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?
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!
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.
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”.
The bean sprouts they served were not very fresh. We can see the brownish roots and the beans were beginning to sprout already.
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.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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 …
There were a lot of “lieu” (that is Canto-speak for “stuff”) in the congee!
It has pork blood, stomach, liver, intestines and tongue.
[vimeo 17963243 w=601 h=451]
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.
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.
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.
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?
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