Restaurants & Bars 7

Truong Tranh: North Vietnamese hits the spot

grayelf | Mar 7, 201008:47 AM

We finally made it to Truong Tranh 2096 Kingsway just east of Victoria (604) 876-9288 hours are 9-5 Mon-Sat IIRC. We are starting to think of Vietnamese food as more of a lunch option since so many of the good cafes are not open for dinner. We walked in at 2 pm to find the place quite full. A quick scan of the patrons turned up twinkienic and her SO at a fourtop! They graciously invited us to join them and we pointed to the order of banh cuon (rice rolls) that was already on the table and asked the server for another, as it was our main reason for coming. This dish is one of our favourites and we had heard good things about it on a local blog (thanks for the lead, fmed). It was indeed lovely here, with delicate but slightly chewy wrappers which seemed to me obviously housemade, nice porky filling with a hint of that good pongy umami, nice tall pork loaf (it's cut in wedges here instead of the more common thin bologna-like slice) and PORK FLOSS! I loves me some good pork floss. Think of cotton candy but from a pig. Delicious. This dish also comes with a super generous side of fresh greens and herbs, something I've not seen before.

We also had xoi thit (sticky rice and pork, sometimes called porc au caramel) in our sights. Our DCs had ordered it with pate so we were going to get the regular one, until it became clear the server had brought the regular one to them, so we ordered the pate. I thought the pork was delicious, unlike any other porc au caramel I've tried (not that I'm an expert, far from it): it had a sizeable piece of tender pork belly floating in a thin brothy sauce of what tasted to me rather like flavoured soy sauce. I didn't really detect much caramel but I didn't care -- it was excellent. I was less excited about the pate which is no surprise since I don't like liver :-). The other diners seemed to enjoy it very much, however.

We decided to order a soup listed under bun (vermicelli) which actually came with round wheat based white noodles not unlike spaghetti. They were out of the duck so we tried the chicken. This is comfort food for sure -- the chicken pieces had that lovely yellow tinge to the skin, the bamboo shoots were sliced in circles and the broth had again just a hint of pong to it. With a squeeze of red spicy sauce, delightful. I ordered a lemonade which was tasty but a bit too sweet (my usual complaint). Twinkie had ordered an avocado shake which didn't come and upon reordering seemed to arrive with a bunch of pandan, which was good. This is a neighbourhood, family run cafe that delivers quality, homestyle cooking as far as I can see. You may have to put up with a few service hiccups as we did but with combination of quality and value it is very much worth a try. We will be back.

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