Sherman's Food Adventures: H&P Noodle House

H&P Noodle House

It was a sad day when Thai's Saigon Bistro shuttered their doors due to the owner's retirement.  That place had some pretty solid eats and yes, the people there were nice too.  However, much like many other spots that have shut down, something rises up in its place.  This would be H&P Noodle House (not to be confused with HP sauce) and they not only dish up Vietnamese cuisine, they also have an equal amount of Thai food too.  So after hockey one day, Milhouse and Juju joined me on this food adventure.

For some reason or another, they wanted Thai food.  So we did 3 dishes including the Pad Thai with prawns.  This was a decent version with chewy noodles that weren't clumpy.  We found that the flavours were a bit muted though as the tanginess wasn't very strong and neither was the spice (we asked for medium).  It was mostly sweet.  The proteins were kissed with enough wok heat for caramelization and a bit of sear.  However, the noodles were a bit wet and could've been less saucy.

Another classic item was the Beef Red Curry that was served with rice.  This was rather thin in viscosity and it lacked impact.  We definitely got the essence of the coconut milk, but in terms of spice and spices, we thought it was far too mild.  Again, it was on the sweeter side due to the palm sugar.  However, the ingredients were well-prepared with tender eggplant (that was not mushy) and slices of beef that were not chewy.

Last Thai dish was the Seafood Fried Rice which was quite good.  It had sufficient wok heat to keep the rice nutty and chewy while the amount of legit seafood in this was substantial.  We found large prawns, Kiwi mussels and squid nestled in the well-seasoned rice.  In their menu, you can chose your protein for the fried rice and the seafood would be the one to get.  Also loved the addition of cashews on top. 

I also added a Pho Dac Biet for good measure and again it was serviceable.  I found the broth to be clean, yet a bit light in flavour (bordering on bland).  At the very least, it wasn't salty.  Noodles were plentiful and al dente.  Meats were good too being tender and well-portioned.  I decided to get a large and they put it in one of those soup bowls you would find in a Chinese restaurant.  Except this soup bowl would be enough for 8 people.  Yes, this was a large bowl of noodles.

On another visit, I ordered the Fried Tofu topped with furikake and served with a hoisin-type sauce on the side.  We found this dish to be fantastic with crispy tofu squares revealing a soft and delicate interior.  I found the texture to be on point and very appealing.  Even though it was topped with furikake, the tofu wasn't actually that flavourful.  However, the hoisin sauce on the side was strangely complimentary.

For my son, he his usual with a twist.  Rather than just one meat, he got the Lemongrass Chicken and Pork Chop with Fried Egg on Rice.  Once again, the dish was fine.  Nothing amazing, but did the job.  It featured nutty and chewy rice topped with a perfectly fried egg.  The chicken was tender with mild flavours.  It was slightly charred.  The pork chop was more charred and had a nice smokiness.  Could've used a bit more seasoning though.

For myself, I went for the Bún Riêu (Tomato Crab Noodles).  In a vacuum, this version was alright with lots of slippery noodles and a good amount of ingredients including pork loaf, shrimp and crab paste egg.  However, I found the flavours to be very mild and light.  The brininess usually associated with this soup was not at the forefront while the tomato tang was also mild.  Despite not really comparing well to the one found at Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen, this was still a pleasant bowl of noodles.

Viv decided on the Chicken & Shrimp Green Curry.  Much like the red curry, this was thin and much too mild.  We couldn't really pick out the green curry paste nor any type of shrimp brininess.  It tasted and looked like plain coconut milk.  Definitely water-down and it only got worse with white rice.  On the positive side, the ingredients were properly prepared.  The chicken was tender and the shrimp was not over done.  Veggies were still vibrant. 

We also ordered the Shanghai Fried Noodles and surprisingly, this was a good dish.  The noodles were chewy and nicely wok-fried while not being too greasy.  There was enough dark soy for colour and sufficient seasoning.  The chicken and shrimp were cooked right, just like in the previous dish.  They didn't skimp with the ingredients as well.  Overall, the food at H&P is serviceable and well-portioned.  However, the Thai food is not authentic and lacking in flavour and texture.  Vietnamese dishes are okay, but there is better in the neighbourhood.

The Good:
- Nice people
- Large portions
- Well-priced

The Bad:
- Thai food is not authentic and bland


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