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Thuan An Vietnamese on Kingsway

j
jcolvin Dec 16, 2011 12:02 AM

There's always a bewildering choice of Pho on Kingsway, but this little place (789 Kingsway) does it better than most and has an unusual number of authentic dishes that most Pho places don't carry.

The broth in my pho tai nam gan sach was light and fresh, tasted like it had no msg (I do like msg, but not in excess), good beef (although next time i will ask for the rare beef on the side), tripe and tendon; one of the better bowls I've had in Vancity.

Salad rolls were exceptional, fresh and minty with perfect slightly sticky rice covering, the peanut sauce had small dollops of chili and fried onion...these were the best I've had anywhere. The spring rolls however weren't bad but nothing special.

Satay on the vermicelli was nicely caramelized, Cambodian noodles were terrific and new to me (slightly sweet, tossed with liver and prawn) and the Tom Ca was lovely too, with a light, fresh-tasting tamarind base.

The place has a large number of dishes I was unfamiliar with (for instance Banh Canh Vietnamese udon..crab meat, sliced pork shank, pork blood udon; and grilled marinated beef wrapped in betel served with pineapple fish sauce ) which I will try on the next visit.

  1. b
    brokentelephone Mar 30, 2012 11:10 AM

    I've been to Thaun An twice in the past few weeks for pho.

    The broth is excellent, as are the noodles and well-done brisket/flank. The rare-beef isn't great, and the tendons are gross (undercooked, thinly sliced -- I prefer the larger thicker pieces which aren't as chewy and have the texture of firm tofu/fat).

    The service, however, borders on retarded. I realize they aren't excellent at English, but both times I've ordered Pho (in English AND Vietnamese, just to be helpful) and have had them repeat my order 5X, and they still screw it up. I know it doesn't really matter, but it is just sort of annoying.

    Would definitely recommend the pho, but might not go back simply because I find the experience irritating.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brokentelephone
      LotusRapper Mar 30, 2012 11:44 AM

      Were you able to point to the menu and tell them which # you want ? And do you speak Vietnamese, that didn't help ?

      The lady who took my order "confirmed" three times too, that I wanted the seafood+liver egg noodles in soup. As she walked away I felt nervous that she'd bring me something different (she didn't, thankfully).

      Thai Son on Broadway (opposite Kingsgate Mall) has larger tender pieces of tendon generally, IME.

    2. LotusRapper Mar 24, 2012 10:28 PM

      Finally I took the time to have a quickie bowl of noodles at the "new" Thuan An. In short ...... GREAT. I was the 2nd customer in there when I arrived around 6:45pm. Scanned the menu, went for the large seafood & liver egg noodles in soup. What a bowl of heaven it was. All the 'fruits de mer" were cooked just right, a couple prawns were delicate and tastily fresh. Oh, what's this ..... quail eggs ? I got 4 of 'em, and the inside was still almost like poached eggs in doneness. Sweet. The pieces of pork and pork liver were sliced thick yet tender. The generous amounts of fried garlic and shallot bits gave the bowl an undeniable fortitude I couldn't resist. Deeper down I found quite a bit of chopped Chinese chives. While they're great, I felt there was perhaps too much here. In fact I wondered if this bowl even needed chives, perhaps they threw it in to counter the pork liver ? Wouldn't have mattered to me.

      The fact I managed to hit dry bowl bottom with my soup spoon said something about the quality of their ingredients an how much I enjoyed it.

      A nice 'lil bonus freebie at the end of the meal ...... they give you a small bowl of corn "pudding" topped with coconut milk. A nice, not-to-sweet way to dress my palate for the road.

      Thuan An, we'll be seeing a lot more of each other from now on :-)

      1. fmed Dec 16, 2011 12:12 AM

        Thuan An is on my radar. Banh Canh is a great soup that isn't easy to find. The grilled marinated beef wrapped in betel is called bo la lot (la lot = betel leaf). Song Huong serves my favourite. I'll have to try the Thuan An version.

        4 Replies
        1. re: fmed
          grayelf Dec 16, 2011 09:22 AM

          Thuan An was the very first place I ate Vietnamese food on KIngsway when I "rediscovered" it in Vancouver a few years ago. Thanks for the update. It is a great little spot. I like how the colours of the restaurant change from time to time. I called it the blue Vietnamese for a while, then it was salmon pink and now I believe it is red. Check out this older writeup which points out some of the more unusual dishes also: http://chowtimes.com/2010/07/13/pho-t... Some of the comments indicate it may have changed hands since I was last there. I don't remember the pandan leaf tea which I'll have to check out. I love pandan!

          1. re: grayelf
            LotusRapper Dec 16, 2011 09:25 AM

            Since their new ownership, they now have a large modern sign out front. Haven't gone in yet, but it looks newer and brighter than before.

            1. re: LotusRapper
              grayelf Dec 17, 2011 07:25 PM

              Thinking of this post and hungry for lunch today, the parentals and I headed to Thuan An. We had seafood spring rolls which were quite tasty, bo la lot which was not the best rendition I've had (that honour still belongs to Song Huong) but not too shabby, a freakishly large vermicelli bowl with three (!) skewers of tender, lemongrassy grilled pork, firm cool noodles and lots of fresh veggies and herbs, and then the best items, two Japanese influenced soups. There are four in total (items 14-17 on the menu) and they are $5 for a single bowl, which holds 1.5-2 cups of soup. Pricier than other soups but very different and worth the extra dosh. The broth is a bit thick and so flavourful. Spicing is non-existent but nicely seasoned. Ingredients included crab, white fungus, asparagus and enoki mushrooms. I liked 15 a wee bit better than 14 but they were both worth returning for. Next time will sample the salad rolls for sure -- it was too cold today for them! Took one skewer and 2 bo lat lots home for the SO who was thrilled. Total cost including tip was $40. And the pandan leaf tea is indeed excellent. As was the large sample of carrot juice (!) pressed upon me by the cook as I was leaving. Thanks jcolvin for the reminder to go!

              1. re: grayelf
                grayelf Dec 29, 2011 01:19 PM

                8 of us plus half pint hit up Thuan An for dinner on the 27th. Lovely kind service with particular attention paid to 3.5 yo. We had made a reso so were greeted by a holiday arrangement on the table and small bowls of pistachios and almonds (!) to start. Also everyone received glasses of the previously sampled carrot juice, which I think also has orange and possibly lime juice in it. We had fairly basic stuff, though the SO tried the Cambodian soup with the liver in it. Quite subtle. The pork on my bun bowl wasn't quite as good as ten days ago, and was not served on a skewer, but one of my fellow diners did get the skewer version albeit on a platter. Really enjoyed the salad rolls which were light and fresh, with outstanding dipping sauce. Everything was tasty and the prices are so inexpensive. The only downside was that the TV volume wasn't muted. Oh and we tried the tapioca dudes wrapped in lotus/banana leaf -- not the most stellar rendition, chewier than I like. Will deffo be back though.

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