Grandview-Woodland—I finally got around to sampling East Vancouver's award-winning North Vietnamese eatery, Mr. Red Cafe, for lunch after much ballyhoo and acclaim. After all, they are the self-proclaimed "Quintessence of Vietnamese cuisine".
I dutifully ordered a trio of their Hanoian specialties: bún nem cua bể (deep fried crab spring rolls with vermicelli noodles), phở bò đặc biệt (special beef noodle soup), and xôi khúc vừng lạc (sticky rice and mung bean dumplings with pâté and fried shallots) with a cà phê sữa (iced coffee) to drink. Both the crab rolls and dumplings were quite tasty and treats to eat while I thoroughly enjoyed the lighter, easy to eat phở for its simpler but still beefy contents.
I brought along Mama Chung, a very traditional South Vietnamese cook and eater, for her expertise in verifying the quality of the cuisine. She was satisfied but not altogether entirely impressed, but she rarely is, so consider her thoughts still fairly complimentary. I remarked on how a few of the dishes on the menu we had not even heard of which I can assure you is an anomaly.
Mr. Red offers a nice Northern twist and tradition on well-known Vietnamese dishes. While not exactly what this South Vietnamese raised son is use to, they have enough familiar and authentic Hanoian tastes to make the food more than appealing. Plans are already underway for a second location in Kitsilano.
More | YVArcade / Dennis the Foodie / Globe and Mail / Scout / Sherman Chan / Vancouver Sun