I think I’ve officially eaten at every Vietnamese Restaurant in Richmond. Well, maybe there’s one or two I missed, but I don’t know where they are if they exist. My pho/vermicelli/stew/banh mi/salad roll total is up there, in the hundreds of thousands at least. Perhaps it’s just dozens, but let’s not get caught up in the details.
I was starving when I arrived and pho didn’t seem hearty enough, so I went with the beef stew with rice, some salad rolls to start, and a salty plum soda.
I adore this drink, perhaps even more than when I had it for the first time at Pho Viet.
The salad rolls were standard – fresh and tasty.
Vietnamese beef stew is similar in many ways to French beef stew, which I wrote about in more detail after my visit to Thai Son.
It’s a thick beef broth with chunks of carrot and braised beef, and I chose to have it with rice this time instead of French bread.
With the cool weather yesterday, this was an ideal choice, and in total my bill came to less than $20.
When it comes to Japanese restaurants, I know I certainly haven’t eaten at all of them in Richmond. I did, however, have the privilege of going back to Nan Chuu, one of my favourite izakaya joints, for a cooking lesson!
Their manager and head chef, Minoru Suzuki, showed me how to make their seafood and avocado salad, and one of their most popular ramen dishes. Of course, it was easy-peasy for me considering all the prep was already done, but I learned a lot, especially about how skilled you must be to (successfully) use a sashimi knife.
I’ve worked with my fair share of knives, but let me tell you, slicing a raw scallop into paper thin slices with an unfamiliar blade is no easy task. I did…um…ok, meaning I still have all my fingers and the scallop was ‘sliced’ by the end, but it increased my already high level of respect for sushi chefs big time. I mean, we all knew Jiro was amazing, but someone really ought to give that guy a Nobel Prize or something.
The seafood salad had romaine lettuce, slices of salmon, scallops, tuna tataki, half an avocado on top, shredded daikon, a shoyu/ginger/garlic/oil dressing, a drizzle of mayo, and some bright orange fish roe.
The ramen we made is ‘brothless,’ meaning there’s just a little broth mixture (fish paste, shoyu, and a concentrated pork broth) mixed into the noodles, and topped with a fish cake, a marinated egg, some sliced mushrooms, bean sprouts, and nori.
This is a photo of me watching some noodles boil – SO EASILY AMUSED.
Something else that thrilled me to no end was their method for slicing soft-boiled marinated eggs in half.
They tied a piece of fishing line between the wall and the edge of the shelf, and slice the egg with that. So simple, so efficient, so smart!
They also grilled up some saba (mackerel), which is marinated before being put under the broiler.
I didn’t do much more than plate it, but I did a mighty fine job of arranging pureed daikon and a slice of lemon next to the fish. SOMEONE’S got a future career in minimalist mackerel plate decoration.
The best part of these cooking lessons is that I get to eat the food after, and it was all wonderful. I love the food at Nan Chuu, and really recommend trying it out on a Friday or Saturday night. I mean, if I’m eating by myself and having this much fun, imagine what it would be like WITH FRIENDS!
Thanks to Minoru and his staff for hosting us! I learned a lot, ate even more, and had so much fun.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available
Kids meals available