Pho Don Vietnamese Restaurant

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I had, over the years, passed by Pho Don Vietnamese Restaurant (East Hastings and Renfrew) literally hundreds of times without ever stepping foot inside – until just recently.

During this visit, it was a fairly quiet Thursday evening without a lot of diners. I was seated and given a cup of tea and a menu upon entering the restaurant.

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I picked the Sauteed Beef with Spicy Lemongrass dish, which was served with either rice or fried noodles. I opted for the latter, since I’m not much of a rice fan. Actually, I’m not much of a noodle fan either, but I thought it was at least better than rice.

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The menu indicated that this dish was spicy (one chili symbol). I didn’t think it was any spicy at all, but I guess the problem was that the beef was rather chewy.

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Obviously, this being a typical Asian restaurant, there was not much of any “service” – it was just the bare minimum, much like any other Asian establishment.

There was a flatscreen in either end of the restaurant, but they were not tuned into the sports channels. (It was Game Seven of the Winnipeg-Nashville series.) As for background music, it was – I guess – some sort of satellite radio station with continuous music.

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With Asian places, you can’t take it for granted that they accepted plastic – for example, many places in Richmond are “cash only” establishments – but in Pho Don’s case, they do take debit and credit.

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Pho Thai Hoa Restaurant

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Pho Thai Hoa Restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant located on Kingsway between Knight Street and Victoria Drive, was where I had lunch one Sunday afternoon.

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“Service” is not a concept that Pho Thai Hoa comprehends. When I entered, I announced to one of the two ladies sitting at the table by the front counter that I was eating in. The two ladies were preparing some vegetables at their table, while a younger man was assisting another customer at the front counter.

One of the ladies told me to sit anywhere. I sat at a table. And I was ignored – for a few minutes – until the young man was done with his customer. He grabbed a menu from a small pile at a central table and gave it to me. (You can see the central table in the photo above, the one with a menu or two on there.)

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The good thing was the TV was already on an NFL game on CBS, something that you can’t even take for granted at a Western establishment. (Are you taking notes, Pizza Hut?) The sound was on, so for a while I could hear the announcers broadcast the game. (That changed later when more diners came in and talked loudly to block the broadcast out.)

Anyway, as for the food, the pictures on the menu sometimes can be confusing. The Grilled Marinated Beef skewer, for example, was C$3.00 for one stick, not C$3.00 for three sticks. That makes sense, but the picture on the menu made it confusing, showing three sticks and the price of three dollars.

Anyway, I ordered just the one stick.

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I also had the Com bo luc lac, which was their shaking beef with garlic sauce on rice (C$18.00).

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And here’s another example of what I meant by the confusing menu. I didn’t see anywhere on there that soup came with the rice. So, I was quite surprised when the young man brought soup with the meal. I didn’t know if this was part of the rice or if it was a complimentary item. No idea.

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Overall, the best thing about this place? For me, the sports on their TV was the best thing. I’m not being sarcastic. There was no service to speak of. The beef on rice dish was pricey. Several bites of the beef on the rice were chewy. There was no wifi. Need I go on?

And, also, they didn’t take credit cards; it was cash and debit only. And oh, finally, when I picked up one of their business cards at the front when I was paying, I saw they had two locations but one of them was crossed out (the way some prices were crossed out on the menu).

Would I recommend Pho Thai Hoa? No. There are other restaurants and food places to check out on Kingsway. So, for me, this is likely a one-and-done establishment.

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Where: Pho Thai Hoa Restaurant, 1625 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, Canada  V5N 2S2
Website: skipthedishes.com

Lai Taste (Richmond)

Lai Taste at the food court at Parker Place in Richmond offers various types rice/noodles and other items such as sandwiches.

I’ve gotten their Lemongrass Chicken with Rice a few times; it used to be C$6.00 (including tax) but the price changed in March 2016 to C$6.50. It comes with a small bowl of carrot soup. If you prefer a soft drink, though, it’s an extra dollar and no soup.

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I’ve also gotten some other chicken/pork rice before too – and also beef brisket as well.

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For C$6.50, it’s a pretty good deal for a quick bite if you work in the area!

Address: 1240 – 4380 No. 3 Road, Richmond, BC

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