It always seems like we avoid/ignore/take for granted the restaurants that are located closest to us. I seem to travel far and wide in order to experience interesting food. Well, it's quite possible that I tend to forget about the local establishments for that very reason. They are generally not all that interesting. Face it, usually, the most popular and unique restaurants are not located in the burbs, particularly residential areas. Of course there are exceptions; but that is not often the rule. So when I asked Viv if she was in the mood for Vietnamese food, she got all confused when I said we'd go to this place on Hastings near Willingdon. "There's a Vietnamese place there???" she questioned. Well, a Chinese-run Vietnamese restaurant that is...
So how do I know about this place? Well, much like the 6th Sense, I see can see restaurants, where others might ignore. Where some men would nearly sideswipe the car next to them while checking out women, I'd do the same when I excitedly see a restaurant. Oh, those awnings with various fonts are ever-so-sexy! Alright, A Taste of Asia doesn't exude anything sexy, in fact, it is probably as un-sexy you can get for a restaurant. Essentially a mom & pop operation, the prices are rock-bottom and the entire setup is merely functional. I kept this in mind as we were seated at a table which was serenaded by an oscillating fan every 2 seconds. Reminiscent of Eatwell in Coquitlam, the prices could give food fair joints a run for their money.
We started with a Shrimp Salad Roll. For $2.25, we weren't expecting a lot of shrimp and there really wasn't much. However, the roll was fresh and did what it was supposed to do. The peanut dipping sauce was quite thick and a bit too sweet. I tacked on a Cold Cut Banh Mi as well. The bread was crispy and quite chewy. I like mine lighter; however, I know some people prefer chewy, so chalk this up to personal preference. I did like the liberal use of pâté, even though it was not very flavourful. A decent amount of meat with crisp cucumber, carrots and daikon rounded out the sandwich. Good thing I ordered a Banh Mi because the Special Pho was small. I ain't complaining though since it only costs $5.00. Despite its size, there was ample amount of tender rare beef, brisket, tripe, tendon and meatballs. The broth was not too heavy or salty while being slightly oily. Viv went for her usual - Lemongrass Chicken Rice. Now the amount of chicken looks like a lot, in reality, it was thin. Regardless, it was tender with lots of lemongrass flavour. So the food here is okay and probably gets lost among the many other Vietnamese restaurants in town. Mind you, it is their prices that sets them apart. There are not many places where you can order 4 items and spend under $20.00.
- Friendly owner/operators
- Food is alright for the price
- When prices are low, compromises have to be made
- Service is extremely sparse