Feast on pho
Sargent Avenue Vietnamese restaurant offers prodigious portions
534 Sargent Ave
Next time you’re at your grandmother’s house, take a look in her cupboard at her largest Pyrex mixing bowl. Now imagine it filled with beef, noodles, spicy broth and crispy sprouts.
That’s what a bowl of pho is like at Thanh Huong.
The portion size is not the only notable thing about this 534 Sargent Ave. restaurant; the food tastes great too.
I’ve eaten my fair share of vermicelli bowls, pho and egg rolls, and Thanh Huong’s version of each is some of Winnipeg’s finest.
Sargent and Ellice are home to quite a few Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, but Thanh Huong stands out, beginning with its exterior.
Even if you’ve never been, you still know the restaurant.
It’s the brick building with the bright, flashing lights luring you from afar. Be a passerby no longer and let yourself fall victim to the mesmerizing lights.
Just make sure you’re very, very hungry.
Thanh Huong is a long, fairly narrow restaurant with crystal chandeliers overhead, the kind your parents got rid of in the ‘80s but are now back in style.
The server was friendly and she made great recommendations before we submitted our order, which is necessary because the menu offers over 150 choices.
We settled on an appetizer of vegetarian egg rolls ($7.50), the famous satay spicy beef rice noodle soup ($9) and the combination vermicelli bowl that included egg rolls, grilled pork, lettuce and cucumber with vermicelli ($10).
Our food came out fast and hot and after watching me drop an egg roll into my bowl of soup, our attentive server asked us several times if we were sure we were OK eating with chopsticks.
The egg rolls were crispy little nibbles that were better than any I’d ever tasted.
Both other dishes were fantastic - loads of flavour packed into every bite.
Despite the size of the portions, we couldn’t resist ordering a coconut milkshake before we left.
It was a great decision, as it was as smooth and creamy as coconut-flavoured soft serve.
Another thing I noticed while I was there (on a Tuesday night) were the people who were obviously regulars. They knew the owners and engaged in casual conversation with them. There were even a few people who were there alone, enjoying pho on their way home from work.
It seems that Thanh Huong is just that type of restaurant - well established in its neighbourhood and strongly supported by the community around it.
Most people have a favourite pho spot and I’ve heard from many that Thanh Huong is their favourite. And for good reason - it’s cheap, delicious, comfortable and consistent.
Also, Thanh Huong is only two blocks from the University of Winnipeg and it’s open seven days a week for lunch and supper.
Not to mention you’ll have Thanh Huong for lunch the day following your visit if you take home your leftovers.
Published in Volume 67, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 21, 2013)