Sherman's Food Adventures: Ha Cafe

Ha Cafe

As much as I love brunch and burgers, I can only take that many consecutive North American meals without beginning to feel ill.  That was the case when I was in Victoria for 2 days.  I ended up at Jam Cafe, John's Place and Bin 4 Burger Lounge.  When I got back, the first thing I had to do was to eat Asian food.  After conferring with the kids (yes, they have a say), it was determined that we go for Vietnamese.  Staying within Burnaby, we made our way over to the hidden Ha Cafe in Old Orchard Mall.

We began with the Spicy Chicken Wings and fries which was a fairly large portion.  Nothing much to say about the Cavendish fries since they were crispy as expected.  Just think Costco fries and you get the idea.  As for the wings, they were crisp on the outside while not overly dry on the inside.  They were lightly spicy, but not overly impactful.  The side of black pepper and lemon juice dip was as black as the pavement.  It was also very peppery and a bit out-of-balance.  We also got the Spring Rolls and they were terrible.  The rice paper wrapper was thick and dense while the filling was mealy and overprocessed.  We didn't even finish them.

For myself, I had the Beef Stew Noodles without the onions.  I really should've kept the onions because the sharpness might've helped even out the sweetness of the broth.  To me, it tasted of MSG, but there were elements of daikon and carrot.  I thought the beef brisket was fairly tender and moist, but there wasn't much of it.  The noodles were pretty good being chewy while the sprouts were blanched and underneath the noodles.  Viv went for the House Special Pho which was pretty average as well.  The soup base was sweet and clean, but it was also very light tasting.  There was a lack of depth and meatiness.  The noodles were also good here, but there was very little meat to be found.

The kids shared the Lemongrass Chicken with rice (and we added an egg).  The rice was chewy and the right doneness.  On the side was a large mound of salad that featured crisp and fresh veggies.  As for the chicken, it was tender an moist with rendered skin.  It was nicely charred where there was a smokiness and caramelization.  There was also enough lemongrass for impact. This was one of the better dishes we had at Ha Cafe.  Otherwise, the meal was pretty average.  With that being said, the food was serviceable and well-priced for the portion size.

The Good:
- Well-priced
- Decent portion size
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Food is average
- Not the most spacious of setups

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