don’t know why I never thought of putting condensed milk into my coffee before, especially seeing that my mom used to buy it quite often). The rest of the food is fairly decent. Prices are fairly reasonable while the service is minimal, but friendly. All in all, not a bad joint for some Vietnamese fare.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pork Patty Salad Rolls, Vietnamese Coffee
Cafe Mai-Mai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Banh Mi Saigon

Have you ever had an incident where you’re eating something in public, and there’s someone there staring at you hungrily and you feel really awkward and a little guilty about it? It happened to me recently after my visit to Banh Mi Saigon. However, instead of a human, this time it was a crow.

dav
Well, this is a little awkward…

I encountered this guy during my trip to Banh Mi Saigon. The latter is a small Vietnamese joint located on Victoria, a couple of blocks from 41st Avenue. Their menu consists of mostly Banh Mi sandwiches and various drinks; they do have an oven inside and probably make their own bread and everything else from scratch. Their sandwiches all contain vegetables and mayo, with different meats depending on the variety that you chose, and currently range from $5-$5.50. I had their Heo Uop Xa (Lemongrass Pork), Ga (Chicken), and Dac Biet (Special) Banh Mi.

Carrying my baguettes, I headed over to a nearby bus stop and waited for the 20 to come an take me back home. This is where I encountered the crow showed up and began staring at me, or more accurately, the baguettes that were sticking out of the bag that I was holding. I guess I can’t really blame it too much since the sandwiches do look awfully tasty. Finally, I caved in and put a small piece of one baguette onto the ground for the bird before making my way home with the rest.

Heo Uop Xa, Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi ($5.50):


3.5/5
This contained lemongrass pork, mayo, and vegetable. The bread was quite crusty on the outside. It was a tad bit soggy on the interior due to the filling. The meat was well-seasoned and flavourful, albeit a tad on the dry side. I really enjoyed the mayo, which provided a great creaminess. I didn’t think the sandwich was as overstuffed as some reviewers say, but they were still quite generous with the meat.

Ga, Chicken Banh Mi ($5.50):


4/5
This contained chicken, mayo, soy sauce, and vegetable. Flavourwise, this was quite similar to the lemongrass pork, except with chicken instead. The meat here was more tender and juicy. Although the portion seemed a bit more stingy than that from the pork. Again, I really enjoyed the mayo, which was creamy and flavourful.

Dac Biet, Special Banh Mi ($5.50):


4/5
This contained ham, headcheese, meat ball, meat loaf, pate, mayo, soy sauce, and vegetable. This sandwich was certainly not short on meat. All off the coldcuts were tender and quite flavourful (quite honestly, I’ve got no idea of what I was eating, but it was all tasty). I do wish that there was a bit more mayo in this sandwich however: the flavour wasn’t as prevalent as it was in the two previous sandwiches.

I’m really glad to have checked out Banh Mi Saigon. The sandwiches didn’t blow me away, but were still very tasty, with a good amount of filling. They are also quite generous in size for the price. This is definitely a place that I’d recommend for a tasty and very affordable meal.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Banh Mi (which ever variety you prefer)
Banh Mi Saigon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro – Kerrisdale

What is a baoguette? That was the question that I wanted to find the answer to when I visited Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro. They are a Vietnamese joint located in Kerrisdale on 41st Avenue (they have an additional place in Denman). They serve up a menu consisting of the usual popular Vietnamese food: banh mi, pho, and rice/vermicelli dishes. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, I realised that their “baoguettes” were just regular baguettes/banh mi. Oh well. I ended up getting their house Special Baoguette and Com Cari Ga (with rice) instead.

Com Cari Ga with Rice ($10):


3.5/5
This was served with either a baguette or rice, I had the rice. The curry was very fragrant and had a nice bit of heat. I did find it to be lacking a bit of seasoning/salt however. There were four generous pieces of chicken, which were tender and juicy (by virtue of being dark meat); I did find it to be also a bit lacking in salt as well. The portion was quite generous for the price.

House Special Baoguette ($5.95):


4/5
This contained ham, cold cuts and pickled vegetables. The bread had a nice crispy texture on the outside while being soft and fluffy on the inside. The filling was very flavourful. I was surprised to find that it had quite a sweet flavour; it was a bit jarring at first, but it did grow on me.

I was a bit disappointed not to have gotten to try an actual baoguette. However, the food at Baoguette was still fairly good, with more than reasonable prices. The service was pretty minimal, and the staff weren’t really warm or attentive, although they weren’t mean or rude either. All in all, while I did enjoy my visit, I do think that there are much better joints available.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 2/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: House Special Baoguette
Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vietnamese Restaurant

So while I was writing my review for Vietnamese Restaurant, I actually had a bit of a hard time locating it on the internet. Type in “Vietnamese Restaurant Vancouver” and you get a bunch of hits. I then tried typing in “Vietnamese Restaurant, Main Street” and again I ended up getting several hits. More confusingly, for some reason the restaurant that I went to is called “Cambie Vietnamese Restaurant” even though it’s certainly NOT on Cambie. No, the place is located on Main Street, near King Edward Ave. In addition to popular dishes that you’d find at most places (lemongrass chicken, pho etc), they do also have some more less common dishes like stuffed chicken, seafood, and hot pot pilaf. I’ve tried their Chicken Grand-Mere Farcie and one of their dinner combos.

dav
Complimentary Tea

Chicken Grand-Mere Farcie ($11.99):


3.5/5
This was chicken that has been stuffed with mushroom, ground pork, and onions, and is served with rice and salad. The chicken was a tad overcharred and a bit on the underseasoned side, but still tender and tasty, with a great fragrance from the mushrooms. I did also quite enjoy the salad, which was nicely dressed and had a sweet/tangy flavour.

Combination D ($13.99):


4/5
This came with pork brochette, Vietnamese roll dip, Vietnamese steamed crepes, prawns imperial, and rice vermicelli. It is served with vinegar, some sweet/sour dip for the spring rolls, and also peanut sauce at your request (which I strongly recommend getting, unless if you’re allergic to peanuts of course). I loved the roll dip and prawns imperial, both of which are similar to spring rolls, and are very fresh, hot, crispy and full of fillings. The pork brochette was quite tender and had a nice charred flavour. The steamed crepes are similar to rice rolls, and contain ground pork inside; I did find it to be a tad bland on its own, but it was very good with the peanut sauce.

I really enjoyed my trip to “Cambie” Vietnamese Restaurant. The food was quite tasty; I particularly enjoyed their fried foods like Vietnamese roll dip (which is actually a spring roll) and Prawns Imperial (another type of spring roll). The staff are also friendly and greet customers as ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, and the prices are quite reasonable. This is definitely a place that’s worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Vietnamese Roll Dip, Prawns Imperial

 Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gold Train Express II

Not too long ago I visited a Vietnamese restaurant called Pure Delight Cafe located on Broadway. Apparently, the restaurant had undergone renovations, including a name change from Gold Train Express II. However, I have since discovered that there is actually a restaurant called Gold Train Express II that’s apparently located on 10th Avenue an Sasamut (and that also serves Vietnamese food). I guess that’s probably why the other restaurant ended up changing their name in order to avoid confusions.

Anyways, I did quite enjoy Vietnamese food, so I decided to pay a visit to Gold Train Express II this week. They have a pretty big menu of the usual Vietnamese noodle soups, rice dishes, vermicelli, and banh mi. I decide to get their Lemongrass Chicken & Pork with Fried Rice and an X-large Curry Beef with Vermicelli.

Lemongrass Chicken & Pork with Fried Rice ($11.50):


4/5
This consisted of a generous piece of grilled chicken and pork chop on top of fried rice (which you can get for an additional $1), and was served with some pickled vegetables. I loved the meat: the chicken was tender and flavourful and had a great fragrance of ginger while the pork was tender and juicy, and had a wonderful charred flavour and sweetness. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the fried rice nearly as much: I found it to be quite bland and nowhere near as good as the version that I had previously at Pure Delight Cafe.

X-Large Curry Beef with Vermicelli ($10.50):

dav
X-Large Curry Beef with Vermicelli


3.5/5
This consisted of a bowl of beef, potatoes and vermicelli in a curry-flavoured broth. The beef was very tender, although a bit bland. Although I would have like there to be a bit more meat, given the price, I think that the portion is fairly reasonable. The noodles had a pretty good, bouncy texture. The broth was mildly sweet and contained peanuts, with provided a good fragrance, although I would have liked the curry flavour to be a bit stronger.

I quite liked the food at Gold Train Express, in particular their Lemongrass Chicken & Pork. Their prices are also very reasonable. The service was a bit lackluster however: while the food comes reasonably quick, the server’s not particularly attentive and can be also a bit slow. All in all, while I do prefer Pure Delight Cafe, this is still a more than decent restaurant, and worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Lemongrass Chicken, Pork Chop
Gold Train Express II Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pure Delight Cafe

I’ve never had lemongrass chicken before. Yes, it’s hard to believe, especially considering how many Vietamese restaurants there are in Vancouver, but I’ve never actually gotten around to visiting them. My narrow-minded parents generally scoff at the food from other Asian countries because they’re all cheap knockoffs of Chinese cuisine (with Japanese being the only exception), and growing up, I haven’t gotten much exposure to food from other countries. Wanting to rectify this situation, I decided to visit Pure Delight Cafe today. They are a restaurant located on West Broadway in Kits that was apparently formerly called Golden Train Express, but has since undergone renovations and has now been renamed Pure Delight Cafe. They have a quite a large menu of Vietnamese dishes. Of course, I had to get their lemongrass chicken, and ordered their Lemongrass Chicken Fried Rice.

Lemongrass Chicken Fried Rice ($11.95):


4/5
This came with a generous portion of fried rice that’s topped with a large piece of lemongrass chicken and was accompanied by a side of pickled radishes and carrots. The rice contained dried shrimp and some other ingredients that I couldn’t honestly recognize, and had a nice fragrance as well as savoury flavour. The chicken was tender, juicy and flavourful with a nice char. I couldn’t detect any lemongrass flavour (although to be fair I actually don’t know what lemongrass flavour is like; I’m assuming that it’s, well, lemony), but that didn’t really bother me too much. The portion was good and quite filling.

Wanting to try some pho, which is probably the most popular Vietnamese dish around here, I returned the following day and had their Beef Ball Satay Noodle Soup. You have the option of getting a small, medium or large. Of course, I had the large.

Beef Ball Satay Noodle Soup (Large, $10.95/$11.95):

dav
Beef Ball Satay Noodle Soup – big bowl!


3.5/5
This consisted of a bowl of broth blended with chili paste and filled with rice noodles and beef meat balls. The broth was light, with a savoury and mildly spicy flavour. The noodles had a nice bouncy texture. The beef balls were just the standard type that you get from Asian places like T&T, but were still tasty and had an enjoyable bouncy texture. The large was seriously a real big portion and I actually had trouble finishing it (I did succeed in the end, but I was seriously STUFFED).

dav
At this point I was wondering if I should have gotten the medium size
dav
I made it! (so full!)

Now I do have a bit of a confusion regarding the price: on the menu, I think that it was $11.95 for the large version, when I got the bill however, I was charged $10.95. Hey, I’m certainly not going to complain about being charged less than I thought, I just don’t know if it was a typo on the menu or a mistake by the server.

Fortune Cookies (comes with bill):

So I’ve finally tried lemongrass chicken, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. My visit to Pure Delight Cafe has certainly made me gain an appreciation for Vietnamese food, and I’ll certainly be exploring more of it in the future. The prices at this restaurant are quite reasonable, especially taking in account their generous, hearty portions. Service-wise, the food comes very quickly (I got my noodle within probably 5 minutes of ordering); the server I had was very quiet and reserved, but quite attentive. This is definitely a good place for a tasty and affordable meal in Kits.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Lemongrass Chicken Fried Rice

Pure Delight Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato