Pho Maxima Restaurant
822 Twentieth Street
New Westminster, BC
This non-flashy restaurant, nestled in a very average-looking commercial building fits the common definition of a hole-in-the-wall eatery. Slightly indented from the street itself, it would be quite easy to miss passing by, unless you were deliberately turning into the front side-facing parking lot, which is also home to a couple other places to get a quick meal. I’ve already written about one of them here.
Despite its subdued appearance, Pho Maxima seemingly gets a lot of love from the locals, judging from a couple of occupied tables as I walked in alone, as well as the phone ringing with delivery orders. A pleasant man was working the front of house alone and I could hear a few voices coming from the back kitchen. Receiving a pot of hot tea to start while I perused the menu booklet, I debated going with the namesake pho but instead opted for another edition of meat-on-rice.
As the clock was approaching almost nine p.m, the other tables were just wrapping up and soon I had the place all to myself. It was kind of eerie in a way, sitting alone in one of the booths, with my back to the door and all the workers out of view in the kitchen. I almost felt like I was intruding and shouldn’t really be there. Wish they had some music playing or a television to watch almost, just to cut the dreadful silence.
With a single serving of a chicken broth soup brought to my table, apparently as part of my main dish order, I imagined what the pho soup might also taste like if I was to ever come back and order it. I’ve had a lot of pho lately, so am guessing I might get around to it one day. (On a related note, had a superb bowl again at My Chau the other day).
Spring rolls (meat & vegetable), two for $5. Skinny in appearance but quite filling with the pair of them. Thankfully the pieces were fully cut through, a pet peeve of mine when its not done as such. The fish sauce dip helped to cut the oily sensation, though they certainly weren’t soggy and thus not deep fried in too low temperature oil.
And lastly my main dish. The BBQ Pork Chop and Minced Pork for $7.00. I had to ask when I ordered what the minced pork component was, and got it described to me as a burger patty and well, I guess it wasn’t too far off but strange nonetheless. In actuality it reminded me of a slice of SPAM. The pork chop was miniscule, and I wondered where the other half was, but I guess for seven dollars, I shouldn’t expect much, or should I? It tasted pretty good, nice charred smokiness to it, making me want a larger portion all the more.
So there you have it, Pho Maxima. Nothing really “max” about it, other than the maximum amount of dining space for my lonesome this night. Let me know if anyone ever has the pho and if I should go back and try it.