Once again, my search for good Pho has brought me to an area that is not even remotely synonymous with Vietnamese food (which is Ladner). In fact, Pho Saigon is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Ladner. Other than North Delta, there is not a lot of diversity in Delta itself. But that doesn't mean you can't get good ethnic food out here. Case in point, Maguro is more than acceptable considering its location. I happened to be in Ladner because of a meeting. Naturally, with my luck, it had to be snowing. Long drive home considering I live in Burnaby. For a change, I could actually justify owing an SUV. With snow tires too! However, the actual amount of snow we usually receive in the GVRD is laughable to the rest of Canada. It's like our city is paralyzed at the first sight of snow! And yes, I was fully aware how close I was to Richmond. Close, but far enough away...
Unlike many other Vietnamese joints, Pho Saigon is clean and generally decorated in a relevant theme. Since it was cold and snowing outside, a steaming hot bowl of noodles was the perfect lunch. As always, I went for the Pho Dac Biet, which usually has everything. However, in this case, there was only 3 types of meat without the tripe or tendon... Is this the Ladner version? Tamer and less offal? Slightly lacking in noodles (al dente though); yet with a decent amount of tender rare steak, brisket and meatballs, the Pho was alright. The broth itself was a little weak exhibiting very little meat flavour with a touch of sweetness. If I had to compare it with another restaurant, I would say it isn't too far off from Pho Hoa. I know Pho Hoa is not the pinnacle of Vietnamese food; but you know what to expect there. As a side note, I would've preferred a lime instead of a lemon; yet it is winter, so I'll cut them some slack.
When the server was taking my order, he was a bit shocked I ordered the House Rice Special in addition to the Pho. He looked a me funny and warned me that I wouldn't finish it. I assured him that I was bringing some home. Consisting of 2 Spring Rolls, Lemongrass Chicken, Minced Pork and a Fried Egg on rice, this was a fairly large dish. I was pleasantly surprised with the spring rolls since they used rice wrappers; rather than the wheat ones. Moreover, the filling was plentiful and a good mix. The lemongrass chicken was quite flavourful; yet I found it to be a bit dry in some areas. The minced pork patty was sweet and chewy. Went well with the rice as well as the runny yolk of the fried egg.
Not bad. I was a bit apprehensive since Ladner Village is not the hotbed of Asian food. Yet, the food was ultimately authentic and did do the job. Sure, there is better Vietnamese food in the GVRD. However, there is no competition nearby and I must give them kudos for staying true to the food despite this. Combined with a clean environment and good service, I'd have no problem visiting them again if I were in the neighbourhood.
- Decent food
- Good service
- Pho could use more noodles
- Of course there is better; but not in Ladner