Friday, February 26, 2010


Pho at Song Huong Vietnamese Beef Noodle Restaurant

Vancouver is home to an abundance of Vietnamese restaurants, and for this, we are truly lucky. As maybe apparent, I am a true fan of Vietnamese cuisine, but I also love the ambiance and aesthetic that many of the restaurants have: the simple furnishings and decor, the plastic fruit hanging from a ceiling trellis, and often times a television in the corner playing a regional variety show. The feeling is like that of a getaway, as well as a familiar home away from home. When you walk into Song Huong Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Restaurant, this is what you get, but the main attraction is the phenomenal pho.

Once welcomed by the bulgy-eyed goldfish swimming in their tank, you enter into the large, lounge-like main dining area. You can get comfortable in one of the white rattan seats and hang out there with the large-screen t.v. and dangling fruit, or head to the second seating area which is slightly smaller and more minimal in decor. Booths line both sides of the room, and this seems to be where the majority of customers congregate. Perhaps this is where the no-nonsense diners want to be, not here to lounge, but to eat. I guess ambiance and aesthetics have a place, but when it comes right down to it, it really is all about the food.

And how do you know a good pho? It is a matter of taste, but general opinion is a good indicator as well. After I was introduced to this place by a friend, I started bringing others to the restaurant, and friends and family members have declared it's goodness. My Vietnamese students also raved about it excitedly when I mentioned that it was a particular favourite. And it really is. The spices are perfect and the broth is rich and flavourful - it tastes of a carefully concocted brew. The cuts of meat, basil and bean sprout garnishes are also very fresh, and the beef balls have the perfect bounce. Their menu has many other traditional dishes, but it also includes specialties that other Vietnamese restaurants don't serve, like homemade beef sausages that are wonderfully spiced and perfectly grilled, and build-it-yourself specialty salad rolls. There is also a plentiful list of icy drinks to accompany your dish, including sour plum soda and tangy-sweet limonade.

It can get busy at dinnertime, but I've never had to wait. At these times, service can be harried but it is always cordial. And the price cannot be beat. A hearty bowl of pho and a drink will cost you around $10 before tax and tip. They are also fully licensed in case you do plan to lounge around.

Song Huong Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Restaurant is located at 1613 Nanaimo Street (between Graveley Street and 1st Avenue). Their number is (604) 568-1196.


kemz said...

I luvv this place too..

Jen Low said...

It's pretty great, isn't it? Thanks for the introduction ;o)