It is a well-known fact that there are plenty of places to get Pho in Vancouver. Just drive down Kingsway. There seems to be a Vietnamese restaurant every couple of blocks. Kinda reminds me of ABC stores in Honolulu. Now, it may not be a known fact for those who live outside of Surrey that there is a significant Pho presence here as well. Situated in and around Surrey Central and Guildford, there actually great Pho joints. Pho Tam, in particular, is one of my personal favs. However, according to many Pho Tau Bay makes a pretty mean Pho as well. Seeing how it was pouring and cold, a steaming hot bowl of Pho sounded pretty darn good. On my way out there, I passed by another favourite - the Surrey location of Song Huong. That place is pretty sketch from the outside and inside. But it's got nothing on Pho Tau Bay. Boy, it really ain't anything to look at and when I tried to rest my back on the banquette, it almost fell off. Okay, who really cares anyways, we're only here for the food right? That was an homage to Kim...
Being the hungry man that I am (hey that rhymes!), I got 2 items starting with the Pho Dac Biet. It arrived steaming hot and smelling fragrant. One sip of the soup and bam! I was hit with flavour like a Ford Fiesta in a collision with a luxury SUV driven by some clueless idiot. Alright, there is something wrong here. There are no naturally occurring ingredients that can make soup taste that flavourful and sweet. My hunch was MSG. After my meal, it was confirmed by my sudden desire to visit the 7-11 next door for a really large Big Gulp. Soup aside, there wasn't a whole lot of noodles for a large bowl. The meat was tender enough; yet it was only modest in quantity. I give them high marks for the inclusion of saw leaf herb with the sprouts. Thank goodness I ordered a Grilled Chicken and Spring Roll on Broken Rice as well! I gotta say that this was a well-made rice dish. The broken rice had a pleasant texture which was both a bit chewy and soft at the same time. The chicken was fantastic. With a nice char and extremely juicy, the chicken was seasoned properly. A slight sprinkle of sweet fish sauce and the whole dish sang. I really liked it. However, I found the use of wheat wrapper for the spring roll to be disappointing. The spring roll itself was fine. I just question how hard is it to use a rice wrapper instead? That aside and the MSG thing, I rather enjoyed the food at Pho Tau Bay. Not as good as I expected (especially from the rave reviews); yet still does the job.
- Flavourful food
- Reasonably-priced (as with many Vietnamese restaurants)
- Soup base is good; but woah... the MSG!
- Inside is in need of renos (if that matters to you)