11443 Kingsway Avenue NW, Edmonton
It’s been ages since I’ve been to a Vietnamese restaurant. I usually go for other types of food, but last week, Lequyen, was craving it so we decided to go. I actually don’t eat Vietnamese food very often anymore. I moved to Edmonton when I was 17, and since then, only really came home for summers when I was in school, and now only holidays, so I don’t eat Vietnamese food very often unless I cook it myself. I grew up eating pho at least once a week though, and just kind of got tired of it. Even now, I don’t really crave it. My mom really did make good pho though. Usually, when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I get another traditional dish, broken rice, pork chop, fried egg, and shredded pork. Like I’ve said before, anything with a fried egg on top, I am there!
Out of all of the Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve been to in Edmonton, I’ve mostly liked Pho Hoan Pasteur in Kingsway the most. I know they have a location in the North, and I think they just opened up a location somewhere in the south. Out of all the times that I’ve been here, there’s always been a high volume of people, both Asian and otherwise.
My sister decided to get the Pho Dac Biet, which is basically the “special” which has a little bit of all the meat, and I went with the aforementioned rice dish. My sister’s boyfriend, Cole, was with us and he had the “Bun 5 Mau” (which means Noodles-5- colours), which is a vermicelli bowl with 5 different kinds of meat.
We decided to get the Green Onion Cake to share. It’s one of me and my sister’s favourite thing to share. These were the biggest green onion cakes that I’ve ever seen. I really couldn’t tell you whether or not they were made in-house or not, but I can comment that I’ve never really seen one quite like it. Width-wise, it’s the same as all the others, but it was so fluffy and tall. It came out super hot, and it was nice and flaky. I’d definitely recommend trying it out if you like green onion cake!
As far as the pho broth goes, it’s pretty decent at Pho Hoan Pasteur. It’s nice and savoury, and not too salty. My sister loves to drown her broth with hoisin sauce, so I had to be quick and get some in before she added too much. One thing I do have to comment on though, is that it didn’t seem like she had a lot of meat in hers. I know with the special bowl, you get “a little bit” of everything, but this was a bit extreme. I don’t know if it was just this occasion, but in terms of quantity of meat, I think you’re better off getting a more specialized pho bowl. Overall though, everything was decent. I personally like the meatballs in pho. My mom owns a Vietnamese Sausage shop, and she supplies a few Vietnamese restaurants with sausages and meatballs, and sells to all of the Asian Supermarket, so it’s a good chance that I could be eating something in the soup that’s from my family’s shop.
The first thing I always notice about the rice dish, is whether or not it’s served with broken rice (com tam) or regular rice. This dish is traditionally served with broken rice, and mostly served in Ho Chi Minh. That’s how it’s served here, so that’s always a good sign. The portion size is pretty good, so much so, that all of the rice was covered with something. Definitely a lot of protein going on the plate. Everything was really good. The pork chop was really well seasoned, and not too greasy. The egg was runny, and delicious to eat with the rice. The shredded pork was also very good. This can be a little bit strange for some people, because it’s actually shredded pork skin (bi), with roasted rice powder (bot thinh), and it’s kind of an acquired taste. The texture can throw you off if you don’t know what to expect! If you’re iffy on this, you can get the pork chop with spring rolls instead, which is another option on their menu. If you’re not in the mood for soup, this is definitely my go-to.
The 5 colour vermicilli bowl was also pretty good. The meat you get with this is beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, and spring rolls for 12.50. You definitely get a lot of meat with this dish. Everything tastes pretty much typical for a Vietnamese restaurant. Nice lemongrass flavour, and well seasoned. The spring rolls were decent, your average spring roll. This is a pretty safe dish to get if you don’t want soup or rice. It comes with a little bit of everything, and it all taste pretty good, and it’s a good deal too.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Pho Hoan Pasteur. I’ve been here a few times in the last few years, and it’s been fairly consistent. They have a fairly loyal customer base, and it was voted one of the best Vietnamese restaurants by Avenue Edmonton in March of 2015. I always see them packing up hot sauce into little containers for take out orders, so it seems a lot of people like to get take-out from here as well. I think the pho here is pretty decent, and the rice/vermicelli dishes were pretty good too. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet. I’ve also just had the chance to write about another Vietnamese place by happenstance, Pho Huong Mama Pizza (Pizza and Vietnamese food?! I know, right?). I’ve actually been here a few times, and I’ve always found the pizza better. I will write about it next week!