Blogging is a labour of love. We do it because we want to, even when people try to bash us for no reason other than probably because we disagree. At other times, it is draining – after all, there are only that many hours a day so there will be compromises. As a result of different reasons or circumstances, blogs come and go. While it will always remain popular, there is that eternal question of who will still be there five years or more down the road. So, to a certain extent, I was a bit perplexed when Karl of The Friday Lunch stopped blogging for a while. See, I believe that Karl to be a down-to-earth guy and, in a sea of Asian born/x-generation Asian descend bloggers, he (along with Jonathan of Food and Tell) stood out because, well, he is your average “white guy” (no offence!). But, fortunately, it seems he is back and has started writing about places here and there. One such place was Lost in the 50′s drive, previously blogged by shokutsu (of Foodosophy). It seems there was a renaissance of sorts and has (re?)opened, and while it had your basic burgers, it also had its share of “F” items (“F” as in fusion…). Alas, the day I went, they were not open yet so I had to turn around and look for *anything* to eat. And suddenly, right next to me was Kim Anh.
Now, this place has no relationship with me, name is purely coincidental. However, what confused me a lot was not the fact they advertise Vietnamese food; rather, it advertised Canadian/Vietnamese food. OK, this might be some sort of undiscovered combination? A new wave of “F”? No, instead it is something similar to Canadian/Chinese restaurants: a diner of sorts serving basic dishes like burgers, sandwiches and soups but, in this case, in a separate sheet, bowls of pho. Do you want pho with that??? Of course, that raised an odd question: Should I order pho and spring roll or should I order a burger and fries? How about a burger with spring roll or pho and fries? In the end, I decided to stick only on the Vietnamese side mainly because the table next to me made an order of that side of the menu…
Starting off, I also ordered spring rolls. At $5, this will be a serious contender for worst $$$/amount category. Of course, if it was good, I won’t argue much about it; however, it was just on the average side. And, as a result, it shouldn’t command those $5. What were the issues? Well, it was your regular vegetable type spring roll that does not have much that made them stand out compared to other spring rolls I have had in the past. Well, probably other than the fact it was well fried, i.e., not much of an oily texture and piping hot when served. But, that is more of a frying skill (which I assume would work great with the other fried dishes from the non-Vietnamese side of the menu), not of the overall cooking process.
This is the dish that the table next to me ordered so I followed suit: their version of bún bò hue. Now, notice a certain oddity: unlike a lot of other Vietnamese places, you will get your plateful of bean sprouts on the side. Here, they were *below* the noodles. In a way, I felt slightly cheated as I was expecting it to be on the side but, instead, it ended up filling parts of the bowl. As for the noodles and meat, it was similar to the ones I have had in other places so won’t comment on that – other than the fact there weren’t some pork blood or knuckle.
However, what completely skew me off this one was the broth: it was a bit sweet. No, I am not referring to sugar-y water; rather, imagine a broth which ended up being a bit sweeter than expected due to the addition of some ingredients (for example, too much corn or carrots in a chicken soup). Whether that was a good thing or not, I will leave it as a personal preference. In my case, I was hoping for a savoury, spicy soup – and it didn’t deliver.
Given that I had only the Vietnamese side of the menu, I can’t necessarily vouch for the rest of the menu; however, if I go for visuals only, another table fries and burger and, well, it looked like your average diner type burger. Is that good or bad? Again, it is a personal preference. But, in the end, what was written in Urbanspoon by the Foodosophy team about Kim Anh is the best way to phrase it: “East Meets West, and East Suffers…”