Pho Lan is one of those rare places that we had been to many times before but had never written about it before. Weird as it may seem, I had always thought that I had written about Pho Lan and did not quite believe Suanne when she said I had not. So last week I checked Pho Lan on this site … and guess what, she’s right.
Pho Lan is located just across the street from the Richmond City Hall on No 3 Road. This is the restaurant known to have hosted the weekly Dot Com Pho sometime ago. I don’t know what happened but for sometime already, they have not had the weekly event in Pho Lan anymore.
It must have been good publicity for Pho Lan when the Dot Com Pho were held there. All bloggers would have known John Chow of johnchow.com (totally no relation to chowtimes.com obviously). If I am correct, his site must have the website with the biggest readership running out of Vancouver … and he makes tons of money blogging. He claims he makes $40-$50K a month but am not sure if it’s a big exaggeration but nevertheless I am sure he make serious money.
Sigh … if only I could make 10% of what he said he does.
Pho Lan is always busy at anytime of the day. Service is very fast and friendly. We had never had problems getting what we needed. They are almost always in a rush and hands with something whether they are going to the kitchen or coming out of it. I had this thing about observing how the waitresses work that tells me how efficiently run they are.
The insides of Pho Lan is really nothing fancy. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they even care about decor at all. At least it is tidy and organized.
The man who took our orders obviously knows how to handle food bloggers. It must have been from the days of the Dot Com Pho. As he was taking our orders, he observed that Suanne was writing our order onto the notebook. He excused himself mid-way and reappeared with a take-out menu. He told Suanne that the takeout menu is the same and that she can use the menu. Smart chap. All restaurants should learn from this guy to be blogger-friendly and not be suspicious of bloggers taking notes or pictures of the menu!
The menu in Pho Lan is nothing fancy. It is just like all pho places with the Beef Noodle Soup taking center-stage.
While most Pho places offer pho in two size, Pho Lan is one of the rare places which has pho in three sizes. The options are $5.50, $6.50 and $7.50.
The good thing about Pho Lan is that you can also order a good day as a side. And it’s cheap too $1.50 plus tax.
Arkensen is the one who will always order the “#1” in Pho restaurants. We don’t even have to ask him and we already know. He is the least adventurous when it comes to food. So, we don’t count on him taking over chowtimes.com some day. LOL!
He got the large one ($7.50) which was really really large. It was so large that Arkensen said he felt like throwing up after the meal. He and Nanzaro are both like a gold fish when it comes to food they like. You know gold fish right? They will eat as much as you feed them until their belly turns over. They just don’t know when enough is enough. Like goldfish, my boys will eat and eat and eat until they get sick.
The pho is great and has a nice cloudy soup. Don’t you find that pinkish rare beef slices awesome? All pho places should learn to serve it this way.
Oh. Mine is good. Between Suanne and I, I am better at picking food. Ask her if you don’t believe me. She had long conceded that I pick great dishes and she often picks dishes that she ended up regretting … and then eye’ing mine.
The $7.50 Fried Tender Beef on Rice Vermicelli is a dry noodle dish. This one is very very … fragrant mostly from the fried shallot (lots of it!).
I had not realize this before until I had the marvelous Banh Mi from Ba Le Kingsway. That is when I realize that julienne pickled daikon and carrots are very Vietnamese. Can I say that this is unique to Vietnamese cuisine?
Both the beef and shallot were caramelized really well. The noodles also has the perfect level of dryness — not too dry and needed only a bit of fish sauce to moist it up.
Actually Suanne’s choice this time was not too bad. She had the Bamboo Shoots & Duck in Noodle Soup. She is watching her weight these days and so she got the small one ($6.50).
The duck was pretty meaty. You know how boney and meatless they often could get right? The bamboo shoots give the crunchiness to this dish. Suanne finds that the clear soup is flavourful with strong cilantro fragrance and fried shallot.
Nanzaro ordered the Grilled Minced Pork & Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli ($8.50).
It has two really savory pork skewers and a spring roll sitting on a bed of really dry vermicelli. We asked Nanzaro to pour the fish sauce on it. That is how it is meant to be eaten but he refused. He is stubborn. Oh well, if he wants it that way, he can have it that way. I think it’s kind of dumb to eat it without the fish sauce.
And this boy will not touch the vegetables. So he asked for a separate bowl and spent time picking it off from this bowl and offered that to mum.
The Chinese need to learn how to make spring rolls from the Vietnamese. No, really.
We just love spring rolls made with rice paper which gives it the blistery texture. Suanne said that people tells her Pho Lan’s spring rolls is the best in town. I don’t doubt that claim.
Pho Lan is a great place for simple Pho. The prices are about what other places charges but the upside is that they are consistently good. Service is fast and friendly — particularly blogger friendly.
Oh BTW, you should swing over and check this recent review of Pho Lan by a new food blogger in town … Me Plus Food.
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So what do they give you for the “Have a Nice day”? hugs?
Hi Marike: I have no idea because we did not order that. 🙂 Ben
Suanne is so tiny and is watching her weight…why?
Hi Sabrina: I think its a girl thing … Suanne needs to answer your question. 🙂 Ben
It’s been a few years since we went to Pho Lan, I’m glad they still make good food and their service is still great, their grilled beef and chicken are tasty too.
I’ve had hainan chicken rice with pickled daikon and carrots, I think the pickles are Asian. In Indonesia, some restaurants would serve pickles along with drinks to wet one’s appetite but they would be made with daikon, carrots, cucumber and onions, all are cubed.
Hmm, there used to be a Pho Lan at Broadway between Granville & Hemlock:
And they recently changed names.
The reason we don’t have Dot Com Pho at Pho Lan is…everyone moved out of Richmond! Yep, I’m the only one left here as John, Greg, and Gary all moved elsewhere and everyone else can’t be bothered to brave the terrible Richmond traffic.
Pho Lan is still one of my favorite pho places. I like the broth and the spring rolls.
Pho Lan from the opinion of my Vietnamese friends and my Vietnamese wife is horrible. I once complained about a wrong order and the manager refused to change it and was very insulting and arrogant. Do not recommend.
i admire John Chow because of his innovative ways to gain traffic both from whitehat and greyhat methods.-.;
Best Pho and spring rolls I’ve had!
Tried this place after reading your recommendation. I don’t know pho well enough to judge what’s cinsidered good and bad. The food was alright, the veggie spring rolls were yummy but the servuce is awful. They are all chatting ang laughing the whole time even when serving you. I couldn’t believe how disgusting the kitchen was when I caught a glimpse of it on the way out. Just nasty and there were onions all over the dirty floor in the back hallway. I won’t be back.
Hey NBC get over it. Their Pho is great. The people are super nice. People laughing and chatting usually indicates people are enjoying themselves and having a good time. What exactly would you like them to do.
I have seen the kitchen and it is fine. You can check the Richmond Restaurant health reports if you dont’ believe me they are online
I found the soy sauce dry mix noodle in Pho Lan today. It is not listed on the menu but you can order the Seafood Noodle Soup under the Specialty Noodle section and ask for the dry version.