So, we had a kid's birthday and a baby shower to attend this weekend and we needed to pay Toys R Us/Babies R Us a visit. Naturally, when we get out of the house with the kiddies, we need to find a place that they would actually eat the food. We decide on having some Pho (pronounced Pheu, which means nooodles) at Pho 99, which is also incidentally right next to our favourite Korean restaurant, Insadong. We been to Pho 99 quite a few times in the past, ever since we moved to Burnaby 4 years ago. What can you say, it's cheap, tasty and hits the spot, especially on a cold day.
Naturally, I have the Pho and I chose #19 which is categorized in the "Adventurer's Choice" section since it has brisket, flank, tripe, and tendon. The soup for Pho is not a simple beef broth. Rather, it is slowly simmered for a whole day with beef bones, and spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and garlic. Thus, in the end, you get an incredibly rich broth bursting with flavours. I am happy to say the broth at Pho 99 is indeed rich and flavourful. However, it is on the oilier side and I suspect (much like other places), there is a decent amount of MSG in it. Unlike Pho Hoa, there is a good amount of rice noodle and meat in the broth. One thing I would like to mention is that the brisket was excellent. There were large, meaty strips of soft brisket that maintained it's shape and tasted really good. We actually ordered the roll combo to start and it included 1 fried roll, 1 shrimp salad roll and 1 pork salad roll. All were pretty good, with the vermicelli being soft, but still a bit chewy inside. The fried roll was not oily and was crisp on the outside and packed with filling on the inside. Viv had the Lemon Grass Chicken with Rice and the chicken was flavourful and tender.
With the reasonable prices and good food quality at Pho 99, it is really an excellent value. However, there are some negatives that come with the positives. First and foremost, the washrooms are gross. They seem to deteriorate with every visit. There are these really stupid saloon-type swing doors that lead to the washrooms. Well, let's just say now there is only one swing door. There has been this lonely half swing-door for over a year. I guess they are not too concerned about fixing anything. Secondly, although the service is friendly, it is a bit absent-minded. You could ask for a glass of water and you may never get it. It's not bad service, it's just minimal. With that being said, Pho 99 is still a solid choice for Vietnamese food in the Burquitlam area.
- Food is quite good
- Portions are reasonable
- Food comes out quick
- Restaurant cleanliness is a concern
- Service can be a bit better
#62 - 2991 Lougheed Hwy