My Chau: Cheap and Delicious Pho Ga, Durian Blend and Surprises

Pull up a chair, sit down and pay attention. This nondescript restaurant is worth the trip across town.

People had been telling me about this restaurant before but I had never paid much attention to it. It did not even get into our To-Try list.

About three weeks ago, I decided to take a drive to My Chau for my lunch break. I wasn’t expecting much and nor do I have any idea what to order. I went and was so totally enjoyed the food there that I wanted to make a return trip and bring Suanne to try it also.

So we went during dinner time on a weekend. Guess what, they were closed! My Chau has a very odd opening hours. They open early and close early which is not typical for Vietnamese restaurants. You see, they open very early at 9AM and close just before dinner time at 6PM.

Kind of odd, huh?

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We were all the wiser last week. We went early this time … very early. We went at the time when they had just opened for the day. In the cool crisp morning air, we could smell fried chicken already from the outside!

My Chau is located on Kingsway somewhere in the middle between Knight and Victoria. The frontage is not prominent Many people would probably dismiss My Chau as just one of the many Vietnamese restaurants serving beef noodles. But they are not. Their specialty is Pho Ga (Chicken Pho).

Out of curiosity, what does the word My Chau mean? I tried using Google Translate and it translated it to “Americas”. Is that right? Thinking about it now, I think it could be right because of some similarity to the Chinese words. The word My sounds like Mei (Cantonese, short for Mei Kok which means USA) and the word Chau sounds like Chow (Cantonese for state or province). I made that up. Can someone who knows Vietnamese let me know if I am totally out of whack? LOL!

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One can consider My Chau as a hole in the wall. However, it is a very bright and clean hole in the wall. Although they do not have fancy tables and chairs, they are visibly more tidier than other restaurants nearby.

We counted about 42 seats and was quite surprised how at that number. From the outside, it does look smaller, like a 30 seater restaurant only. They also have mirrors lining one side of the wall that makes the place feel much more spacious.

At slightly past 9AM, it was very quiet in the restaurant. We were the only customers that morning until we were about to leave when another couple walked in. We like the quietness. As a matter of fact I thought this is a good place for weekend breakfast instead of the usual dim sum since they open early.

Service wise, they were polite but I felt that the waiter was a bit too shy. I tried to engage him in conversation but it was clear to me that he is uncomfortable partly because of his command of English.

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You can click on the menu pages above to show it larger. The best way is to right click each page and select show it in a separate tab. That way you don’t have to click to the page and come back again.

My Chau is a chicken specialist. It is evident from the logo of the chicken on their menu. So when you are here, focus on the chicken dishes and forget the beef noodles.

The menu is quite long with almost 120 items on it. The prices were also really nice. Almost all of the dishes are between $6.50 and $7.50. There are only a couple of dishes that is $8.50. So yeah, everyone can splurge in a restaurant like My Chau.

Don’t just pay attention to what is on the menu. They have a few special items that is pasted on the walls too. We were eyeing the ones that says “Chicken Congee” and “Special Pork Congee”.

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The bean sprouts they served were not very fresh. We can see the brownish roots and the beans were beginning to sprout already.

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I asked the waiter if it was their deep fried chicken that we could smell when we were walking into the restaurant. He said yes and that it is a favourite with their customers.

The Fried Chicken Leg is $3.50. This looked soooo good. The skin is … crispy and golden brown.

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No batter. It was done really well. We could hear the crackle biting into the crispy skin. It was served with a fish sauce but we did not quite need it at all.

I asked the waiter if this is free range chicken by any chance. He said no. It was normal chicken … Good! I don’t know why but I have something against free range chicken these days. LOL!

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When order off a Vietnamese menu, you know what #1 is. It is usually what is known as Pho Bo Dac Biet and that is Special Beef Pho … and that is the version with everything in it.

In My Chau, their #1 Special is the Pho Ga Dac Biet — Chicken Pho with the works. If you had never been to My Chau before, you need to order this #1 dish.

It is $6 for a small bowl. Since we already ordeedr the Deep Fried Chicken Leg, a small bowl would do for us.

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The chicken meat is boneless and thinly sliced along with the skin (picture on the left). Actually, the chicken meat was not quite as tender as we wish. It could have been better.

There are also gizzard and liver too which I like a lot. The texture of these two are in contrast to one another.

Not shown is that there are chicken balls and quail eggs. This sure is “dac beit”.

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What bowls me over is the broth. It is deceptively clear like it is just water but yet it is so flavourful.

We still remember the other good Pho Ga we had in Lam Hoa Quan on Victoria Drive (see post here). They are both good in a different way but I do like the one in My Chau a tad more. Just a little tad more.

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As mentioned earlier, they have a few off menu specials pasted on the wall. We were having a difficult time deciding between the “Chicken Congee” and the “Special Pork Congee”. We wanted the Chicken Congee because, well, they are specialist in chicken. But we decided eventually on getting the “Special Pork Congee” simply because this one has the word “Special” while the other did not. That was Suanne’s reasoning. 🙂

The Special Pork Congee was $6 for a small serving. From the top we saw Chinese donuts and we can smell the aroma of ginger and white pepper spice. The congee is creamy and so flavorful already that we did not need and soy sauce with this.

Don’t judge the book by the cover as they say …

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There were a lot of “lieu” (that is Canto-speak for “stuff”) in the congee!

It has pork blood, stomach, liver, intestines and tongue.

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OK, see this video we made and you will see how much “lieu” it has. To think that this is only $6.

What we did not like about the congee is the presence of bean sprout. I felt that one item spoils what is already an excellent combination.

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I like the intestine in particular because of its crunchy-chewy texture. We do not like blood sausages or any blood food for the matter. Otherwise, this is excellent. If we come again, we will certainly order the Special Pork Congee but we will ask them to hold the beansprout and the blood sausage.

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The Durian Blend was really really good. This is $3.50. It is very smooth, creamy and naturally sweet. Durian lovers, you must try My Chau’s version and I am quite sure you will like it.

For those of you who had never tried the stinky fruit before, this is an excellent way to try durian for the first time. You don’t have to deal with the smell with this.

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Just an observation. In a Chinese restaurant, you will always find soy sauce on the table. Yet in a Vietnamese restaurant you will hardly find soy sauce. We only realized this when we had the congee and looked for the soy sauce (not that we wanted to use it).

Trying to learn here: Is it true that in Vietnam, soy sauce is rare on the restaurants tables?

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This is cash only.

I highly recommend you go check out My Chau. There are very little you will not like about the restaurant. The food is good and the restaurant is spiffy clean.

What do you think? Worth checking out right?

Remember that they have odd business hours:

  • Monday to Saturday: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

My Chau on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. i shall ask my parents for u and get back to you tommorow if someone doesn’t already beat me to it

  2. soy sauce is not use so often as a condiment in a vietnamese restaruant its more of a flavor additive when cooking. Beansprout in vietnamese style congee is very common vietnamese ppl will add beansprout to almost everything lol

    1. Hi Mike: Say, do you know what the words “My Chau” means? Ben

    2. Yeah, soy sauce isn’t that common in Vietnamese households or restaurants (and if they even do have it, it’s Maggi, which oddly is a Swiss-invented seasoning sauce made with salt and wheat/gluten).

      The condiment of choice is, and always will be, fish sauce (nuoc mam). My sister recalled a story she read where the US army in refugee camps thought that the Vietnamese refugees escaping the War were staging a hunger strike, but it turned out they were missing nuoc mam! 🙂

  3. Ben – looking at the Chinese characters on the front awning, MY CHAU means “beautiful jewel (or pearl)”.

    Been there before. Had a very nice bowl of pho.

    1. BTW: MY CHAU / 美珠 or “beautiful pearl” in Mandarin is MEI ZHU. In Cantonese it would be something like MEI JUEE (hard to pinyin Cantonese !)

      1. loutus got the chinese part right the vietnamese mean the sdame thing Muy mean beautiful and Chau mean pearl so beautiful pearl

  4. I heard My Chau is good! One of my bf’s prefer pho locations. But he usually go there with his friends on weekday…

  5. My Chau pho ga is my favourite noodle soup ever! I only wish they were open a wee bit later and/or on Sunday so I could go more often. The broth is truly phenomenal and the chicken is delicious and filling. I tried to eat a large once and no dice…

  6. I love their plain pho ga (no meat – just the broth and noodles). I always a plate of fried chicken leg. The rest of their menu is also quite good…try the dry hu tieu.

  7. I read somewhere that the high-end Vietnamese restaurant Chau in Robson was opened by the daughter of My Chau owners.

    I love the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. I will definitely give this a try.

    1. Hi Crispy: I thought that Chau on Robson was related to Kim Chau. I could be wrong. Oh … strange. I thought I had blogged about Kim Chau before but I can’t find it on chowtimes at all. Ben

      1. ben i hope u do know that kim chau only sell vietnamese meat products right?

        1. Hi Mike: Yeah, Kim Chau does sell Vietnamese food products but they also have Banh Mi. As a matter of fact, their banh mi is unlike places like Tung Hing and Ba Le in that the baguette is narrower, just like it is in Vietnam. They told me that thinner means crustier and less doughy. Ben

          1. I’ve heard that good Vietnamese baguettes contain some rice flour to help make it more “airy” and less doughy.

          2. FWIW Kim Chau is my favourite banh mi right now and My Chau is my favourite pho ga. I obviously love Chau ;-).

          3. What about the spring roll, Grayelf? Where is your favourite place for spring roll? Bao Chau? LOL! Ben

      2. Ben, we discussed Kim Chau a lot in comments on your blog on Tun Hung. That’s probably why u thought you’ve already blogged it. I think its really My Chau rather than Kim Chau. Unfortunately, I cant find that article. It was sort of a biography of successful Canadian immigrants.

        1. Ok Ben, I re-read the comments on Tun Hing blog. Wow lots of info on banh-mi there. Anyway, I read the comment by fmed that Chau was opened by one of the daughters of Kim Chau. I guess I was wrong then. I really cannot challenge whatever fmed said. He’s our guru on anything food related.

          1. That’s a great article.

      3. Chau (Robson) is related to Kim Chau, as Ben says, via the daughter connection.

  8. Hi Ben,

    I can read the Chinese on the road sign and My Chau is “beautiful pearl”. You are right to think that it may mean “American continent” as that is also a close pronounciation.

    Sounded like a good spot. Will have to try the chicken.

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