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Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House
Venezia Place, #180 – 8611 Alexandra Road
So it looks like I may be taking a trip to Vietnam this winter. Not sure if this is influencing my eating experiences of late, but with two bowls of pho consumed over the past four days, I am beginning to wonder if its somehow subliminal.
My latest outing was at Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House, which I spotted randomly while driving by looking for an quick and early lunch, and it was one of the few restaurants that had an open sign up in the area at about 11am (my other bowl this was at the Pho Hoang Vietnamese Restaurant on Main Street, Vancouver). There was also a sandwich board out front that had text in English, Chinese and Korean, which threw me off before I entered and heard the unique sounding chatter in Vietmanese among the staff.
Luckily, I caught the place just as it was opening. There’s a free parking lot in the back of the building that is connected to other businesses, as there is no parking allowed on the front street. Incidentally, Pho 99 is located right across the street from Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, the place that has received a lot of press this year both from a New York Times reporter and the Vancouver media. Stepping inside, I was pleasantly surprised to see that things looked pretty new, and most of all clean. I think either the owners just took over a previous tenant and did some superficial updates or the place has only recently opened for business. It was brightly lit and the partially white colored walls contributed to it feeling a lot more refreshing than your usual hole-in-the-wall joint that serve pho. Maybe the weird plastic tree near the booth I was in, wrapped with some more plastic tubing containing some lights, added to the overall glow too. LAUGH!
As I mentioned in a previous pho posting, I like my broths light when I eat this dish in the A.M. Pho 99 did this and was even less salty than other places I’ve visited, which was nice and made it feel even healthier. I know, most people will say that pho is pho, not much difference from this place to that, and I’ll agree, given that its pretty standard fare in many Asian countries, soup noodles that is, and practically their cultural replacement for ‘fast food’. Keeping with the lighter fare, I chose the well done flank and brisket toppings. Again, I know other will vouch for the more fattier, interesting meat choices here, and Pho 99 offers them all, even dividing their menu sections by “For the Beginner”, “Just The Regular” and “For Adventurer’s”, each with more unorthodox cuts and parts of meat.
The non-pho side of the menu offered selections of specialty items, side orders, rice plates, appetizers, egg noodle soups, and Vermicelli bowls. The entire menu sheet is laminated and double-sided, with the back listing out various drinks, including Vietnamese coffee that our server asked if we were interested in but we stuck with the complimentary tea.
My lunch companion’s seafood noodles. An even lighter non-beef broth, though the use of frozen seafood ingredients was clear. Also, broccoli and carrots in the mix.
Pho 99 offers both eat-in and take out options, so another easy place for a quick bowl of pho if you happen to be in the area. With me, always getting lost on Richmond’s streets and alleys, it was a lucky find that suited my needs on this particular day, as I had an appointment at noon. Not the kind of place I’d go out of my way to eat at given I’m not in the city often, but if you are nearby, not a bad place to check out…