Gold Train Express Vietnamese Cuisine
4530 West 10th Avenue
Original post below:
Convenience. And no, I’m not talking about those stores you find in your neighborhood that sell junk food to the masses. Rather, I’m referencing it as a factor that I think some people, including myself, take into account when deciding on a place to eat. For those lucky enough to already be living in an area with a close abundance of solid options, I envy you. For me, this is not the case and as such, I usually sacrifice some quality for quickness in some of my unplanned dining excursions.
Take in point pho – which I know seems to be a popular topic on Foodosophy of late. I am aware that there are way better options elsewhere in town, but near where I live my only convenient choice is a few minutes away. On those mornings when I am craving something light and hot, pho does come to mind once in a while, and I do make the trek to my neighborhood joint, which happens to be an outlet of Gold Train Express Vietnamese Cuisine. I believe they have a few other locations in Vancouver.
My personal pho selections have always centered on the lighter broth choices, probably because I tend to eat this first thing in the morning when I do eat Vietnamese. Not sure why this is, but think it’s because I tend to favor the more richer noodle soups of the Japanese and Chinese varieties when I am having lunch/dinner. Thus, my visits to Gold Train Express are quite straightforward, as I often stick with the basic Pho Chin (well done beef). The beef broth is light enough that I usually drink almost all of it while eating, and the slices of beef are plentiful enough to make the whole bowl quite filling. The combination of green onions, cilantro, Thai basil, bean sprouts and the acid from a few squeezes of lime wedges, makes it a nice refreshing meal. Taste wise, its not horribly bad, as the noodles are okay, and heck in the morning, I am not so fussy, as long as its not too heavy a meal.
On my most recent visit last month, I decided to switch things up oh so slightly, after reading the Foodosopher’s posts about Pho Sate. Elected menu item #24, the Pho Chin Bo Vien Sate (again with the well done beef, this time with some beef balls thrown into the mix). Now immediately after it hit my table and I did a quick skim of the top layer of the soup with my spoon, I knew I had made a mistake. This was nothing like the rich creamy broth that the Foodosopher had described at his visit to Noodle King in Calgary, and more so like the one he described at Pho Kim. The broth was essentially the same as the one I usually get with my Pho Chin, only it had this thin layer of chili oil that was floating in the bowl – just like the ocean after an oil tanker spill. I grudgingly ate the noodles and beef out of the bowl, but did not really touch the soup.
So there you have it, a neophyte pho eater’s report on his nearby pho joint. As I learn more about this dish and the complex variations that do exist, I think I will definitely have to be more adventurous and drive away from my home base more often where I can get a more true representation. Now only if the price of a litre of gasoline would come back under a $1.50. Now that would be convenient.