Google map

For the most part, Google maps are my saviour, but every once in awhile they get it wrong and confuse the heck out of me.  Case in point: my attempt to find the location of Pho Lan, a highly recommended Vietnamese restaurant in Richmond.  Google maps told me it’s at the corner of Westminster Highway and No. 3 Road, but guess what – Pho Lan IS NOT AT THE CORNER OF WESTMINSTER HIGHWAY AND NO. 3 ROAD.

I’ll tell you where it IS located – farther along No. 3, just south of Anderson Road, across from City Hall.  Judging by its enthusiastic endorsements online and the number of people picking up takeout while I was there, Pho Lan is a well-established place beloved by locals.

interior of Pho Lan

The setup: there’s a friendly guy behind a little counter at the front, who acts as the restaurant’s cashier, and handles takeout orders over the phone.  He’s no-nonsense but warm – a real character.  Dining in is a casual affair, with menus pressed below plexi-glass tabletops.

pho lan menu

In addition to the regular menu, there’s also one dedicated to vegetarian dishes, which I’m sure is appreciated by many.

vegetarian menu at pho lan

Another feature I liked was their offering of small, medium, and large bowls of soups, whereas many other places just have two sizes to pick from.

I ordered the #12 pho ($6.50 – rare steak, well-done flank, and tripe) as well as one spring roll ($2.50), which people rave about online.  The regular spring roll has shrimp and pork, but there’s also a vegetarian option for the same price.

This is the kind of restaurant and food that makes you sigh, and think “Thank goodness for Vietnamese people and their genuinely awesome way of eating.”  Everything was great, and I’m craving it again already.

pho from pho lan

The small bowl of pho arrived quickly, and was the perfect size for me – I finished it off but certainly didn’t need more.  The broth was great, with slices of bright pink rare beef resting on the noodles, and tripe that was thinly sliced and chewy.  All-around, this was a stellar bowl of soup.

pho from pho lan

As for the spring roll, I now know why they’re so adored.  The outside was a dark, golden brown and super crispy – in other words, “extremely deep-fried.”

Vietnamese spring roll

The shrimp and pork filling was perfectly seasoned, and it came with nuoc cham for dipping.  It was so good, I had to strongly resist the urge to order another, a seriously tough feat.

Speaking of tough feats, guess what’s on at The Oval this weekend – rhythmic gymnastics! The Elite Canada and Canadian Group Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships started yesterday, and continue today and tomorrow.

Canadian rhythmic gymnast

I LOVE watching rhythmic gymnastics.  I took ballet for 15 years growing up, and am in awe of the sport’s elegant athleticism, though I’ve never had the chance to see it live.  If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s a schedule of the national event, with finals on tomorrow.  Good luck to all the competitors, and here’s a tip for you – if you need a tasty, post-performance meal, head to Pho Lan!  Just don’t look it up on Google maps.  

Canadian Olympic Rhythmic Gymnasts compete in London 2012


Pho Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

6950 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC


Cash only

Many vegetarian options available