Bright in Color and Flavours
Uyen Uong Noodle House
10626 97 Street
I’m glad I wore a yellow shirt when I went to lunch. At Uyen Uong, the entire decor is yellow and I actually blended right in! It was bright, sunny, and clean.
My dining companion and I had our choice of seats and were presented with menus. About 80 dishes were printed therein, plus about ten more specials handwritten on the last page. Most of it was standard Vietnamese fare, and my friend ordered the staple Pho Tai, beef soup with thin noodles. I, being the more adventurous one, asked the server what he would recommend and he suggested one of the handwritten specials. Bun Rieu is a complex dish with crab, shrimp, tomato, onion, egg, and pork balls in soup. He even explained to us how to pronounce what we ordered (although I doubt we’ll remember the next time). There were non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, but we abstained even from those, and indulged in a few lettuce wraps for a starter.
The obligatory bean sprouts, basil, and lime came quickly, followed soon by our meals. Both were big bowls of soup, steaming hot with fresh ingredients still cooking in the broth. The colour and presentation of the Bun Rieu showed off the variety of ingredients in a clear chicken soup. So appetizing it was, that I dove right in (forgetting to take a photo!). I even ate two of the lettuce wraps before snapping the picture!
In retrospect, I should have waited, not only for the photo, but because the soup improved as I ate it, mixing the flavours and developing a subtlety that I missed when eating the individual meats and vegetables. The ingredients in both soups were quite tender, the vermicelli just past the al dente stage and the vegetables just past the crunchy stage. The lettuce wraps were simple and pure: shrimp, lettuce, and thin noodle in a rice wrap with a delicious peanut sauce. I even took home some for the next day’s lunch. All totalled, it was $24.10 for the two average priced meals – quite affordable for such good food.
We enjoyed our lunch relatively uninterrupted, either by the server or other patrons, as there were very few. Uyen Uong certainly is worthy of more visits. If you go, take time to savour the food (maybe take a few photos) and wear your sunniest yellow.
John lives in Boyle Street.