Karl loves his Asian food. He really does. Probably more than me. I think he is really Asian but ended up German by mistake... Heck, he even traveled all the way to Vietnam for a bowl of Pho. Well, not just for that, but you get the idea. Hence, when he ranted and raved about Green Bamboo and their wonderful Pho, it meant that I had no choice but to try it. Originally, we were supposed to meet up there for lunch, but he couldn't make it. Undeterred, I did not change my plans and went there anyways. I was able to recruit the eating abilities of Big D to ensure there would be more variety. Oh, and he is good company too... When Karl said the place is small, that would be an understatement. Essentially organized as an L-shape, the dining space boasts 8 tables at the most. If you don't want to wait, come early. For some odd reason, I made the bad decision and parked in the Crystal Mall parkade and let's just say it took me 10 minutes to get out after lunch. *sigh*
When Big D finally arrived, I found out he had parked on Willingdon and opted to pay for parking rather than navigate Crystal Mall. A smart man I tell ya. Not only being smart, he has a healthy appetite too. Thus, we had 2 appetizers beginning with the Spring Rolls. At first, I was wondering about the relatively high price on the menu, but once these hit the table, it became understandable. They were really big and could be considered a meal in-itself. Definitely brownie points for using a rice flour wrapper too. Although the filling was tasty, the meat was a touch too mushy for me. Big D read on Urbanspoon that the Dumplings were fantastic here (they have Chinese food too), so he wanted to try them out. I don't know about them really. We were indifferent. Sure, the dumpling skin was not too thick and perfectly cooked. However, the chive and shrimp filling was lacking texture and body.
Big D ended up with the Beef Rice Noodle Soup with Tomato Beef Stew. This was pretty flavourful being on the sweeter side. We suspected that there was a good amount of MSG used in this and it was confirmed later by our incredible need for a Big Gulp. There was lots of tender brisket, although the copious amount of fat probably helped. Overall, this was pretty good. For myself, I had no choice but to order the Pho Dac Biet (because that would be like going to a burger joint and not ordering a burger... oh like Miss Y!). Much like the soup that Big D had, this one was flavourful and was pretty balanced. However, it could've stood to have more meat flavour. The noodles were still chewy while the meats were decent in portion size and tender as well. Not bad, but not as good as Pho Tam. I know comparing Green Bamboo to a place that is all the way out in Whalley is not exactly locationally sound. Hence, I would say that it is pretty good considering the other options nearby.
- Inexpensive (well, like many other Vietnamese joints)
- Decent portions
- Super cramped inside
- For us, the MSG was pretty heavy-handed