I recently had lunch at Hai Phong Vietnamese Restaurant in Vancouver on Kingsway with my buddy and as it was my first time dining here, I had to blog about it!
Since it was my first visit, I will almost always opt for pho to try their staple product. My friend got the house special, but I opted to go for the large Rare Beef and Beef Balls with Rice Noodle Soup $8.50.
Upon first glance, you can already tell that there isn’t a lot of meat compared to the amount we get from Thai Son on Garden City in Richmond. After spreading out the meat and noodles, I confirmed that there was indeed a lot less meat than the pho we get from other pho places. The rare beef was all stuck together and quite difficult to separate, and when I received the pho, the rare beef had pretty much already cooked itself to well-done for the most part. The meat pieces were small and all wrinkled up together so it was not that great. As for the beef balls, you can pretty much see all the beef balls I got in the photo above, and they were not whole beef balls. These were slices of beef balls, which were pretty average.
The noodles themselves were not as hard to separate as they were at Pho 37 so this was a plus at least. After the dining experience at Pho 37, which used to be Red Pagoda, I now eat all pho with the stock soup first to see how it holds up, and I only add extra sauces later on when I’m about a 2/3 done. This soup was nowhere near the quality of Pho 37’s broth. It was a very light flavoured soup, and certainly could not hold up by itself as I had to add sauce to it quite early in the meal. This pho was definitely not as good as I was expecting it to be, as I was expecting this to be much better considering their website touts it to be “Vancouver’s Most Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine”. In terms of authenticity, I cannot comment there as I am not Vietnamese, but I would expect the flavour of their pho to be much better if they are making such a claim.
We had also ordered two Spring Rolls $3.50.
This was how the spring rolls arrived, so the presentation of it was off already. The appearance of the spring rolls did not impress much either as they looked to be quite plain compared to spring rolls we’ve had from other pho restaurants. Biting into one confirmed all this as the taste was not very flavourful by itself either. It seemed the skin was too thick on it, and the overall spring roll was just very small. The photo actually makes it look much larger than they actually were. I was quite disappointed at the spring roll order.
Service was prompt and we had no trouble getting service when we needed it. The entire restaurant is quite visible from the cashier area so the staff were always able to attend to any table that needed help. Overall service was ok, nothing special to note.
Overall, this restaurant was quite disappointing to me, as Green Lemongrass was just a couple blocks down Kingsway, and after trying this restaurant, I’d much rather go to Green Lemongrass if I had to pick a pho restaurant in this area. The food was average at best, with the spring rolls really needing to improve. The service was average for a pho restaurant. I would not recommend you guys to check out this restaurant as there are far better options nearby such as Green Lemongrass or even Thai Son which is just a 6 minute drive away (according to Google Maps). I would not revisit this restaurant or bring Jess here neither.
Let me know if you guys have been here and whether you agree or disagree with my review! I’d be interested to hear from diners who’ve eaten here and enjoyed it.
Thanks for reading everyone, munch on!