Sherman's Food Adventures: Pho Tau Bay

Pho Tau Bay

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.

The Good:
- Flavourful food
- Reasonably-priced (as with many Vietnamese restaurants)

The Bad:
- Soup base is good; but woah... the MSG!
- Inside is in need of renos (if that matters to you)

Pho Tau Bay on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We ate there a while back and thought it wasn't as good as Pho Tam either but I had heard great reviews as well. I heard once that these owners were relatives of Pho Tam, not sure if that were true.

btw, I have seen some coupons in the mail for C-lovers in Newton serving $10.99 all you can eat fish and chips and drink. Wondering if or when you might give it a try?

Sherman said...

Yah, I've seen that too. I will eventually. I've been to their location in North Van and it's pretty good. Similar to Cockney Kings.

Macadamia y Lucuma said...

Oooh shame about the msg! Thats the good thing about making your own at home, you dont need to add any and seriously its better! Besides that I am living in Peru and after living in Melbourne I NEED Pho occasionally! I used to be in Pho Chu The once a week for a while. The only problem here is that i haven{t found one (not 1!) Vietnamese restaurant. Heres the one I made recently http://macadamiaylucuma.com/2011/05/el-pho-de-jason/ - its in spanish and english (2 versions).

Anonymous said...

I guess it's a matter of opinion but many people I know (who are Vietnamese) would recommend Pho Tau Bay. Pho Tam's food isn't as good as it used to be, for a few years now...

Sherman said...

Well, food is a very personal thing. That's why we have so many restaurants. It's funny though. I have many Vietnamese friends as well and there is no consensus either. Some say the reverse of what you said and some even say Pho Vinh is better. For me, I still like Pho Tam the best.

cp said...

they opened a location at 7338 king george blvd