Red Pagoda

Sunday morning hockey is always a welcomed activity in my books. Think of it. I actually do something productive on a weekend morning and get some exercise out of it. Sure, I could probably sleep or sit around surfing the net instead; but I'd miss out on eating. Eating? What does that have to do with Sunday morning hockey? C'mon any team sport is not worth playing if there is no eating involved afterwards! I'm particularly interested in the location of Sunday as well - Britannia. Yup, right next to a multitude of eating options on the Drive! You see, my sports activity schedule is strategically planned around location. Friday hockey is on the North Shore and Monday softball is generally on the Westside of Vancouver. That's pretty good coverage!

Of course eating would not be very fun without willing participants. Sure, I regularly eat alone and it's not that big of a deal. However, I often wonder what people think when I'm "creepily" snapping photos of my Bean Dip in the corner of a restaurant? I can only imagine... So thankfully, we had JuJu and Emilicious out with me for some Commercial Drive eats today. My wish was to give Red Pagoda a try. I promised JuJu that it was only a few blocks away from Brit. Turns out it was more like 4 blocks. He kept whining about how he was getting tired. I'm not sure how he managed 1.5 hours of hockey! We finally got to Red Pagoda and as if it was meant to be, we got the last window seat. Really good day for it too with an open window facing the nice sunshine and light breeze. Oh, and also the rabid German fans cruising in their Volkswagens celebrating a win in the World Cup. Hey, that's the atmosphere you get on the Drive!

Being quite hungry after the game, I went ahead and got both the Shrimp Brochette and the Chicken Brochette. They were both served separately with vermicelli, sprouts and greens. I thought that the shrimp was cooked perfectly with a nice crunchy texture. The chicken was also done properly with a charred exterior giving way to a moist interior. However, I though that both, and especially with the chicken, were quite sweet and that was the predominant flavour. JuJu got the Shrimp Salad Roll and there must've been the whole head of lettuce in it. So much so, the other end looked Carrot Top, except it was green. Too bad there was so much lettuce and not enough shrimp. Otherwise, it would've been more balanced. It look more like a lettuce roll than anything. The peanut sauce was good though since it was thick and very peanutty. He continued on with something a bit different in a bowl of Spicy Pho. He thought it was pretty flavourful; yet not too spicy. The rest of the ingredients are the typical ones you'd find in a regular bowl of pho. Well-executed all around though.

Emilicious and I decided to go for the regular pho instead. I'm not sure which one she had; but I got the "everything" version - Pagoda Special Beef Noodle Soup. Consisting of rare beef, flank, brisket, meatball and tripe (no tendon!), this bowl of noodles was pretty good. The noodles were still a bit chewy and there was a decent amount of meat. The beef soup was a little on the thin side being predominantly sweet.

Just like the last time at Le Do, I got a dish for Viv to go. I asked for it to be brought to the table first before packing it up. Hey, I wanted to take a plated picture of the food! I know, it's bordering on OCD... If you look at the picture of the Lemongrass Chicken on Rice, you can barely see any rice because there is so much meat! Viv turned this dish into 2 meals. She thought the chicken was a bit on the dry side and predominantly sweet. She didn't get much in the way of lemongrass flavour. Sure, the meal wasn't perfect; yet it was decent all-around. Prices are fair considering the location and service was friendly. Despite being satisfied with our meal, we spotted some Banh Mi across the street... Much like Lord of the Rings, in the words of Pippen and Merry, "time for 2nd breakfast!"

The Good:
- Decent food
- Friendly service
- Good portions

The Bad:
- As with any restaurant on Commercial, parking is an issue
- Slightly pricier than other Vietnamese joints

Red Pagoda on Urbanspoon

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