Vietnamese food is Calgary’s thing.
It’s cheap, offers a decent array of foodstuffs, and for whatever reason, it’s everywhere. Not that I’m complaining. This has led to widespread debate over who has the best pho or bun or whatever.
One spot that’s been around for some time is Minh Chau Vietnamese in Inglewood. Filling the three must have requirements for any respectable Vietnamese joint (cheap food, somewhat dingy surroundings, waving cat figurines) Pho Manchu (as I call it) has become a regular stop in my unofficial Taste of Vietnamese Calgary tour.
Fresh lemon and pho action. Photo by Kelsey Hipkin
While offering nothing flashy – the Pho ($7.50-$9.95) could use a little more oomph and I still can’t tell any difference between the small, medium and large sizes - Minh Chau is tasty and cheap. And they have waving cats.
As Cody mentioned, it often seems like the best places are the one’s that don’t necessarily look absolutely amazing on the outside (or on the inside for that matter). Case in point, Minh Chau.
I love Minh Chau.
The service is prompt and friendly, the food comes out fast and they have hoisin sauce abound (I my friends, am a hoisin fanatic … I think there’s a corny cliche about Canadians and condiments but I can’t remember it and am not ashamed of a little condiment love).
You always start off with a lovely, hot pot of jasmine tea which I adore and comes second only to my beloved sushi restaurant green tea. Plus, there’s just something about those tiny cups.
My favourite dish is the bun Lemongrass Chicken and Spring Rolls on Vermicelli ($8.75). The bowl is always heaping with the sweet and spicy chicken, crunchy sprouts, tender noodles and peanut bits which I love. I love my Vietnamese piping hot so when the fish sauce and hoisin hits the bowl the temperature is juuuussst right. This time around however, my sprouts were uber chilly bringing down the temperature of the whole dish … just a minor faux pas as I was still more than willing to down the bowl and it was still more than tasty.
Lemongrass Chicken bun … mmm. Photo by Kelsey Hipkin
As you may have read before, I’m not a coffee fan but my one indulgence I will allow is Vietnamese coffee … probably because it comes with rich, creamy condensed milk which helps curb the coffee taste.
Minh Chau Vietnamese
1318 Ninth Ave. S.E