If a restaurant is totally out of the way and feels like you took multiple turns to get there, it better be worth it. That particular restaurant where it took many left and right turns to get to was Pho 101 in Burnaby.
It was a cold rainy dreary day so the comfort food craving kicked in. When I think of solid stomach filling comfort food, I gravitate toward 2 different types of cuisines: pho noodle soup and congee. And this particular day my gut and shivering self was wanting pho. I only picked Pho 101 based on the decent reviews found on UrbanSpoon.
Pho 101 is located on Hastings in North Burnaby. Tucked in a little plaza with some parking and probably gets constant patronage from the neighboring school. When we arrived to the small clean restaurant, we were immediately seated and straight away skimmed the small menu. Pho 101′s selection of dishes is small but varied. They have the standard fare of banh mi sandwiches, rices, appetizers and noodle soups. As we were all starving, we started with a couple of appys to share.
First we got the shareable spring rolls
It was a basic deep fried spring roll with minced pork and shrimp, vermicelli, carrot, and mushroom. It seemed to have all the ingredients except for the shrimp. Of course, it was greasy and crunchy but nicely packed with the ingredients.
Next came the ‘familiar’ looking chicken wings
It’s flavoured deep fried chicken wings served with a side of lemon and pepper sauce. And when I mean familiar,
I mean it’s very brave of them to try put it on their menu that made Phnom Penh famous. The comparison was inevitable. Their chicken wings were crispy but not as crunchy as Phnom Penh’s version and also not as flavourful. The dish in general was just ok.
For myself, I go the Pho with a bit of everything. Large plates of the usual garnishes of sprouts, thai basil, and lime were brought to our table…..did wish they added jalapeno or chilli pepper.
I got one with rare steak, flank, and tripe. It was still a pretty large bowl of noodle soup even though I ordered the ‘regular’ size. It was a bowl with a generous serving of the meats and the broth was good but wished it was a bit lighter. After we finished lunch there, I was left with a slight after taste which meant (well for me) that broth was a touch too much seasoning.
We left with our bellys full and a need for an afternoon food coma nap. Pho 101 is decent and a good place to go to if you live or work in the area. But it hasn’t reached cult status to make it worth the trip to try out