Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mai's - a whole different experience


Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant

20378 88 Ave, Langley (map)

Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Price: Fair+

R and I were out in Langley Colossus theater watching a movie, but the movie started at a awkward time, so we didn't really eat much before hands. After the movie, we decided to look around for some food, but it was chain restaurant after chain restaurant. We drove a bit more out of the area, and discovered this unique pho restaurant called Mai's.
This was not your typical pho restaurant with the mirrored walls, and vinyl tables. This place looked and felt different from the minute we walked in.
The lighting was soft and intimate. The tables and chairs were comfortable. Their table top was a coppery metal sheet with intricate design of leaves. They did not have any napkin holders, instead they brought us over cutlery wrapped nicely in a cloth napkin. From all the little detail, you can see this was a more upscale restaurant.

Both R and I ordered noodle soup, so they did provide the typical bean sprout, lime and basil. They even provided sauce dish which was a nice touch. Most time, I just use extra spoon for the sauce. Given this was a much nicer restaurant, the prices were slightly higher but totally reasonable. A medium pho will cost you $8 while a large is $9.
R wanted to try something special, so he went for the Phnom Penh noodles ($9 one size). It a Cambodia noodle soup with pork and prawns. The soup was really delicious with the addition of fried shallot, it was meaty yet slightly sweet. Also it was not oily at all. The al dente noodle was soft but not stuck together or falling apart. The only thing was that there weren't too many pieces of prawns and they were a bit over cooked.

I really had a hard time deciding between ordering the typical pho or something special. In the end I opt to try something new. The Hue Style Soup ($9 one size) I order was spicy and aromatic. The taste was similar to Tom Yang soup from Thailand. It did get kinda spicy after I was half way through it.
The noodle used in my soup was not the typical pho noodles. There were round spaghetti like noodles. They are also made with rice and quite chewy. For my topping, there were quite a lot of beef slice, beef and pork balls. The beef slices were very lean, I would have preferred beef brisket slices instead.

Overall, both R and I liked Mai's Vietnamese restaurant. The food was good, but slightly more pricy. However given the location and decor, I'd say it was fairly priced. So if anyone is looking for a different pho experience should go check it out, if you don't mind the drive that is. :P


R June 23, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I think the one you have is like thin rice noodle which is similar to GuoQiaoMiXian type in Crystal Mall?? It's quite good

Anonymous June 23, 2011 at 8:37 PM

The "Hue Style Soup" is what you would find in other restaurants as "Bun Bo Hue". It is supposed to use that type of noodles. Also, depending on the restaurants, it might have pork blood and pork hock. As for the broth, is similar to the pho broth plus a splash of spicy oil or it is a spicy from the get go?

Jenny July 7, 2011 at 2:46 PM

@R: yeah, you are right, it is quite similar

@Anon: thanks for the detail info, I think you are right, it was a splash of spicy oil, that could stick to your throat easily and cause that really spicy kick that lingers around.

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