Song Houng is a no frills restaurant offering a menu of authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Both my gf and I made our trip here about a month back, and since then it's been hard not to go. At one point I came here 4 times out of 5 days.
Decor is a mish mash, but very appropriate for a pho joint. Damaged seats, unkempt mint green walls, Sportsnet on the screens and the tinged scent of mold in the air absolutely must mean that the food is fantastic.
The specialty and usual pho dac biet comes with a rich dark broth with what I think is a hint of anise. The cuts of beef are good with several good chunks of tendon. Spring rolls here use rice paper. They are packed well and come out with a crispy skin and a great finely minced filling inside. Although deep fried they don't seem heavy at all. The lemongrass chicken is bone-in, a rare find with strong flavours with some aptly placed char. Portions are adequate but the prices are on the cheap.
Service is a bit of a sore point here, a little worse than a usual pho joint, likely because of the two divided eating areas but nothing a hand gesture to flag them down can fix. A nice plus here is that they accept debit/credit.
Song Huong hits the mark on the staple dishes, but I just can't seem to find myself giving them a perfect score for food because it's simple food, yet so satisfying. Easily one of my favourites.
This place is very busy which is a good sign. The other place on the opposite corner is never busy and there was a recent shooting there. With the local crowds, knew this was a good choice. Tried the small special pho with the mix of everything in it. Very good but could be a bit bigger but my fault for not ordering the large. Meat tasted very good. Shrimp salad rolls were smaller than what I am used to but very tasty with a hoisin sauce versus your usual peanut sauce. Service was fast but no followup after. Place is comfortable but ambiance is not their focus with dated interior and washrooms. Good place for a quick/cheap meal.
I came here for lunch on Saturday and it was my first time. I had the Bun Bo Hue and it was really really good. I was tipped by my sister to ask for the rare beef instead as it is more tender. My boyfriend had the grilled chicken on rice with a fried egg. It was only $5.50.
Restaurants like this prove you don't need a lot of money to eat well.
Warning, it does get busy on weekends.
Firstly, I will e-mail Dinehere.ca and try to update the address of this restaurant. The new address is 1613 Nanaimo Street. It is North of 1st Avenue on the West side of the street. The phone number remains the same.
I will start by saying that I wanted to try this place based on reviews at Dinehere.ca I am trying to find good, affordable east side restaurants to go with my family.
I'll start with the ambiance. The restaurant has two sides. The first side is tropical in decor with rattan tables and chair and bamboo fronts on the kitchen/hostess area. There are fake flowers and fruits on the overhead trellis on the ceiling. I liked the decor - it was kitchy, without being over-the-top. I found the restaurant clean (I did not check out the washrooms). The other side appeared more diner style with booths. No matter - we were seated in the tropical side.
Our waitress was pleasant. We ordered #35's (grilled lemon grass, vietnamese spring roll and vermicelli) for each of the kids. My husband and I ordered #64s (shrimp on sugar cane, vietnamese spring roll and bbq minced pork with vermicelli) and asked to split a large #3 (rare beef) pho. We ordered one ice tea (to be split) for the kids and a preserved lime on soda drink for my husband and I.
The waitress brought the ice tea and glasses for the kids. She brought our pho and extra bowls to split. However, she brought one of the children's order and then one of the adults order. I waited ... and waited... I asked the waitress where our other dishes were. The waitress had not understood my order and did not know that "my husband and I will each have the #64" meant that WE WILL HAVE TWO ORDERS OF THE #64 (ONE FOR HUBBY, ONE FOR ME). The same mistake applied to my childrens' order. I understand that there is a language barrier, but my English language was very, very clear and I had used gesticulation - indicating each child and my husband and myself. Anyway, I split up the orders so we could all eat together and then split up the rest of the food as it arrived.
Unfortunately, I also had to remind the waitress of our beverage order 1/2 through our meal (which is strange as this was a pricey beverage ($3.75 or so). Usually restaurant staff trip over themselves to get this kind of beverage out in hopes that another will be ordered as this is where a lot of their profit is made. Too bad, I would have ordered two of them as I quite enjoyed the unique, lemony, slightly salty/sweet taste.
The food itself was very tasty. A small caveat for those dining with young kids - the chicken was bone-in and chopped haphazardly - I took some time to carefully remove all the chicken from the bone to avoid injury). The pho was delicious - although I would have preferred it just a tad hotter. The combo was very tasty and everything was priced very reasonably.
I would be willing to go back to this location due to the ambiance, food and pleasantness of the staff. However, I will write my order down on paper (with a diagram if necessary) so that there is no communication problems ;)
On a few tips, we sought out this place which was well away from the other Vietnamese joints. Wouldn't know it by the front either.
Yes, we went for their special #1 bun bo thingy :-)
Comes with a lot of stuff including pork blood and pork hock. Broth was spicy, but not too much. Nice light taste. Noodles suitably "boinky". Inexpensive too. What's to complain?
Also had a combo dish with fried spring roll types, shrimp salad rolls, "ham", rice vermicelli, all sorts of things. A good sampling which was also given a small thumbs up. Not sure if they use MSG or not, which is a good sign. If they did, it's not as much as other places.
Saw a lot of other interesting thing on the menu, like "Beef done 7 ways" dish, first time we've seen it in Vancouver.
Yeah, a lot of stuff on the menu, so we're sure to be back for another try. Go for more than just the noodles though.
My friend almost kissed me for introducing him to this place. I heard about their Bon 7 whatever…beef in 7 ways, and loving new things, I had to try it.
When you walk in to this place you feel like you’ve gone back in time. It’s one of those old-school Vietnamese restaurants, and I felt like like turning right around and walking out the door as soon as I stepped in. Judging by the cautious tone in my friend’s voice, “umm…do you think this is the right place?” he wasn’t really feeling a good vibe either. There’s 2 parts to the restaurant, and the first is a vast expanse of weird wicker furniture, and it was mostly empty when we went. But then there’s a 2nd part to the restaurant which is smaller and full of booths. That part is usually busy or even completely full.
We ordered the bon 7…there was a whole variety of stuff. There was beef congee, beef hot pot to wrap in rice papers with herbs and veggies, grilled beef, grilled beef wrapped in lotus leaves (that was so so tasty), a beef salad (refreshing and nicely done) and steamed beef meatballs. It was a fun meal, and a nice change from the typical Vietnamese food.
The servers are friendly and efficient. This is not the best Vietnamese restaurant in town by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good, it’s tasty, and it’s CHEAP. And for people who eat out often, that cutting back on a dollar or 2 can be very inviting.
Went here today for lunch. It is very small family run pho place across from Trocodero and Bon's on Broadway. Was seated with a complete stranger, as other tables were full...which was fine.
I order the bun bo hue after reading the comments on this review and 2 salad rolls. Firstly, the menu is quite diverse, i saw lots of people ordering rice dishes which looked really tasty. A large bowl is like $5.75...that's the cheapest I have ever seen so far in the lower mainland.
The bun came pretty quickly and it was pretty big bowl. Not sure why they did this but served some type of pickled sliced cabbage on top of the bun...i quickly ate it an didn't mix it into my soup as i didn't want to change the flavour. Very strange. The broth was very flavourfull, not too spicy. There was adequate meat and noodles and this restaurant also serves both pig feet knuckle and the square of coagulated blood...as I have stated in previous posts, I can leave the knuckle and blood thank you very much.
Salad rolls were very good, nice and fresh, although the peanut sauce was a little too sweet for my taste. I think gst is included in the price, as my large bowl and 2 salad rolls came out to $10.20, which is a steal. I was on training for work today, so I can just expense lunch.
I gave the overall rating because not only is the food good, it's really inexpensive too. Recommended.
Good following to this restaurant as evident on a busy Saturday evening. Diverse crowd - families, couples, different ethnicities.
Food: only ordered Pho #1 special (pho dat biet) and sampled some lemon grass chicken rice. The broth was pretty good as was the quality of sliced beef.
Service: food came out quickly, server came by several times to clear plates and refilled ice water/tea. Really, what more can you ask for in a Vietnamese restaurant?
Value: great value for portion size. You get to upgrade to a large bowl for Pho for 50 cents additional...wow, you can't even buy the soup broth for that! Roughly $6 for a huge bowl that can be split between two.
Ambiance: lots of seating ranging from tables of 8 to banquette seating along the alcove area. We sat at a large table normally reserved for larger groups and had plenty of space to sprawl. Very nice marble tables and comfortably padded chairs, although they were bit too wide to easily manouvre around. Interesting decor with imported Vietnamese paintings and art work and fake ivy plants hanging off wooden lattice. Fake veggies and fruits dangled like Christmas ornaments off the ceiling....very kitsch. The coolest element was the tiki bar right by the foyer. At western establishments, this would be a turn off, but somehow the overwhelming tackiness works.
If you have wondered where this little Vietnamese restaurant has gone, they have moved up Nanaimo just north of E. 1st. The new place is much bigger which is good because it was quite common for the old place to be jam packed. The food has always been honest good tasting Vietnamese cafeteria food. Not outstanding but very good fill your face for under 10 bucks type of food. As an added bonus the staff always seem to be fairly friendly and the place seems decently clean.
The food quality and taste is typical for Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver. One downfall is not subs. Don't expect anymore or less than other Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver. The Pho is a bit better I find too, but not much better.
The service is incredible. Fast, friendly, and observant.
Value is great. Prices match Vietnamese restaurants. But, you do get more food I find.
The ambiance upsets me. The only bad thing this place has going. The whole restaurant smells like a sanitized washroom. Like Urinal cakes. Try not to sit in the Northern room, as it smells the worst. The decor there is sub-par. It is clean, but worn-down. If you care a lot about ambiance, head elsewhere.
I have been to this Song Huong 3 times in the last 6 months. They seemed busy whenever I went. Food is better than many Pho places. I especially like their rice and vermicelli. They have very good pork stew My reason visit wasn't a pleasant one. They wiped our table with a smelly cloth, so our table stinks. We waited 10 minutes at the table before someone was available to take our order and we had to ask twice for everything - ice water, high chair, spoons. It is a place for good food if you don't care about their service.
We live close by and have seen other restaurants in this location, open and then close. So we were pleasantly surprised to see that this restaurant stayed open longer than three months. The decor is a bit kitschy with its tropical bamboo but its very clean and furniture is new.
The night we went, there was a steady stream of people arriving for dinner. We ordered a combo 63 - spring roll, shrimp salad roll, shrimp 'ball" and vietnamese ham on vermicelli (DadaMao and LittleMao scarfed down the vietnamese ham) and a large pho tai nam. Broth was tasty without being too salty. Portions were average sized. It was definitely a family oriented restaurant - I counted 8 toddler at various tables and assorted older siblings..
The only complaints I have: not enough wait staff.. restauarant was very busy and it took a while to get our order taken, the bean sprouts should have been precooked and the bathroom could have been cleaner when I took LittleMao to wash her hands (but I guess that's typical in Oriental restaurants..)
Anyway, we will definitely make another visit here in the future.
Song Huong (not Houng) is an excellent restaurant where many vietnamese people bring their families. The large Pho (there are about 12 varieties) is 7$ for a large bowl. Not only is it very good, but it's consistently good -
I've been to Song Huong about 50 times over the past several years, and it's always been good. The Pho, Bun Bo Hue (spicy middle-part of Vietnam dish), Bun Thit Nuong (vermicelli and grilled skewers) and the rice dishes are all top-notch.
They recently opened another one on 1st/Nanaimo, which features Bo Bai Mon (7 kinds of beef), which is comparable to Korean BBQ, which is to say, very tasty!
Ok, so based on previous reviews and an article on vancouverslop.com my lady and I decided to check this place out. Good parking situation, clean and airy inside (with obligitory bamboo decor) with both nice table set-ups or booths on the far side of the restaurant. The service was great, the young lady was efficient and friendly all in the right quantities. My vietnemese iced coffee came within a few minutes, at other places I usually get it as i finish my meal. The fried spring roll and salad rolls are solid. I ordered the pho w/ rare beef, flank and beef balls, the lady ordered small w/bb and here's where things weren't quite so good. Both soups looked and smelt great but we found the broth to be a bit strong tasting (like the stock was left simmering with all the ingredients too long) and it was too fatty/oily. Nice tasting but left a greasy taste in the mouth. All in all, solid place, nice atmosphere but I prefer our regular place which also happens to be closer to us.
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