Kim Phung serves up authentic Vietnamese classics, but the high quality Pho is the star of the show.
I had heard good things about this place so what better time to try it out than the start of 2010.
Decor is minimal at best and unappealing, but comforting at the same time. If this parallels a streetside restaurant in Vietnam, they could make a good case for it, complete with worn out plastic chopsticks.
My gf and I shared a few items. Our large pho had large slices of flank and rare beef and big pieces of tendon but I found the dark broth lacking in depth. Void of MSG it actually may have taken away some of the flavour. The springrolls were some of the best, a thin rice wrapper tightly wound up the finely minced filling. We were hoping for the crepe (banh xeo) but was no longer available, so we opted for the rudamentary banh mi, which used a disappointing sub-style loaf on an otherwise pretty good sandwich. Portions are indeed smaller than norm as are the prices are higher than norm.
Service is that of one very casually dressed young man. Polite and friendly but nothing to gush over. Kitchen speed is a little slower though in hindsight it is likely a family run operation.
It's a little on the expensive side but so I'm up in the air to come here more than sparingly, but not quite regularly.
I went with the two kids to this place after enjoying a walk through South Vancouver.
I'll start with ambiance...
The place is small, but functional. It had darker colours and was a bit dated. There was some greenery in the way of houseplants with vines winding their way around the place. All this was fine. The problem was in the overall cleanliness. I thought the walls, sills, and all the condiment containers could have used a wipe down with a germicidal solution. I don't like touching sticky common-use condiment containers and could see splatter marks on the walls, vertical blinds, etc.
The service was okay. The young man was pleasant enough, albeit a bit slow to take our order. We ordered a small rare beef Pho; a combination plate with chicken skewers, spring roll and rice; two root beer and an iced preserved lemon and soda drink. My children's pop came reasonably quickly. Then came the Pho and then the combo plate. My drink was finally served part way through eating the Pho. The waiter also brought the bean sprouts and basil when we were part way through eating our Pho. These should have been brought first so they could be added right away to the hot broth (this would release the fragrant oils of the basil..) Oddly, he brought me a cup of tea near the end of our meal - this should also been brought when I was seated.
The Pho and combination plate were tasty. I liked the addition of green onion and parsley to the Pho.
I had to rate the value as poor. The prices were higher than other Pho establishments and the portions were smaller and the overall decor was dated. The drinks were particularly overpriced (a can of pop was $2.50 - this is double most other Pho restaurants I have been to). I might stop in by myself if I was in the area and needed a Pho fix - but I would only drink tea and/or tap water (which I would ask for straight away).
BTW - the prices listed in the menu include GST (this may change if and when the HST is implemented.)
I only come to this place since I live in the neighbourhood. They really need to do something about the heat inside. It is just wayyyyyyyy too hot. The food is decent. Portions are a tad smaller then other places. There definitely isn't enough meat in their vermicelli bowls. I like other places better but this place satifies a pho craving.
The only reason I even went to this restaurant was that the Chinese place down the street wouldn't seat us, saying they had no empty tables, despite that they had several visable. That said, I was very pleased that they did, because we discovered this awesome Vietnamese place. I have been to this place dozens of times since.
It looks like a hole in the wall, but it serves some of the most delicious Vietnamese food I have ever had. I always get the shredded pork noodle bowl and usually the person I go with either gets the lemon grass pork or beef noodle pho. They always include the freshest bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro leaves, and a chili pepper on the side. The spring rolls are delicious, and I could eat a whole plate bymyself.
The prices are extremely reasonable and the two of us could come out stuffed for $10-15 (although we usually splurge and spend $20!)
The family that runs it is very pleasant and welcoming, although I get annoyed sometimes when I have to listen to the daughter and mother shout at each other in Vietnamese across the very small restaurant.
I continue to go back on a regular basis, and I've recommended it to several of my friends.
I usually steer away from the pho at this place because there is better and cheaper elsewhere. Dishes you should try include the dry noodle and the shrimp paste soup noodle. Those two are delicious. Other than that, we usually just order a side of spring rolls. Like any other typical Vietnamese restaurant, it just doesn't look that clean - although I'm sure it's passable in CFIA terms. Just put your Mr.Clean thoughts away and enjoy the food.
The service here is consistantly good. I can't really comment on anything other than their pho, as that is what I generally go in for. The broth is a tad oily, but flavourful. The noodles are nicely done each time, a bit of chew and no clumpyness. The toppings for Dac Biet are all tasty and prepared well. I did notice that the quantity may be smaller than other pho places, but that's not a big deal to me. I generally go in the afternoon on a Saturday; it is always bustling with a contant stream of customers; this can make finding parking a bit difficult.
I wish Kim Phung could be my go-to place for Pho, unfortunately the person I dine with has an allergic reaction everytime we eat there.??? Pressure in the chest and numbness in the limbs...hmmm we just can't take that risk.... Sorry Kim Phung. But I still recommend it to friends.
I used to go in on a weekly basis. They knew me, knew what I wanted, brought it out with little more than a nod... it was a slice of heaven. While time and travels have found me better pho, this place still has major points in my heart as making a good bowl of soup. A thing the large chains and dime a dozen joints just can't seem to get close to emulating.
It's small, but they recently renovated. I still need to go back since they were closed up for about a month and it threw me from my cycle, but I am looking forward to getting another yummy bowl of soup from my friends at Kim Phung, even if they don't remember me since it's been so long... seriously, the last time was a little awkward... "hey, remember me?" - "No" [0_o;] oh...
I dropped in to Kim Phung for lunch after fasting for 10 hours for a medical test, so maybe it just seemed like really good pho, but what I had was quite good - the beef and the beef balls were good, and the broth was rich and seemed to have a bit more kick to it than most. The iced coffee was also pretty decent.
I noted a bit of an odd smell when I came in; I got used to it pretty quickly, though I bumped the ambience down a point for it.
I think the place's main problem is its prices are out of line with the standard for pho in Vancouver. I'm used to getting a large bowl for no more than $7; here it's $9. Most places offer spring rolls and salad rolls for around $5/2; here it's more like $7/2. If I get both of those things, as I usually do, that's an extra $4, which is a pretty substantial amount extra considering pho places mostly aren't very expensive to begin with.
In any case, I'd happily drop in again if I was in the neighborhood, though I don't know that I'd make a special trip. I might get cravings for that broth, though, so who knows.
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