Simple and Delicious
9656 107A Avenue
Há Phu’o’ng, on 107 Avenue, just north of Lucky 97, is an unassuming little place with its clean, peach coloured decor with nine or ten tables adorned with potted plants and comfortable, matching chairs.
When I went for dinner on a weeknight about 7, I was cordially welcomed and asked if I wanted tea or ice water. I took the tea and was glad I did. The beautiful fresh green tea with real leaves and hot water was a pleasant change from the sit-all-day-in-a-pot bagged black tea one often gets in Asian restaurants.
I saw the specials on the posted white board, and to my pleasant surprise, learned that it was the complete menu. So often I am overwhelmed by the choices in a restaurant, sometimes pages and pages of variants of the same dish. But this place is different. Twenty items on the whole menu, including about nine meals – dry or soup – for $10 each; some spring or salad rolls ($2.50); and green onion cakes ($5). Drinks were $4 each for smoothies or Vietnamese coffee; $2 for orange juice or pop.
I was intrigued by the Vegan Peanut Saté Soup, but asked for a recommendation and accepted it, ordering the Hu Tieu Pork Seafood Broth Soup, first on the top of the menu list.
The soup arrived in two minutes. The flavourful steaming broth contained pepper, crispy onions, and pork flavour, despite the seafood base and the prawn or two in the soup. Big, thin pieces of pork, quail egg, and soft rice noodles complemented the other flavours and textures. While I usually add some spice for flavour, this didn’t need it. I didn’t want to destroy the balance of ingredients.
Needing something a little cool, I asked for a jackfruit smoothie (avocado and durian were the other options), which was wonderful: thick and well blended, sweet, and able to be (mostly) sipped through a straw. And I bet that the Vietnamese coffee with coconut condensed milk would have been great too, but I would have been caffeinated until next week.
The chief cook told me they had been running the place for over a year now, and have developed some regular customers, but it’s not been too busy. Come make it busier, any day but Tuesday, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.! It’s warm, inviting, simple, and delicious.
John lives in Boyle Street.