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Vietnamese Restaurants in Central Edmonton

I am looking for a Vietnamese restaurant to replace my old "go to" in Chinatown, the Ninh Kieu which appears will not re-open in a new space as I had hoped.

While the soups at King Noodle House in 97th are excellent, the rest of their limited menu is not as good. I dont think that the current version of Than Than is very authentic. Pagolac, Golden Bird, Pho Pasteur , Lan's, Rice paper have some good dishes but are average in the rest of their menu.

Of all the restaurants I have eaten at, the Co Do Hue is the only one that matches the variety, quality and authenticity of the old Ninh Kieu. But it is a bit too far to make it a "go to " place for me.

I am hoping for a recommendation for something similar in Central Edmonton, that is, closer to downtown or Chinatown.

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  1. I can't necessarily recommend these places as I haven't eaten there in a long time (or ever), but I racked my brain to think of more names in the downtown area and came up with Doan's and the new Hoang Long on 109 St. Xu Hue has a high approval rate on Urbanspoon. To be honest my regular place is Co Do Hue and I usually don't stray.

    5 Replies
    1. re: anonymoose

      Our search is leading my wife and I to something that could become a vietnamese restaurant crawl in Edmonton . We have long talked about eating our way through 107th ave, but it has been all talk so far. it also came with sprouts and Basil, and a nice surprise,slices of lime, not lemon. It did not come with hot peppers

      So this week we started in a restaurant new to us ( based on information on the web like urban spoon, yelp, etc), the Ho Vietnameses restaurant on 107A avenue and 97 Street

      We ordered Salad Rolls , the House Special Pho and a Vermicelli bowl with grilled chicken and spring rolls.

      The salad rolls were large but the rice paper was "al dente", and the shrimp were few and small. The pork slices were good real roast pork.

      The pho was excellent, flavourful and delicate, not salty, with generous portions of vermicelli and meats including rare beef and tendon.

      The vermicelli was unusual in that it felt and tasted as it had been tossed with oil. The chicken was good as was the balance of vegetables . The spring rolls, however were mostly pastry-like dough with barely any filling. Strangely the fish sauce did not seem to have any garlic

      We think it is worth a second try.

      PS . The new Hoan Long downtown is very convenient for lunch, quality is good but inconsistent ( e.g. some of the grilled meats are pre-grilled for the lunch rush and can be very dry). I often enjoy their Bon Bo Hue .
      Have not been there for dinner but the dinner menu has a preponderance of Thai dishes.

      PPS I wish Co Do Hue were closer to us

      1. re: felix the hound

        Are you going to try to order the same thing in each restaurant? What you're doing is a valuable public service!

        PS that night I ended up going to Co Do Hue for dinner because I couldn't stop thinking about it, and it was all your fault. :)

        1. re: anonymoose

          Mea Culpa :)

        2. re: felix the hound

          So I just went to the downtown Hoang Long and I have to say that I was not impressed. Just posted this review on one of the review sites:

          Went there before the lunch rush - one person was sitting at a table and one person was in line in front of me. Ended up waiting 25 minutes for my take out. At least 7 people who were behind me got their food first, including two people who ordered the exact same thing that I did. As soon as the staff realized I was getting mad, they started assuring me my order was still cooking and was coming right up. There was no apology for the wait and they made no effort to make it up to me.

          And how was the food? Okay but nothing special.

          1. re: felix the hound

            CORRECTION
            Some of the text above was transposed in error. It should read:
            "The pho was excellent, flavourful and delicate, not salty, with generous portions of vermicelli and meats including rare beef and tendon.it also came with sprouts and Basil, and a nice surprise,slices of lime, not lemon. It did not come with hot peppers"

        3. Since my last post we have sampled Pho Huong Mama Pizza, Trang Tien and Xu Hue, although have deviated from our "sample menu." ( salad rolls, house special pho, and grilled chicken with spring rolls vermicelli)

          We ordered our sample menu at Pho Huong. The salad rolls were firmly rolled ( i dont like flaccid rolls) but the contents did not have much flavour. The sauce was peanuty but runny. The pho had good flavour but was not hot enough,and by the time it was mixed with the rare beef andthe sprouts it became rather tepid. like the pho, the vermicelli bowl had good quality ingredients, but not much flavour, no peaunuts, no garlic in the fish sauce. The place is family run , looks and feels very clean, and service was pleasant,

          We met the cook, the "mama" in the name, and it transpired that they have been adapting ( in my words, dumbing down) the food to what they perceive their clientele wants. This place has a lot of potential if you can get mama to treat your order different, and make it like she would "at home". The bill was a bit over $30 before tip.

          Friday was a warm sunny day and I decided to walk to Trang Tien for a vietnamese lunch ( instead of the convenient but just OK Hoang Long which is 4 blocks away from my office) The pot of tea came as soon as I sat down but it was cold.

          I ordered the grilled chicken and spring roll vermicelli bowl and i enjoyed a generous portion of vermicelli with very good texture, lemon grassy chicken pieces,not enough shredded lettuce, and a few strands of carrot. The spring rolls had the right crunch and the fish sauce was well balanced. I had tried the Bon Bo Hue here a few years ago, before i found out that the cook had moved on to Co Do Hue, and I am prepared to give it another try.

          Like the Trang Tien, Xu Hue is about the food of Hue in Central Vietnam. We deviated from our sample menu and ordered Banh Xeo ( pancakes) as an appetizer. Ive had these only once before many years ago in Calgary and these were thicker and greasier,and did not have the subtle flavour imparted by the hot iron pan. The filling was good , with a few but large shrimps and pieces of pork. It was served with only a a few pieces of iceberg lettuce. My wife ordered the pho gah or chicken soup, an old favourite of hers at Ninh Kieu . The broth was flavourful but on the salty side, and the chicken pieces, although did not have the overboilded flavour, were small and had the skin on. The vermicelli was the star of the meal. We ordered the five colour bowl, as they did not have a grilled chicken bowl on the menu and chicken was one of the five colours. It was full of meats, albeit a bit undistinguishable between the beef , chicken and pork, but they all had a delicious bbq charred and slightly sweet flavour. The spring rolls were good and the shrimp was OK. At the same price as the two flavour bowl at Trang Tien, it is also an excellent value.

          1. Since my last post we have sampled Pho Huong Mama Pizza, Trang Tien and Xu Hue, although have deviated from our "sample menu." (salad rolls, house special pho, and grilled chicken with spring rolls vermicelli)

            We ordered our sample menu at Pho Huong. The salad rolls were firmly rolled (I don’t like flaccid rolls) but the contents did not have much flavour. The sauce was peanuty but runny. The pho had good flavour but was not hot enough, and by the time it was mixed with the rare beef and the sprouts it became rather tepid. Like the pho, the vermicelli bowl had good quality ingredients, but not much flavour, no peanuts, no garlic in the fish sauce. The place is family run, looks and feels very clean, and service was pleasant,

            We met the cook, the "mama" in the name, and it transpired that they have been adapting (in my words, dumbing down) the food to what they perceive their clientele wants. This place has a lot of potential if you can get mama to treat your order different, and make it like she would "at home". The bill, including a local beer, was a bit over $30 before tip.

            Friday was a warm sunny day and I decided to walk to Trang Tien for a Vietnamese lunch ( instead of the convenient but just OK Hoang Long which is 4 blocks away from my office) The pot of tea came as soon as I sat down but it was cold.

            I ordered the grilled chicken and spring roll vermicelli bowl and I enjoyed a generous portion of vermicelli with very good texture, lemon grassy chicken pieces, not enough shredded lettuce, and a few strands of carrot. The spring rolls had the right crunch and the fish sauce was well balanced. I had tried the Bon Bo Hue here a few years ago, before I found out that the cook had moved on to Co Do Hue, and I am prepared to give it another try.

            Like the Trang Tien, Xu Hue is about the food of Hue in Central Vietnam. We deviated from our sample menu and ordered Banh Xeo (pancakes) as an appetizer. I’ve had these only once before many years ago in Calgary and these were thicker and greasier, and did not have the subtle flavour imparted by the hot iron pan. The filling was good, with a few but large shrimps and pieces of pork. It was served with only a few pieces of iceberg lettuce.

            My wife ordered the pho gah or chicken soup, an old favourite of hers at Ninh Kieu . The broth was flavourful but on the salty side, and although the chicken pieces did not have the frequently unpleasant overboiled flavour, they were small and had the skin on. I feel that the chicken soup is not a good test for a first meal encounter as unfortunately it has been very rare to find a good one in Edmonton. We will have to come back to sample the pho.

            The vermicelli bowl was the star of the meal. We ordered the five colour bowl, as they did not have a grilled chicken bowl on the menu and chicken was one of the five colours. It was full of meats, albeit a bit undistinguishable between the beef , chicken and pork, but they all had a delicious bbq charred and slightly sweet flavour. The spring rolls were good and the shrimp was OK. At the same price as the two flavour bowl at Trang Tien, it is also an excellent value. The bill, including a local beer, was around $30 before tip.

            The service was attentive , and the owner assured us that if we wanted we could order a grilled chicken bowl next time even though it is not listed in the menu. We might also try the pork and shrimp appetizer he had suggested initially.

            So far, we would go back to Ho ( or Ha?) for their subtly flavoured pho, and to Xu Hue and possibly Trang Tieng for vermicellis. We have to go back to “mama” for a second chance to demonstrate her home cooking, and to Trang Tien and Xu Hue to try the pho.

            I would appreciate any suggestions for our next Vietnamese restaurant to try ( we might also revisit Golden Bird and King Noodle for comparison with our recent meals.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: felix the hound

              Yesterday I had lunch at Uyen Uong, the Vietnamese restaurant which opened in the old Padmanadi location. After perusing a menu made long by lots of pictures with names in Vietnamese and descriptions in English I ordered salad rolls and the house special ( Pho Dac Biet).

              The salad rolls ( 3) were an acceptable version of the standard softly rolled combination of vermicelli, lettuce, pork and cooked shrimp, served with what tasted like a hoisin heavy peanut sauce. It's been a while since I have been served salad rolls containing carrot, sprouts, mint or basil in Edmonton but I still hope

              The House special soup was excellent, a subtly flavoured broth with generous portions of thinly sliced rare lean beef, meat balls and vermicelli. The meat balls were noteworthy in that they had good texture and the spicing was balanced. There were only a few slices of tripe and almost no tendon, something that some people might find a plus, but I would have liked a bit more . The dish came hot enough so that it remained sufficiently warm after mixing in the rare meat and the basil and sprouts, and to the satisfying end.

              Will gladly go back to try the vermicelli bowl and other dishes.

              The bill came to about $15 before tip.

            2. My wife and I have been back two times since I was there for lunch . While they do not have a chicken soup (Pho Ga – one of my wife’s favourites) listed on the menu, they prepared one for us with freshly poached chicken meat and glass (mung bean) noodles. This soup was the best pho ga we have had in Edmonton in recent memory.

              I ordered the vermicelli bowl (the equivalent of four colours) and the meats were perfectly grilled, with the aroma of lemon grass wafting with every bite. Just as importantly, there was a good balance and variety of vegetables including lettuce, carrots, and cucumber, and was sprinkled with peanuts (unlike some places which have dumbed down their vermicelli bowls). The fish sauce was delicately pungent and seasoned.

              Service is friendly. Although the English of the man taking our order was limited they made every effort to understand what we wanted. At one point a woman came out of the kitchen, in a spotless uniform, to articulately discuss the type of noodle we would prefer in our pho ga ( hu tieu dai).

              Our most recent dinner there with two appetizers, a soup, vermicelli bowl, and tea came to $29 before tip.

              1. This is good stuff, now, I'd also like to know if there is anywhere in Edmonton to get bo la lot...the delicious sausages wrapped in la lot leaves...?