Sherman's Food Adventures: Nha Toi Boutique Café & Truedan Bubble Tea Surrey

Nha Toi Boutique Café & Truedan Bubble Tea Surrey

As much as South Surrey and White Rock sound far for most people, it really isn't as far as it seems.  First of all, if we were living in Los Angeles or the Bay Area, the commute to White Rock would be typical.  We are really spoiled here when things are so close in proximity.  So that is what we had in mind when we made our way out to Nha Toi Boutique Café & Truedan Bubble Tea.  Okay, if that sounded weird to you, it is because Truedan Bubble Tea is located inside Nha Toi Vietnamese.  So you can have the best of both worlds!

So what is different about Nha Toi?  In a sea of Vietnamese restaurants, Nha Toi seeks to bring the very best as some of their ingredients are brought in specifically from Vietnam.  This was true for the Fresh Papaya Salad featuring a large prawn cracker made specifically for Nha Toi and imported from Vietnam.   This cracker was so flavourful with natural prawn that I've never had before.  Really good.  As for the salad, it was definitely fresh and crunchy while the dressing was bright and full of umaminess from the fish sauce.  This was further amplified by the roasted shallots, Thai basil, chili and peanuts.

With a bit of everything, the Street Food Platter included crispy spring rolls, fresh salad rolls, taro chips, fried fish cakes, grilled lemongrass prawn mousse skewers and chicken nuggets.  Things were pretty much what was expected with spring rolls that were crispy.  Filling was moist and flavourful.  Salad rolls were fresh with crunchy lettuce and well-prepared shrimp.  The best part was the dip on the side as it had a notable spice at the tail end.  Not your typical hoisin peanut sauce mix.  This had way more depth-of-flavour and wasn't overly sweet.  Chicken nuggets were a touch dry, but the batter was crispy and light.

The most impactful dish was the Red Rice Noodle Bowl featuring an addictive crab sauce that was both sweet and briny.  However, it was the big piece of house-made crab cake that put this dish over-the-top.  It was fluffy, briny and naturally sweet.  That needed to be eaten with the noodles for full effect.  As much as I enjoyed the wide rice noodles, I would've liked thinner noodles (even though it wasn't supposed to be).

Just for default reasons, we had to get a bowl of Pho.  That we did with the Beef Noodle Soup featuring sliced brisket, beef meatballs and thinly-sliced AAA striploin.  With lots of beef, this bowl of Pho ate robust but was not heavy due to the clean broth.  It was meaty with some sweetness and the classic star anise hit.  Noodles were plentiful and al dente.  Sure, this was on the higher-end of the Pho pricing spectrum, but it was also filling with plenty of meat.

Okay, you might be looking at this Lemongrass Chicken on Rice and wondering why the meat was not charred.  Well, I was thinking the same thing and asked.  Turns out the local clientele prefer it less charred.  Well, as I've always said, you must cater to your customers.  If you want it charred, just ask.  Despite it being white meat, it was not dry and in fact, was juicy and well-brined.  Ate much better than it appeared.

Trying to hit all the favourites, we also had the Pork Patty Banh Mi.  This was a fully-loaded sub where eat bite guaranteed a mouthful of sweet and juicy pork patty.  To compliment, there was also pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, cucumber, green peppers and signature house-made sauce.  This was not lacking flavour nor texture.  Even the baguette was crusty on the outside and airy on the inside.

We also wanted to try the Fish Sauce-Glazed Wings and of course we got those too.  This featured fairly large mid-wings that were deep-fried just right.  The skin was crispy and well-rendered.  Inside, the meat was juicy and tender.  Naturally, the best thing about these was the glaze as it was sweet and caramelized with a salty brininess.  I would've loved even more of it on the side to dip the meat into.

Of course we can't forget about the bevvies from Truedan.  The main draw for these drinks is their freshness featuring real ingredients.  Loved the refreshing sweetness of the Mango & Strawberry Yogurt Slush, but the best one was the Brown Sugar Milk with Fresh Taro.  The smooth texture of the aromatic taro was so freakin' awesome.  Do get this if you are there!  Overall, I was impressed with the food here.  They put in the effort to make it right and put in some unique touches.  Having excellent Truedan drinks on site doesn't hurt things either.

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- They put in the effort, even with the smaller details (like sauces and the prawn cracker)
- Things don't seem commercialized, a bit like home-cooking
- Excellent Truedan drinks

The Bad:
- Street food platter had some times that were a bit dry


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