Café Trung Nguyen

I’m not sure what took so long but I’ve been meaning to try Café Trung Nguyen for ages. There is a lot of good Vietnamese spots in town but no one ever mentions CTN. They’re a few doors down from Icy Bar.

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The inside is no frills (a couple TV’s playing sports) but almost all of the customers dining in were Vietnamese. A very good sign indeed. The green walls and the music is almost like being back in Vietnam. They drop off a large jug of tea to your table.

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The menu is short and sweet; pho, hu tieu, rice and beverages. I’m not sure what their specialty is but based on what’s displayed on their front windows, go with the dac biet, bun mam, BBH, chao long, bun rieu or bun mang vit.

Trip #1
We dropped in on a Wednesday afternoon (around noon) for lunch.

Herbs
DSC03793Basil, banana blossom, red cabbage, bean sprouts, lemon and hot peppers. Good heaping of sprouts.

Bun rieu (#21) ($14.00)
DSC03796Crab meat, pork blood, ham, tofu puffs, tomato, onion and green onions. Broth had good depth, balance and complexity.

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Portions of meat were quite generous. Nothing really to complain about. A satisfying bowl.

Bun bo hue (#17) ($13.50)
DSC03795Pork blood, beef slices, ham, onions and green onions. My buddy R thoroughly enjoyed. Good spice level and slightly oily broth (as it should be). He’s had a lot of BBH’s and this one he was impressed with. I will have to try it next time.

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Trip #2
Second time we dropped in for lunch on a Thursday.

Herbs
DSC03999Again, good heaping of sprouts.

Bun mang vit (#16) ($14.00)
DSC04002Bamboo shoot and duck with vermicelli in soup. It comes with a side of ginger fish sauce (with a blip of kick) that’s for the duck slices.

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Duck includes the bones but I was surprised to see three chunks of pork blood.

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Broth was okay but wasn’t as satisfying as the other bowls we’ve had. Bamboo shoots were crunchy but almost flavourless.

Pho bo vien (#3) ($13.50)
DSC04001Beef noodle soup and beef balls. Had a taste of R’s broth; good depth with a heavy emphasis on the star anise. Standard side of sauce.

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Will come back to try a few more dishes. CTN’s worth a visit if you want some homey Vietnamese food.

Café Trung Nguyen
1441 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 568-0806