Ha Long Bay: A Good Bowl of Pho in Downtown Vancouver
Ha Long Bay
430 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Who says you can’t find good pho downtown? Dennis introduced me to Ha Long Bay located between our two offices near the downtown core.
Since I’ve never been here before, I had to follow the first rule of a first time visit to a pho house: order the #1 Special. The Special at any pho house is the benchmark item that sets the bar for the rest of the menu. This is because the Special usually has a bit of everything, most importantly, those thin slices of silky beef. If instead of paper thin slices of beef, you get big slabs of meat with your #1 Special pho, you know you’re at a bad pho house.
Our piping hot bowls of noodles came to the table, steaming and fragrant. Dennis ordered the spicy noodle soup with beef and pork. His bright red bowl of spicy noodles definitely smelled strongly of chillies and spices. I hate bean sprouts, which worked out great for Dennis because he really went to town with them, dumping the entire side plate of bean sprouts into his bowl of noodles.
Dennis enjoyed his noodles and said they were flavourful and perfect for the cold, rainy Vancouver day.
My #1 Special pho: noodles in soup with rare beef, tripe, flank and beef balls was delicious! Totally hit the spot for my pho craving. The noodles were al dente, the soup was flavourful, and mostly importantly, those thin slices of beef were the perfect texture and flavour. Bright pink until I dunked them into the hot broth, the beef was tender and tasty.
The giant chunks of beef balls were scrumptious as well- sort of the Vietnamese version of mystery meat. The pieces of tripe were on the skinny side, I happen to enjoy big, thick, chewy pieces of tripe (like those huge strips of it from Kent’s Kitchen in Chinatown) but all in all, this was a good bowl of pho outside of the pho capital of Kingsway Avenue.