My evaluation of a Vietnamese Restaurant: Pho Thai Hoa in Richmond
A friend of mine is into a car show called Top Gear and had me watch an episode recently in which three bungling British fellows receive the impossible task of getting from one end of Vietnam to the other, solely on scooters and motorbikes. While I enjoyed their dry British humour and slapstick comedic style, what I appreciated most about the show were the scenes where the characters shared meals. The outdoor cafes and quaint little restaurants provided much more of a lure to come and explore Vietnam than any of the beautiful scenary shots did. It got me seriously craving Vietnamese food.
And there is no dearth of Vietnamese food in Vancouver—from pho to subs, it’s all available—and why not, Vietnamese people constitute the fifth largest non-European ethnic groups in Canada. The food is healthy, tasty, interesting and usually extremely affordable. You can find tons of little places with intriguing names lining the streets of Kingsway or Main; but one of my favourite places has got to be Pho Thai Hoa in Richmond. There is a branch on Kingsway that I have yet to try.
All right, I admit it, the décor is, well, let’s face it: bizarre. The entire restaurant is basically themed to simulate sitting on the deck of the Titanic, complete with “weathered” planks, a stormy sea mural and several life preservers. However, barring the ambiance, the food at this place is simply phenomenal, featuring some of the city’s finest Vietnamese cuisine. What makes it different from other Vietnamese places? After a brief analysis, I found it comes down to:
They have a comprehensive menu boasting a startling array of beef noodle soups, a variety of Vietnamese subs, and a fabulous combination of rice bowls. It’s not easy to find all of these options in the same restaurant.
Their food is tasty enough so that one would notice a marked difference from other Vietnamese places. Their lemon grass chicken, for example, is tender with the strong flavour and aroma of lemongrass.
I find that one of the best ways of evaluating freshness in a Vietnamese restaurant is by checking out their salad rolls. Salad rolls are usually a combination of shrimp, lettuce and rice noodle wrapped in a rice wrapper. The salad rolls here come packed with all of the above and include other goodies such as cucumber and other goodies. Sprinkled with nuts on top, their peanut sauce is seriously good.
I’m not really talking about value for money or huge Costco sized servings, although there is that too. Generally, I happen to find most Vietnamese places easy on the wallet. I am talking about the fact that they do not skimp on the amount of fillings, or fresh veggies that get piled on your plate. It comes down to being exactly what you want and need for your meal.
If my evaluation even somewhat piques your interest, consider stopping by for a bite!
Pho Thai Hoa Specs:
Where? 1101-8328 Capstan Way, Richmond 604-278-8028
When? 10 am to 10 pm
What? Basically, I’ve never really encountered something I didn’t like on their menu. My personal fave? Steamed crepes. Triple yum.