On my second stop on Victoria Drive, I decided to try the sister restaurant of Mr. Red Cafe, Hanoi Old Quarter Restaurant. Similar to Viet Mama Cafe, they feature fresh and high-quality ingredients and don’t use any MSG in their dishes. It is clean, cozy, and spacious. It can get busy even on a weekday evening. Unlike other Vietnamese restaurants on the street, you can’t find pho or salad rolls on the menu. Instead, it has a handful of food selections, with unique dishes that you can’t find elsewhere.
We ordered a bit of everything from the menu – starting with Deep Fried Chicken Wings for the appetizer. For $11, you get around 6 chicken wings, which is a generous portion. The chicken wings are evenly coated with a crispy skin. There are salt & pepper and lemon as sides. The meat is juicy, with fresh, crispy skin; however, the chicken wings are quite salty, to begin with. Otherwise, it would be a perfect appetizer to start the meal.
We ordered two entrees. Pork Hock, Meatball, and Taro Stem Noodle Soup (Bun Doc Mung Bat Dan) are one of them. The portion is generous, with few pieces of pork hock. I enjoyed the broth, which is light and best for the cold weather. However, I’m not sure why the noodles are choppy, which I found it difficult to enjoy a big bite of noodles on its own.
For our second entree, we ordered the Steamed Rice Rolls, which comes in a platter of Grilled Pork Patties and Pork & Prawn Spring Rolls. Though the portion is generous, unfortunately, I had to admit it looks better than it tastes. The plain rice roll is not silky enough, and the fish sauce broth is too salty which overpowers the overall flavor. The shell of the spring rolls is thick and not crispy, but the filling is flavourful and delicious. I would prefer the steamed rice roll from Viet Mama Cafe.
Last but not least, we ordered an Egg Coffee to share. It is rare to find this in Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver. It is Vietnamese coffee topped with whipped egg yolk and condensed milk texture. It is served in a hot water bath to keep the drink warm. Make sure to stir the drink before trying it! The bitterness from the Vietnamese coffee is covered by the sweetness from the condensed milk. As a die-hard iced Vietnamese coffee lover, this is not my cup of tea. It was too sweet to my liking.
Hanoi Old Quarter Restaurant is a unique Northern Vietnamese restaurant, and you won’t be expecting the regular pho or salad rolls here. Instead, you won’t be able to find some dishes elsewhere. Overall, I enjoyed the Pork Hock Noodles and Deep Fried Chicken Wings the most. However, I would say the seasoning for some dishes can be toned down a bit. As for the Egg Coffee, I would treat it more like a dessert, which is best for people with a sweet tooth.
Taste: 3.5/5 • Service: 4/5 • Ambiance: 4/5 • Quality-Price: 3.5/5