A Taste of Vietnam

A Taste of VietnamA Taste of Vietnam

There comes a time in everyone's life when they have that life altering epiphany with food. Mine came yesterday, with origins from Vietnam. I was in Vancouver playing guinea pig for some interns at the U.B.C medical school and for being a good boy and not crying, myself and a friend Sam decided to go for lunch downtown. Our destination, A Taste of Vietnam. From the moment I stepped over the threshold, I knew I had entered a place of greatness. Small and quaint, the restaurant itself entices you further inside the door with subtle music, darkened atmosphere, a hint of french influence decorating the walls, and a scent so heavenly coming from the kitchen, it was like a siren to my stomach.

Within moments of picking a table and having a seat, and wonderful young server named Thu Nguyen welcomed us with a delightful serving of green tea. Quickly and efficiently Thu took our order and disappeared into the back. As I sat and enjoyed the experience, I took a few photos with my Minolta XG-1 35 mm film camera to bring the experience home with me. When my order of Wonton Soup, BBQ pork Banh Mi sub, and beer arrived all other personal interests in life no longer mattered. The food looked brilliant, and smelled even better. To say that the taste of the food was magnificent, is a huge understatement. Never have I put something more delicious in my mouth. At this point one would expect photos to show my meal of choice. This, is on my roll of film. My digital camera came out after. For this, I apologize to all. In all honesty, my photos would not do it justice anyhow. Next time, I will be strong, and shoot digital to ensure adequate eye candy makes it in into my blog.


In between bites I asked Thu if the owner would allow me to photograph in her restaurant. Shortly there after, the owner Hannah, made a visit to my table, and introduced herself. Small and beautiful, Hannah was all smiles and filled with happiness. For five years Hannah has filled people with gastronomic delight. Judging from the great energy exuding from this lovely lady, it is a great fit for her as she beams with pride at every question. With this conversation, Hannah allowed me to take a few photos in her establishment.

According to Hannah, she makes the best Spring rolls in Vancouver. Challenge accepted. So, I ordered some spring rolls. Just when I thought the experience could not get any better, these little treats were a nice finishing touch. To make the experience a little more pleasing however, get the spring rolls first. Their wonderfully subtle flavour is hidden after eating such enormous seasoning in the BBQ Pork Banh Mi, but well worth it none the less.

During my hunt for photos, I ran into Thomas. A self proclaimed, "non-regular, regular" Thomas sat patiently at the counter reading a paper, waiting to enjoy yet another fine meal created by Hannah and her staff. With a brief discussion about the wonderful food, Thomas seemed very pleased to be able to speak so highly of A.T.o.V. When his food arrived, I returned to take a snap shot of him enjoying his selection. It was a pleasure to meet him, and I look forward to seeing him once again on subsequent visits to the shop.


One other point of interest I found while visiting A.T.o.V. was the efficiency at which the kitchen staff worked together. Not being allowed into the kitchen myself, for what I can only assume would be for health code reasons, I had the chance to watch the action via the pass through window from the kitchen to the front of house. Always smiling, the ladies in the heart of the operation made short work of any order coming in. It was a much fun watching them prepare the food, as it was eating it.

In closing, I have to mention the fact that pride is a big part of this little restaurant. I am certain that if I were to go and spend time asking questions about the culture of Hannah, Thu and the other lovely ladies working so hard to please the always fickle customers, I would learn much. Both of the Vietnamese culture, and the women themselves. At check out, I spoke with Thu very briefly. A photography lover herself, she brought to my attention a piece of art prominently on display. This piece is a hand made depiction of what the life and culture is like in Vietnam. Simple and elegant, the craftsmanship in this piece speaks for itself.

Soups Up!Soups Up!

While educating me about it, Thu beamed to life with pride of the Vietnam she knows. Very pleased to have brought it over from herself, it shows a man and woman sharing a loving drink, the building high in the air to offer escape from jungle predators such as tigers, the moon, a fun and diverse story of how the moon and stars became a night time regular in their culture. It is truly a beautiful piece of art. Very much a symbol of the people within, A Taste of Vietnam.

Wooden DisplayWooden Display
I encourage any and all to visit Hannah, Thu, and the other beautiful women that make A Taste of Vietnam the pleasing experience it is. For more information and, menu selections, follow the link below. Once more, a "must go" for anybody that appreciates great food, good pricing, and loves to add a little culture to their lives. Thank you Hannah, I very much look forward to seeing you again.