Sherman's Food Adventures: Pho Chung Nam

Pho Chung Nam

Whenever we return from any trip out of Vancouver, big or small, we crave Chinese food.  Fresh off a particularly uninspiring Dim Sum experience at Noble Court in Bellevue, we were in need of some food therapy.  Of course venturing into Richmond was on the table because it would be on our way home, but in the end, we decided to avoid the traffic and head into New West instead.  New West???  For Chinese food?  Are you mad?  Well yes and apparently our destination, Pho Chung Nam, decided to take Chinese food off the menu completely.  Apparently, that didn't only catch us off guard, all the other patrons seemed confused as well.  I think they better change their signage ASAP.

Fine, I guess we were eating Vietnamese food, even though we had it recently.  We really didn't want to go somewhere else.  So we started with the Spring Rolls, even though we really didn't order it. Apparently there are 2 items on the menu with the same number.  Whatever, more food to eat right?  Well, these were the wheat wrapper variety, which were crispy and served hot.  There was a noticeable sweet onion hit, but there was a too high of a veggie-to-meat ratio.  Next up was the Banh Mi Dac Biet.  The bread was crunchy but rather dense.  There was pate, but it was barely distinguishable.  Furthermore, there was an absence of a salty kick from fish sauce and/or Maggi.

Onto something that we were bound to order - the Pho Dac Biet.  The broth was clean but with an overly sweet slant.  Despite the obvious overuse of MSG, it exhibited very little depth.  The meats were okay, but the portion was rather small.  For the kiddies, we got them a Pho Ga and man was it full of MSG.  The broth was super flavourful which could only mean one thing...  Being the free-range variety, the chicken was very chewy, hence the kids avoided it.  The meatballs were good though.  In the end, this was not a good version of Pho Ga.  Lastly, we tried the Lemongrass Chicken, Grilled Vietnamese Ham and Fried Egg on Rice.  The rice itself was a bit too dry while the nicely fried egg did help somewhat.  We liked the chicken though as it was flavourful and charred nicely, as with the pork.  This was a decent end to a so-so meal.  Nothing particularly bad, but nothing really that stood out either.  Consider it an average Vietnamese restaurant.

The Good:
- Staff are pretty friendly
- Prices are okay

The Bad:
- Food is so-so
- Too much MSG

Pho Chung Nam on Urbanspoon

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