Updated 19th Nov 2014; This restaurant is now called Pho Extreme Xe Lua according to Urbanspoon.com.
It looks like we are going to have dinners or lunches around in downtown for the next little while. This is the first of many over the next month or so.
The reason is Arkensen and Nanzaro is having top secret practices for the Closing Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and we had to drive them to the practice venue a couple of times a week.
Going into the city I am beginning to see the Olympic feel coming to life. I can’t believe it is just four more weeks to go. Being a PM, I can’t help but to say that the organization is top notch and just can’t imagine the sheer size and complexity the project is.
So our boys had been attending practices a few weeks now. The thing is that the Olympics people had brain washed them into not telling us a single thing about the practices at all — a total clamp down. We used to be able to pry info from them easy. Not this time. Even simple questions like … how many people were in the practice, what is your role, do you like the costume, was the practices tiring … all questions are met with “I am not commenting” response. LOL!
Oh … I simply had to share this simple and stunning video from the BC Tourism people. You gotta be here … in 2010!
The Closing Ceremony practice venue is [censored]. There are a lot of restaurants nearby, particularly around the intersection of West Broadway and Cambie. Don’t you love what the Vancouver City Hall did to this intersection? It is so beautiful and is teeming with more people than I could remember. What I like best is the absence of those ugly trolley bus wires.
Anyway, Kim Penh Xe Lua is one restaurant we had always wanted to try for a long time. We had a couple of recommendations from our readers about this place. Kim Penh Xe Lua is opened 24 hours and located just at about the intersection of Broadway and Cambie.
Oh, the gall of them. They installed colorful Olympic-like rings for lightings in the restaurant. Anyone knows if this had always been there? Shhh … don’t let VANOC (the Vancouuver 2010 Organizing Committee) know or they will come after them (just joking).
But I hate the lights because they make it impossible for me to color correct the pictures of the food below.
Kim Penh Xe Lua,, I think is supposed to be a Cambodian restaurant which ended up being more of a Vietnamese restaurant. The signage outside the restaurant said that it is Vietnamese slash Cambodian restaurant. The take out menu had no mention of the word Combodia but it does have the image of the Angkor Wat on it.
To me Kim Penh Xe Lua reminds of the Phnom Penh restaurant in Chinatown which is also very much a Cambodian slash Vietnamese restaurant.
Look at the menu above (click to enlarge) … it is very much Vietnamese right? For one, Pho is not a Cambodian dish.
We like the bean sprouts. It is entirely fresh and crunchy. The boys were thirsty after the practices and remarked that they like munching this. I’ve never thought of this as a thirst quencher.
I shared the Hue Special in Spicy Noodle Soup (Bun Bo Hue) with Suanne. The prices here are cheap and this is just $7.
The soup had a very pronounced lemon grass flavour that we can even smell it from where we sit.
The beef slices is thick, like 1 mm thick (no, not the picture above). It is not like in … most other Vietnamese places where it is sliced real thin.
I must say that this bowl is full of meat — perfect for a meatatarian like me. Suanne said that the soup is addictive and went on to finish the entire bowl clean.
Nanzaro order the most expensive dish between the four of us. The above has a long name.
In Vietnamese it is Bun Nem Huong Cha Gio Chao Tom.
In English it is even longer — Spring Roll, Grilled Meat Balls, Minced Shrimp with Vermicelli.
The short name for this dish is #47 — easier to say.
Marvelous dish. One look at it says it all. The plump and springy prawns is simply one of most mouth watering ones we had seen. We did not get a taste of that because Nanzaro does not allow us to. He said it was “Mmmmm” and did it with his eyes closed.
The spring roll looked equally as good too. Sigh … we did not get a taste of this too. He is not into sharing nowadays. It seems like very soon if we want to try, Suanne and I had to order our own.
Arkensen had the House Special Pho. This is $7. There are same thick beef slices, meat ball and tendon.
Arkensen being the older of our boys had long banned us from touching his food. So we will have to based this on his verbal description of the pho.
He said it was “good”. There you go. LOL!
Actually he did allow us ONE spoonful each of the broth with one condition — that we must use new and clean spoons. The broth was flavourful and clear. There you go again. LOL!
Boys their age goes through cycles. When they are young, they don’t mind sharing with mum and dad. When they are at their early teens, they will refuse to share with anyone at all. Just give them a few more years, they will be back to sharing again — with their girl friends … and the with their kids.
Just you watch.
Cheap is what came to my mind. They have pretty good food but does not wow. They accept cash only. No surprise here actually. These days we really need to have cash in our pockets when we go to any places that offers cheap food.
Suanne pointed out to me that Kim Penh Xe Lua also has a branch in Richmond. From the address it seems like it is in the Richmond Public Market. I had never noticed that before.
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I think there’s another in Chinatown, on Main St. around Venables St.
Hello! I just wanted to let you know, I LOVE your recipes. Please keep posting them. I tried some of them and they are so yummy, much better than the stuff in cookbooks 🙂
Wonderful site <3
I think they planned on opening in Richmond Public market at the time they printed the take out menu but it didnt push through. I phoned the Richmond # and it just rang and rang. I phoned their Vancouver store and the lady who answered my call said that they dont have a Richmond branch. Too bad.
Thanks for the recon and confirmation, Jonnek. No wonder I don’t recall seeing a Kim Penh Xe Lua before.
I find it funny with the circular lights 🙂 since they can resemble the Olympic logo. Hope to see your kids on TV when the Olympics start!
The pho looks “good” to me! 🙂 and so does the Bun Nem Huong Cha Gio Chao Tom. Haven’t had Vietnamese food in a while now.
I don’t even like pho, never found it that good, but I came here and it was like I had pho for the very first time. Seriously. It was mind-blowing. I was having some anxiety attacks this morning and this pho (I had veggie pho) made my heart relax like a body after a rigorous 1-hour massage. Jesus it was delicious … even though the decor made me want to use the plastic chopsticks to blind myself, the food left me weak-kneed, it was so delicious. 3 hours have passed since the bowl. I’m still feeling really really overwhelmed by the heavenly pho soup.
I’ve had pho 30+ times before and never liked it until now. What was it about this particular pho?