April 28, 2010 | | Comments 42

Green Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine on Kingsway, Vancouver

OK. I admit. I get excited very easily.

The new Green Lemongrass on Kingsway is something you want to take note off. They offer something different. They are not like many of the Pho restaurants out there. I am so bored with most Vietnamese restaurants because they have unexciting menus.

Vietnamese cuisine has a lot more to offer, I am sure. Some of the more interesting Vietnamese food I had tried are as follows:

  • At Song Huong, where we had 7-courses of beef
  • At Thiem Kim, where we had four types of noodle soups, none of which is Pho.

The Green Lemongrass falls into this special category of specialty Vietnamese restaurants in my books.

Suanne and I was there at Green Lemongrass just last weekend. We were there for a team meeting for the 8GTCC project. Even though I had never been to Green Lemongrass Kingsway before, I was told it was better than the existing Green Lemongrass in Richmond. It turned out to be an excellent choice because the food was unique and we had a big round table to ourselves.

Before I walked into the restaurant I already decided what I wanted. The sandwich board outside has the Duck Soup on it. If they choose to put that one item on the sandwich board, they must be proud of that dish. You can’t go wrong.

The interior is nothing fancy. I think they try to make it as traditional as they can by placing those plants you see above atop low partitions that sectionalize the seatings into three sections. Those low partitions does not appear to me to be particularly efficient way to layout the dining area if you ask me. But I guess it is there for some reason.

There were some old traditional display cupboards too which I find it kind of interesting. They are so ornate. They don’t seems like it is something you could buy anywhere in Vancouver and has to be imported from Vietnam.

Even the teapot too seems like they were imported from Vietnam. Well, at least they don’t look like ones that they buy from the local restaurant supply stores.

It is this kind of attention to details that I get a kick out of seeing. It shows me that the people behind the restaurant cares about being different, unique and exclusive. It is a value I admire.

The menu above is what makes me excited. Go ahead and click on it for a larger image. For the first time, I see a Vietnamese Breakfast menu!

There are twenty items in the breakfast menu and each one of them is $5.

What do you think? Does that make you want to go to Green Lemongrass the next time you had to decide where to go for breakfast?

The Green Lemongrass on Kingsway opens very early, at 8AM. I am not sure if the one in Richmond opens that early though.

On the flip side of the Breakfast Menu is the Dinner Menu. They said it is served family style which I guess that means communal style. This is a departure from many Vietnamese restaurants who tend to serve individual servings.

Communal style eating is something I enjoy more because I get to taste greater variety.

The menu at Green Lemongrass Kingsway looks bigger than the one in Richmond too. I think everyone had a tough time deciding what to get given the vast menu here.

Me? I stayed the course … Duck Soup! I know I should have ordered breakfast items but I remained true to the cause of only ordering their special of special.

My eyes popped when they brought the bowl to me. For a moment, I thought … wait a minute, do they have noodles in this or is this just duck and soup?

This, my friends, is called the … Mi Vit Tiem which is braised duck, mushroom and egg noodles in soup … and $8.50 only.

There is a whole duck leg in the bowl — really nice chunk of meat. It is the kind that you want to grab it with your hands and start tearing into it — like a barbarian — like a caveman. You know what I mean.

It was so big that the moment I lifted it up from the bowl, the soup sinks an inch. It is all meat, baby.

They gave ME a small dish of carrot and daikon pickles. They were very good. Not too sourish, just nice. I was not looking and Suanne finished it without me knowing. It was MY pickles. Next time you eat with Suanne, you better put your pickles on your other side where she can’t get to it without you knowing.

In the bowl is also some ginko and fat mushrooms. So yeah … it is not just soup, duck and noodles. It is a good package — no details is spared. That is how I interpret it.

The noodles are the thin egg-y type. My mind was just focused on attacking the duck leg really. The hero of this is the duck leg. The noodles is just the keh-leh-fehs (extras in Cantonese)

Oh wow, classy.

Here they even served lemon water. Hah! I know what they are for already and am not going to make the same mistake over and over again. I know now (thanks to all my faithful readers) that this is NOT for drinking but for washing fingers.

You know, I am not the only one who makes this kind of mistake. As experienced as you might think the 8GTCC members are, one of them actually DRANK IT!

LOL! You guys got to help me tell the 8GTCC folks this is for washing fingers.

One good litmus test for a good Vietnamese restaurant is to see how fresh the bean sprouts are. They pass in my books.

Keev, our 8GTCC Shangdong specialist, had the House Special Noodle. It came with glass noodles, quail egg and dried lily flower bud. He said it was light and flavourful.

It does look good, doesn’t it?

One thing I resigned myself to is to the fact that when I eat out with these guys, I must expect lots of food.

Grayelf shocked me when she ordered a FEW breakfast items. One of which is the one above. I don’t even know what it is called.

BTW, Grayelf is now known as the 8GTCC Fujian specialist.

Suanne said it is little creamy savory eggy tart. It is pretty good.

This is the kind of things that I get a kick out of trying. Something I had never quite seen before.

Grayelf also ordered this. I think we had at least a couple of orders of this.

Oh yeah, that’s right. We had a few orders of this. This is called Bot Chien which is pan fried rice cake. If you paid attention to what I was saying earlier, you will know this is $5. All breakfast items are $5.

Do you all really pay attention to what I am writing or do you just skim through the post gawking at the pictures? Tell me you read what I wrote or it will break my heart.

Joe is our 8GTCC Cantonese specialist. He ordered the Phnom Penh Roll from the breakfast menu. $5 also.

Nice tightly bound package, right? Bet it tasted great too.

I think our table exude an aura of being professional foodies. It is from the manner we conducted ourselves, the pictures we were taking and the fact we were documenting (taking notes) the whole time.

So the waitress came by to show us their photo album. Oh nice! Now, this is how a menu should be like for serious foodies. No names of dishes required, no price is necessary … just tell me what you got. Huh? Right?

LOL!

The waitress made a mistake of showing us the album. We told her we want to hold on to that so that we can dissect it thoroughly. I could see she was hesitant because it’s their only one precious copy. She said something like “be careful” and let us have it.

JS and TS is gonna be our 8GTCC recipe specialist. He he he … the 8GTCC team is thinking big. We want to include recipes as we explore each of the 8GTCC cuisines. If our head becomes big enough, we might even write a book … or create a 8GTCC website … or organize a culinary tour to China … or create a 8GTCC center of excellence … or …

KABOOM! Head got too big it exploded. LOL! The 8GTCC team is such a great team that I brought up for discussion on how far we can take 8GTCC. The good thing is that everyone said that we are doing it for fun and nothing else. I think that is very important to establish after a very successful 8GTCC Hunan event. We want to make it better in future explorations but most important of all, we want to do it because we enjoy doing it.

JS had fish congee. I think she is a small eater … that’s why she chose such a light breakfast. It came came with halibut. She said the congee is different because it has a tinge of sourness in it. Chinese style congee are either bland or salty.

Dylan is our man for the next 8GTCC event. He is our 8GTCC Jiangsu specialist and he has a lot up his sleeve. If you think that the 8GTCC Hunan was great, I can tell you that 8GTCC Jiangsu will be an exciting one. I bet not many of you even know where Jiangsu is let alone know the name. So, yeah … Dylan is working hard as I write this post, crafting a menu you will be delighted over. It is gonna be very different from the fiery Hunan cuisine.

Anyway, Dylan had the chicken porridge. You know what it looks like but I want you to know that the above came with his porridge. Nice salad, don’t you agree?

The meal is cheap. The meal is unique. There are lots of dishes on the menu you will want to try, I am sure.

Just ask the waitress to show you her photo album before you order.

You know now why I am so excited to write about the Green Lemongrass on Kingsway. Go try and let me know what you think.

Green Lemongrass on UrbanspoonBusiness Hour
7 days a week
9:00 am to 10:00 pm

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  1. That part about the pickles: LOL.

    “Tell me you read what I wrote or it will break my heart.” Hehe, I know what you mean. In our case, however, there aren’t really many pictures to “gawk” at.

    • fmed says:

      I just realized that those little black things between the pictures are letters! And they formed words! Even sentences! LOL.

      I do >>read<< your text….but I have to skim at all the pictures first.

  2. souggy says:

    Mmm… food porn!

    That’s what I love about you guys. Interlacing food porn with personal narratives.

    The duck leg got me drooling though.

  3. Joe says:

    I loved this place so much that we went back the day after for dinner!

  4. Thao says:

    I think it was pickled carrots with green papaya bc it didn’t look like daikon radishes. Glad you enjoyed Vietnamese food.

  5. Janet says:

    If the water has ice and lemon in it and is in a glass, it is to drink. If it is warm and has a lemon in it and is in a bowl, it is a finger bowl to wash your fingers in.

  6. Christine says:

    uhhh….Ben…I think you made a mistake this time….The lemon water is for drinking I believe…..not for your fingers……(you can usually tell by what they serve it in)

  7. fmed says:

    So this is what I missed? Damned! That looks so good.

  8. Bernadette says:

    Hi Ben, thanks for posting the review. I’d heard that Green Lemongrass had a second location and had been curious. That duck soup had me drooling. My mom makes something similar, but she doesn’t serve it with noodles, and hers has winter melon in it. I hinted to her not two weeks ago that I was craving it. Now I know where I can get my fix.

    • Julie says:

      I think there was one in Richmond? Or is that one just called Lemongrass? :S not sure

      • Ben says:

        Hi Julie:
        You are right, the original Green Lemongrass is in Richmond. It is located just west of the Richmond Public Market.
        Ben

        • fmed says:

          I’ve driven by the new Kingsway branch many times and never considered it because of my lacklustre experience at the Lemongrass in Richmond.

          Hmmm….it’s only 9:30 and I’m starting to get a bit peckish.

  9. Doug says:

    What a fancy unique looking Lemon finger washing glass bowl!

  10. Karl says:

    What a fantastic breakfast! I didn’t know about the Kingsway location but I know where I’m going really soon!

  11. Julie says:

    I actually LOLed when I read “keh-leh-feh”. I don’t know a lot of people who actually use canto ping ying… everyone uses mando :(

    I’ve always wanted to try this place out! Or well the one in Richmond (if it’s the same place…) and now I actually have more of a motivation to go! Love your posts, keep it up :)

    P.S. I like your tool bar thing at the bottom!

  12. grayelf says:

    Those little tart shaped beasties are colled banh hoi, and they are not on the regular breakfast list at GLG. One of the 2.5 LOL)thingsI ordered (Banh Beo Chen) was not available so I asked the server for a recommendation and this is what she suggested as being representative.

    I have had versions of banh hoi that were larger and less succulent. This was really good with a crispy exterior and a gorgeous little puddle of coconut milk on top. The funny thing is that it doesn’t show up on the bill (we actually ended up ordering a second batch). The bill is a bit whacky as it says we had three chicken soups with glass noodle when we only had one. Never mind. It was good and cheap.

    • grayelf says:

      I took a friend to try the brekky items again today — just as good as last weekend. The manager (who is super nice) clarified that the little tart thingies are actually called banh khot (with a diacritical mark above the n). We camped out for so long I think they thought we were taking up permanent resident but several pots of free tea were brought, and two bowls of a v. tasty consomme with pork and turnip in it, with no sign of same on the bill, when we expressed interest in it at another table.

      • grayelf says:

        So I showed pix and names of dishes to fmed today and he confirmed that Green Lemongrass is a crypto-Hue restaurant! The last time I had all of these gelatinous little items together was at Co Do, a former Hue place on Kingsway. I’m psyched there is another option nearish by (Song Huong has some Hue dishes too but not as many I think.)

  13. Jonnek says:

    The breakfast items look delicious and inexpensive. Too bad its not available in Lemongrass Richmond. I may have to do a little driving to sample their breakfast offerings.

    Greyelf, I think ban hoi is not in their computer so they just charged you 2 extra chicken soups. It works out the same anyway.

  14. Jonnek says:

    BTW, I find it strange that they charged you for the lemon water used as finger bowl. Usually its free in the Chinese restaurants. I guess its different in a Vietnamese restaurant.

  15. etranger says:

    Whether you like it or not, you will be the 8GTCC center of excellence. No one else is doing it, and among you, you have a lot of readers!

    I think the tours sound like a lot of fun, starting in Vancouver.

      • etranger says:

        All you have to do is rent a limo bus for a day. That’s easy. The tours here for simple stuff (no full on restaurant meals or historical and cultural data that requires much effort) charge $60 per person. Here, a limo style bus rents for $90 an hour.

        Just need a new logo and a web page, and a lawyer to draw up a hold harmless contract…

        Need to figure out what to do with the money, too. I don’t know, it could be complicated I guess, but not insurmountable.

        How would you feel if you were watching TV and saw a promo for the REAL Ken Burns doing a documentary on the 8 Cuisines of China? It will happen.

        • Ben says:

          He he he … you make it sound so easy, etranger. You really are such an enterpreuneuer … how do you spell that word again? LOL!

          • etranger says:

            It IS easy! You are already doing all the hard part. You don’t have to go to law school or business school, just find people who already did to help you out.

            I don’t know the laws in Canada but I know that you could really have something here. Don’t downplay it —

            I would be happy to help you do it if you wanted me to. My dad was a business consultant so I have been talking over how to set up businesses all my life! This one is so much easier than running a restaurant, too — no food handling rules. All of your restauranteurs are entrepreneurs, you know.

            Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian I believe you have heard of (!) is famous for saying “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take.”

            Keep thinking about it!

    • miraj k says:

      Either a Center of Excellence; or

      Iron Chef: China [Cuisine from China around the world]

      - with Ben as the tournament master and 8GTCC team as the panel judges!

  16. bill says:

    That little round egg tart looking thing looks so similar to this stuff –
    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&resnum=0&q=banh+khot&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=MdXZS-L0Foe09QSx8O1X&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CA8QsAQwAA

    And bot chien with eggs is my favorite but wait till you try taro done the same way.

  17. Sedap Makan says:

    I love your comment about Suanne sneaking your food. My wife does this all the time. I’ll ask if she wants something and she will decline but once the food is there it goes missing. I guess she is trying to help me diet.

  18. trisha says:

    wow, good deal for all the food. i definitely read what you write because it’s always funny. i don’t blame suanne for stealing your pickles – i would do the same even if we had just met! :)

  19. Ellis says:

    We pass by Green Lemongrass many many times on our way to Hai Phong but never really have a strong urge to stop by. Thanks to your post, now we will make a special trip for vietnamese breakfast. The Duck soup looks so tempting!

  20. Jacqueline says:

    I’ve been looking for a place that sells the “Bot Chien” for so long… wow, and for only $5?!!? Thanks for posting about this gem Ben!

  21. kaye i says:

    Those are seriously yummy pictures to look at… but I DO READ all your ramblings LOL :)

    I AM NOT FALLING FOR YOUR LEMON WATER JOKE THIS TIME! HA! LOL.

  22. timetochow says:

    just wanted to mention , that green lemongrass (same name in richmond) serve the bot chien in the richmond summer market. at least they did the last year.

    would love to go back and try the rest of the breakfast items.

  23. Michelle says:

    This place looks amazing…and I definitely read the vivid descriptions of the food. I would be so interested if Ben, Suanne and the 8GTCC were to organize a culinary tour of China or any other country for that matter. There’s nothing like traveling with fellow like-minded foodies who are willing to try everything from the hole-in-the walls to the Michelin stars.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Michelle: You know I would love to JOIN in if there is a culinary tour of China. I don’t really think anyone of us on the 8GTCC team qualifies to LEAD a tour. :-) Ben

  24. Su-Lin says:

    This place looks absolutely amazing – definitely one to try if I’m back in Vancouver!

  25. Deon says:

    You really ate alot! lol
    I want to confirm that the glass of water with a piece of lemon above is for drinking, not for washing your hands. If the water has ice then it is meant to be drunk. If the water is in a bowl and has no ice then it is meant to wash your hands. Can you please edit the post since other people will make the same mistake again. Thank you so much.

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