It was one of those weekdays that I needed to get away from the office just to clear my head even though it is just for an hour or two. Good thing I had the camera with me that morning having left the camera in the car the night before. So I thought I just drive and look for a place to have a nice solitary lunch and blog about it.
I found a quiet little corner Vietnamese restaurant which name looked familiar. I vaguely recall coming across this name at some point before but I was not too sure. It looked authentic from the wordings with diacritical mark on the sign and sandwich board. Well, as long as I can’t read what they serve, it is worth the adventure of checking it out.
Truong Thanh is very much a hole-in-the-wall … very homey and very much a neighborhood kind of a restaurant. The customers seem like they know the restaurant owners personally judging by the way they greeted and talked with each other. I was the only one in the restaurant that day who doesn’t speak Vietnamese.
The service was warm and personal. There was the usual tea and menu promptly served the moment I sat down.
Truong Thanh has the usual pho items on their menu. Even though I had not had pho for a very long time, I am not about to order that. I was looking for something different, just not pho.
My eyes were on the one item that is the most expensive on the menu. It is $10 while the other items were just $7-$8. That looked perfect because it has fish cake, fried fish on fish soup — all fish. So this is like the fish version of the pho which is made up of beef parts and beef soup.
I don’t see a lot of places that serves green papaya pickles (top picture). I like that for its crunchiness and sourness — great for whipping up an appetite. The green herbs and lettuce is also something I appreciate over the usual bean sprouts.
Looking at it, I was thinking that this is totally unlike … pho in every respect. The soup is different, the meat is different, the noodles is different and even the vegetables on it are not like those you have in the normal beef noodle soup.
First thing I did was to pick up the spoon and taste the broth while it is still the hottest. The clear fish broth was light and full of flavour.
When you have so many stuff in the bowl, do you have a way you eat it? Me, I systematically eat one ingredient at a time — starting with the ones I least like (the celery and tomatoes), and keeping the best to the last.
The Vietnamese vermicelli (bún) is unlike the Chinese vermicelli which is thinner and sometimes transparent. For me, I had each spoonful of vermicelli along with some cilantro and mint. The scent from the mint gives each mouthful a cool aftertaste.
The fried fish are delightful. There are even three big pieces of it in the bowl, each of them were very well deep fried. Despite that I left the fish to the last and soaking in the soup for sometime, they were not soggy at all.
Take a look too at the whiteness and firmness of the fish flesh. Pretty mouth watering?
The fish cakes too were delicious. It has a nice soft rubbery texture to it. I was thinking that maybe it has some meat added to give that consistency, but am not sure.
The $10 for this bowl was well worth the money even though it is expensive. I cannot recall any Vietnamese noodle soup that costs more than $10. Can you?
Anyway, one pleasant surprise when I paid for the noodles was that the prices on the menu included taxes already. That is nice for a change.
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 AM
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I come here occasionally with my parents for their steamed rice crepes (or rolls, or however they put it). You can order them with the fish cakes too…try them one day!
This is definitely a nice deviant from your typical pho places 🙂
This place is one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants. They serve a number of really good North Vietnamese specialties (banh cuon, bun rieu, banh canh cua, banh oc, xoi thit…all good.)
One of my fav neighborhood restaurants for a quick lunch but haven’t tried this fish version before. My Cambodian friend make a slightly different version with mashed fish, chilli paste and coconut milk…kinda like laksa, also very tasty & delish!
Hi there, id like you guys to if possible to come back and make a visit ! and re judge the food !!! my parents are the new owners of this restaurant and we’d love for you to come by and test it out and give your review once more ! the food will be on us please email me. i can see that many people look at your reviews and this will help us greatly. because everyone that goes there is looking for there old food. But the place has completely changed renovation and everything. we just kept the store name !
Hi Deana: I won’t be able to make it to your restaurant but I am sure a lot of us would love to read more about the new Truong Thanh. Have you tried approaching other blogs? Go check out our blogroll and you will find over one hundred food blogs. Anyway, how is the menu compared to the old one? If the chef new too? What is your specialty? Good luck with the new venture! Ben
Yes, please do tell us more!
I had been wanting to try Truong Thanh ever since this initial write-up, because they served some dishes that don’t seem common in Vancouver (and also Ben’s photos and description made things sound very yummy).
But if you are recent new owners, with new food, old name, and some confused regulars, then I would welcome for you to tell us more about the items you are most proud of, or excited to offer. I am quite sure some readers would be intrigued by it. 🙂
HI there ben and shmoo!
the restaurant is COMPLETELY different our menu is completely different also!
i would have to say we specialize in our RICE PLATTERS and our RICE VERMICELLI BOWLS and CRISPY OR REGULAR FREE RANGE CHICKEN PHO ! (if only i could show you guys some pictures =( )
Our goal is to serve large quantities that are great tasting at a reasonable price for regular people to afford! EVERYTHING IN OUR MENU is UNDER $8.75
We want to let people afford good food at good prices !!
LARGE PHO $6.95 and SMALL PHO $5.95 (you can add all your favorite meats for the same [price)
RICE PLATTERS AND SIDE SOUP $7.50 ( any rice platter on the menu ! )
SPECIAL PHO BOWLS $6.25 A SMALL and $7.25 a LARGE
we also have kids/student meals for $4.94 (pho with beef balls and pop or juice ) or $5.95 ( rice platter with lemon grass chicken or pork + side soup + pop or juice)
WE ALSO HAVE SPECIAL COMBOS
any large pho + spring roll or salad roll for $8.00
rice platter (with lemon grass chicken or pork) + salad roll or spring roll for $8.50
and our grand opening special until MARCH 12 will be 12% OFF !!!! so basically no tax !!
STORE HOURS: MONDAY – THURSDAY AND SUNDAYS 10 AM – 4 AM
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY 10 AM – 6 AM