Hey everybody, it’s nice out.
That blasted Pineapple Express has finally given way to sun, with pineapples now being blended into pina coladas to be enjoyed beach-side. Perhaps it’s not quite warm enough for the beach just yet, but I was pretty thrilled to walk around Richmond yesterday under this blue sky.
And this one.
And this one.
Yesterday, In addition to smiling at the sky like an idiot, I met up with Steven, a Langara journalism student who asked if he could interview me for an assignment. I said sure, as long as you arrange for nice weather. He pulled through.
We met up at Pho An Nam on No. 3 Road, just south of Brighouse Station. We walked in at 11am, just after they’d opened, and within an hour they were packed. They offer pho, plenty of rice and vermicelli dishes, and bubble tea. They also have kid-sized meals, which I rarely see on menus in Vietnamese restaurants.
We first did the interview, which felt normal except for one thing – I was talking to a booth seat the whole time. Steven was a one-man show, so he had to hold the camera AND ask the questions, and since an interviewee should never look directly into the camera, I had to pretend he was sitting across from me. Therefore, I ended up having a long and detailed conversation with an empty wooden booth seat, picking two swirls in the wood-grain to act as my new imaginary friend’s ‘eyes.’ I made gestures to the seat, nodded intently when the seat me questions, and laughed at all the seat’s jokes. Anyone walking by must have thought I was absolutely nuts, but man, that seat was a heck of a conversationalist! We’re having a lunch again tomorrow.
Once the interview was over, we got down to ordering. I wasn’t in the mood for pho, so instead we ordered a sautéed lemongrass beef with rice dish ($9, I asked for rice instead of vermicelli), the Vietnamese crepe ($10), and a meatball banh mi ($4).
Let’s start with the meatball banh mi, because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since yesterday and want to be eating one right now.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Richmond; the meatballs were crazy tender, there was just the right amount of mayo, cilantro, carrots, and daikon, and the bread was soft with a crusty exterior. The meatball sandwich at Pho An Nam – get on that.
The lemongrass beef with rice was good, but didn’t particularly stand out; the beef was tender but not notably flavourful, and while I was happy to eat it because I was starving and appreciated how fresh and healthy it was, I don’t think I’d get it again.
The Vietnamese crepe, however, won me over. It was thin, crispy, full of shrimp and chicken, and wrapped around sautéed bean sprouts.
It came with a heaping plate of fresh lettuce, cilantro, Thai basil, cucumbers, and shredded carrot, which we wrapped around pieces of the crepe and dipped into bowls of nuoc cham (sweet Vietnamese dipping sauce).
The addition of the fresh vegetables and herbs made the dish, and was just the kind of food for a bright, sunny day.
Thanks to Steven for being a great dining partner, to the booth seat across from me for being such a good listener, and of course – to the sky for being so blue!
Cash and cards accepted
Plenty of vegetarian options available!